February 2, 2021
Adam's Blog: A Legacy
Sunday was Jerry Day’s last day on staff at The Ridge. He’s been on staff here 30+ years, and many of you have interacted with Jerry. He’s officiated your wedding, he’s been to the funeral of a loved one, he’s been a guide and teacher and leader and pastor. Though he doesn’t throw this word around, it’s quite a legacy. A legacy of doing whatever it takes to reach our community for Christ. A legacy of integrity and work ethic. A legacy of doing what is right, even when it’s hard. A legacy of faithfulness.
As we’ve been working through the lead pastor transition, the closer we got to January 31 the harder things were. Not at work, not because of anything Jerry did or didn’t do - actually, I would not have chosen to do a transition with anyone other than Jerry. No, it’s been hard because I began realizing that I was going to miss him. I’m sad because I count him as a mentor, a great co-worker, and a friend. And I don’t get to see him every day anymore or laugh about an inside joke or see him navigate a difficult decision with prayer and discipline. Yes, I’m aware he’s still alive, but still. Things are changing, and change can be emotional and hard and full of unknowns and conflicts, and worry.
For the entirety of the transition, we had a weekly one-on-one meeting. Jerry and I would sit together, often eating lunch that we brought from home, and talk about whatever we needed to discuss - handing off a task, understanding a concept, the Colts and the Bears, the ups and downs of ministry. (Full disclosure: Sometimes we lingered a long time on the Colts and Bears.) We talked about whatever was on our hearts. They have been some of my favorite conversations I’ve ever had because I know he genuinely cares for me and wants what’s best for me. I also know, because he’s told me at least fifty times, he wants what’s best for The Ridge and what honors God as he retires. I’ll never forget how he has been navigating this transition with grace and care, even in the midst of emotions and a global pandemic. So even while I’m sad, I’m so thankful for him. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I’m sad, because of gratitude.
I think it’s okay to have different emotions about Jerry retiring. If you have them, that’s okay - even good. It means that God has been doing something in you and your heart, and perhaps Jerry has been a part of that for you. How humbling and awesome is that? And in the midst of the sadness and the gratitude, I’ve also felt this overwhelming sense of joy and gladness for Jerry. He’s worked hard for a long time. He won’t stop doing that, he will just be focusing it differently. And through his hard work, his legacy is significant and worth celebrating. But more than all of that, as important as it is, I’m so, just…doggone happy for Jerry. Happy he gets to enter a new season in his life, happy he gets to retire and experience different things, happy I get to keep a relationship with him outside of the everyday-ness of ministry, and happy I get to be his friend. He deserves a happy retirement, and he deserves the joy that comes from a job well done.
So today, I’m a little sad and a little glad…but mostly, I’m thankful. Thankful for Jerry’s ministry. Thankful for The Ridge. Thankful for each of you, and thankful to be able to serve a God Who loves us so much He sent Jesus. I’m thankful for Jerry’s kindness through the transition, I’m thankful for his integrity, I’m thankful for his friendship, and I’m thankful that his love for Jesus has prompted him to be a whatever-it-takes type of guy and inspire me to do my best to be the same.
Thank you, Jerry. And we’ll be sure to talk about the Colts and Bears soon.
Whatever it takes,