I’ve waited to write this blog until today. You see, after 47 years of Senior Pastoring today, July 14, 2012, is Sam’s finale in the role of senior pastor. A million emotions rush through my heart and mind. After all, 47 years is a long time to do anything…let alone “shepherd sheep”!
So allow me to share the specifics of our future. We both officially “crossed the finish line” as Senior Pastors to our treasured congregation, The Tabernacle, in Atlanta. We have served them for nine fulfilling and memory-filled years. Now, due to health reasons, my hero and husband needs to move into a ministry role which will carry with it less pressure and an easier responsibility load than that of the senior pastorate.
Our Deacon Board at the Tabernacle and local church family have been WONDERFUL IN EVERY WAY TO US. They were sincerely saddened by our decision. With joy we tell you that there is no painful “story behind the story.” It really has been a “DREAM RUN” these past 9 years. But we are determined NOT to be people who “clutch” to power and to a paycheck…at the demise of the local church. In an honest moment, we admit that the personal financial realities of this decision are a little concerning to us. But we believe that the Lord will honor the integrity of our hearts and the purity of our motives. Our message on Sunday morning when we shared our resignation with the church family three months ago was called, “The Grace Of Yielding.”
So what are Sam and Jeanne Mayo doing now? WE ARE NOWHERE EVEN CLOSE to wanting to “retire.” Even that term sounds pretty depressing to us! But we are also not in a position to be able to sell our home and begin a different ministry role somewhere away from Atlanta. Thus, we have searched for a church which is LARGE ENOUGH that Sam will not be needed to preach on Sunday’s…thus, never being any sort of influence to our present congregation to “follow us” to another church. We view such as disloyalty and a lack of integrity. We remain IMPASSIONED about not wanting to do anything to fracture the treasured congregation we have served for the past 9 years. (That’s why I didn’t even post this blog until we had officially “crossed the finish line” at the Tab.)
Thus, the church we have chosen to give our hearts to next is a progressive and exploding church named Victory World Church in Norcross, Georgia under the leadership of Pastors Dennis and Colleen Rouse. The church runs approximately 10,000 people on a weekend with all of their services and satellites. Sam will fill the role as one of the church’s “pastoral care pastors,” which is right in his “sweet spot.” I am humbled to again serve as “Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.” It will be my honor to oversee the college and career outreach, high school outreach, and middle school ministry as well. For the immediate future after September 1, I will also serve as the Senior High Pastor and be the weekly “boots on the ground.” Are you laughing at what the Lord must be thinking? I’ve been throwing my heart into full-time youth ministry for nearly 43 years now. And here I am STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN at the “grass roots level”! Surely the angels are thinking about making this a new reality TV show!
The CADRE and YOUTH LEADER’S COACH will continue to flourish…and to be the epicenter of my ministry journey as never before. I’m never more fulfilled than when our living room is stuffed with about 40 Cadre youth pastors from all over the nation and I’m getting to pour the guts of my life into them. My 6th National Youth Leaders’ Conference this past March, “CANVAS,” was off the charts, thanks to our faithful Lord and so many of you. The travel and writing ministry also continue to bring much fruit. For real…I am living in the middle of my MOST FULFILLING MINISTRY SEASON.
MASTER’S COMMISSION ATLANTA also continues to also be at the forefront of my heart. We are merging our own 90 MC students together with Victory’s awesome present Master’s Commission of approximately 25 individuals. Pastor Jordan Marcon and I will continue to “lead the charge” in the MC Atlanta world. The present exceptional Victory MC Directors, Matt and Angel Rigsby, will join forces with us to form our MC Atlanta Executive Team. Adam and Lucy Hulme will continue to lead the discipleship focus for our incoming first year students. The program will be off the charts! (Check out MASTER’S COMMISSION ATLANTA for more information regarding this life-changing post-high school discipleship and leadership venue.) Our Master’s Commission Atlanta students will enjoy an AMAZING EXPERIENCE at Victory due to the large and talented pastoral staff that they will now have pouring into them from a local church of nearly 10,000 people.
Obviously, the transition is “bitter-sweet” because we so deeply love The Tabernacle and the OXYGEN youth gang. But in all honesty, we have “left it all on the field” these past 9 years at the Tab, so we close this chapter with a sense of the Lord’s pleasure on us as He surveys our ministry years here. We have tried to model the value of true pastoring in an era commonly filled with “ministry CEO’s.” And it has also been our honor to continue living out our Mayo Family mantra from Jim Elliott: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep…to gain what he cannot lose.”
The last portion of my exciting news is that our oldest son, Josh, along with my beautiful daughter-in-love, Monica, have also accepted Victory’s invitation to come on staff as well. Josh will serve on the Victory team for a short time in order to gain the heart and DNA of this great church. Then he will plant a church in Atlanta with the huge help of Victory. This obviously blows my mind because I will have the PRIVILEGE of living near and working with part of my family…AND our awesome two grandsons, Elijah and Judah! To say that my “Nana-heart” is jumping up and down would be a RADICAL UNDERSTATEMENT. Josh and Monica will also add their BREATHTAKING leadership/discipleship skills to the upper level of Master’s Commission Atlanta. It will be a “dream team” of rare proportions.
So again thank you for even taking the time to read this blog post. As you might expect, your prayers are coveted. In truth, we feel that we are entering one of the MOST FULFILLING AND FRUITFUL SEASONS OF OUR MINISTRY LIVES. Youth Leader’s Coach, The Cadre, my traveling and writing, and Master’s Commission Atlanta continue to be at the very forefront of our priorities. And Sam and I will once again throw our energies, passion, and lives into the local church. We are both PUMPED and determined to “Finish the race with the wind in our face!”
Deep Love And Gratitude For Your Spot In My Heart,