On Monday, October 14, 2013 I walked into the offices of Lakeside Baptist Church for my first official day as Senior Pastor. It’s been a good first year together as pastor & people. It’s truly a blessing and honor to serve as pastor at Lakeside. Rather than focusing on me, I would just like to take a few moments to share some of the things I appreciate most about Lakeside. These are things that I have learned during my first year as pastor.
Lakeside loves Christ and exalts Him. Lakeside is a Jesus church. Our faith is in Him, and we worship Him alone. Jesus is really what unites our church because we are all different ages and live in different neighborhoods. For all of our staff, programs, buildings, and budgets, the only things we really have to offer at Lakeside is Jesus. Every Sunday, I am blessed to preach after excellent, Christ exalting music from a choir & orchestra who love Him.
Lakeside is a faith family. One of my first days in the office at Lakeside, I received a very kind letter from my predecessor, Dr. Breck Ladd. In that letter, Breck talked about how Lakeside was such a family. On more than one occasion, I have had staff members who have served in multiple churches tell me, “Pastor, there is more of a family atmosphere here than any other church I have served.” During our first year here, my family and I have come to understand just how much this is true. Lakeside is far from a perfect church, but we are a family.
Lakeside reaches out. Even though Lakeside is a faith family in a very real way, our church doesn’t just care about those who are already part of the family. To be honest, even though I have been here a year, I continue to find out ways that members of our church are engaged in outreach all over our city. We haven’t had a big campaign to get people to reach out. All of this happens from the hearts of our people with little and no promotion or recognition. From the UAB Medical Apartments downtown, to Rocky Ridge Elementary School next door to the church, to a local jail, to the bus station, and many other places, Lakeside lives on mission.
Lakeside has all ages of people faithful & engaged. Like many churches, Lakeside has a large number of faithful senior adults. I view that as a great thing! Their faithfulness gives Lakeside a great stability & wisdom. However, we have people of all ages who are involved in all levels of leadership at Lakeside. We started a new Sunday school class for couples in their late 20’s/early 30’s and they have grown substantially in just a few months. We have faithful deacons in their 30’s & 40’s as well as in their 70’s. One of our best Sunday school teachers is a college student. All ages are represented on the platform on Sunday mornings as we involve children and youth on our praise teams along with the adults. Lakeside is truly a multi-generational church. It’s one of our strengths.
Lakeside can have a bright future. Last month, Lakeside was 57 years old. That’s right, the church was started as a mission of Shades Mountain Baptist Church in 1957. God has blessed in so very many ways and the church has seen many great things happen. After serving in this area for a year, I am more convinced than ever before that the next 57 years at Lakeside can be just as exciting.
Lakeside is willing to change in order to embrace it’s future. Change is hard in every church. In big ways and small ways, I have seen Lakeside adjust and be open to change. In recent months, I have shared with many different groups at Lakeside about future directions I believe our church needs to take. The response has been nothing but positive excitement. Just recently, our largest adult Sunday school class moved out of the room they had occupied for over twenty years – in order to make way for children’s ministry in that space. Not a single complaint has come to the pastor’s office about this move.
You might say these are just the “Top 5” things I appreciate. I could have listed 25 just as easily, but I won’t for space purposes! The bottom line is that I am so grateful that God called me and my family to serve at Lakeside. I love my church.