It was a joy to have Ryan Bishop serve Kenwood Baptist Church as Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Evangelism, and we are sad to see him move back to Texas. That sadness is mingled with excitement about the way the Lord will use him at Graham Bible Church, however, where he has answered the call to pastor. Graham Bible Church is blessed to have him as their pastor.
Ryan addressed us at Kenwood on his last Sunday with us, and his remarks modeled a Christ-like desire to shepherd, encourage, serve, and bless. Ryan’s comments communicate the way the Lord is at work, and it is so encouraging to see God do his work, conforming his people into the image of Christ. What the Lord does is so good it needs to be broad-casted, made known. Celebrating the work of the Lord only adds to his glory.
For that reason I wanted to post Ryan’s farewell comments here, and he kindly gave me permission to do so.
Here’s a picture of a pastor loving his people:
Ryan Bishop’s Goodbye to Kenwood Baptist Church
As Kelli and I have been anticipating our move to ministry in Texas, we’ve had a few weeks to reflect on the Lord’s kindness to us during our years in Louisville. We’ve been overwhelmed especially to think of our last year here with you. And I want to share with you some of the things we’re most thankful for in you.
First of all, I want to affirm God’s grace in you in the evidence I’ve seen in your salvation. God’s work is clear in your belief and love of the gospel. It’s been a tremendous privilege to serve as one of your pastors. I’ve had the opportunity to look out from the pulpit and in Sunday school class to see your sincere interest in the truth. You’ve come to me on Sundays and at lunches and called me during the week confessing your sin. And I don’t want you to take this for granted. This sort of behavior is not natural. We would not do this on our own. Desiring to live in light of God’s truth is an act of God himself. Another habit of yours is that you’ve counted others more important than yourself. Even this morning with the announcement of the elders’ recommendation to recognize the pastoral gifts and service of Mike and Ross—the way Kenwood is committed to raise up ministers of the gospel, some of whom very soon will go out to serve other churches in other parts of the world. I’m encouraged by God’s work to make you love the gospel and love others. My faith in Christ has been reinforced as I’ve seen you inconvenience yourself to come up to work on the building or reach out with the gospel to the community and to the University of Louisville. By God’s grace you’ve answered his call to live like Christians by caring for widows and orphans. The way this church has lived out the gospel in our commitment to adoption pictures our own salvation to all who watch the way God has loved us. I also need to mention the ways I’ve seen you suffer the loss of loved ones in a way that is distinctly Christian. So, Kenwood Baptist Church, on this last Lord’s Day we have with you, I want to affirm God’s gracious work of salvation in you.
I also want to thank you for the ways God’s used you to bless us. To serve the church, at the minimum, pastors must love the flock. This also should not be taken for granted. Just consider who pastors are—sinners, inclined to selfishness, not to see loveliness in others. And those we serve are sinners. Finding love in this combination is no less than miraculous. The Lord must do it, and he has. You’ve been an easy congregation for us to love. You’ve certainly loved us well. It was just a few weeks after we got here last year that you organized a baby shower for Kelli. You’ve cared for Caleb. When we’ve needed someone to watch our son throughout this year, it’s you we’ve trusted. Thank you for all the prayers you’ve prayed for us. You’ve become our home away from home, our family. And you’ve been the models we’ve looked to as Kelli and I seek to be a faithful wife and husband, mother and father. Thank you for letting us observe you and your families. Most of all, I want to thank you for the ways you’ve cared for our souls. God has shown us extraordinary favor in allowing us to sit under faithful, strong gospel preaching. So, thank you, Jim. And thank you to all who’ve served us from this pulpit. Thank you, Josh, for all the time you’ve spent shepherding us in your careful selection and singing of songs that are loaded with the truth that grows our love for Jesus. To those who’ve led us in prayer, thank you for challenging us to repent and believe. Of course, I’ve had an opportunity to participate in elders’ meetings. For those of you who may not know what happens there, let me tell you that your pastors are interceding regularly for you and plotting for your sanctification. To have these men as my pastors, my soul has felt safe.
Finally, I’d like to ask you to continue to care for us by praying for us as we leave. Pray for us to love and depend on Jesus. Pray that the wonders of his gospel would never become stale to us but that we would love it and proclaim it with all our hearts. Pray for us to love the congregation at Graham Bible Church unto death. That we would imitate you as you’ve imitated Christ in laying down your lives for the gospel. And pray that our marriage and family would commend the gospel to others.
We love you and leave with promises to pray for you.
Praise the Lord!
Only the Spirit of God produces this kind of love in a pastor and a church. Only the gospel results in things like this being said. The Lord does use human instruments to advance the gospel by the power of the Spirit, and it’s good to know where the Father is at work causing the gospel of Jesus Christ to prosper by the power of the Holy Spirit. For that reason, I note that Ryan Bishop completed his MDiv at Southern Seminary, and he was blessed by the pastoral internship at Capitol Hill Baptist Church.
May the Lord confirm the work of our hands, cause the Word to increase and flourish, and bless Ryan Bishop and Graham Bible Church.