Recognizing Years of Service

Recognition Sunday Thoughts

Ed and Pam Francis, Don and Teri Hall, Carter and Brandi Herling

Sunday, May 7, 2017

It was a wonderful privilege and joy this past Sunday as a church family to honor three couples that have faithfully served throughout our entire ministry. In honor of their years of faithful service, the church gave the couple monetary gifts, a thankyou card shower, and individualized gifts of appreciation. Below is a brief overview of each couple which Pastor Jason read Sunday morning.

“Historically, on these occasions we have read extended biographies for those we are honoring.  I would love to do that today, but because we are honoring three of you . . . and really six of you . . . and with our limited time on a Sunday morning, we would not be able to even begin to explain the scope of what you do.  However, because I am certain we have visitors in our service this morning and even regular attenders and members who may not know who these folks are, I will attempt to give a brief overview of each couples ministry. I will go in alphabetical order.

Ed and Pam Francis - Ed Francis is the administrator of Beth Eden Baptist School and Pam Francis is the first grade teacher in the school.  Today, we are honoring them for 10 years of service – in principal years that is more like 50 years.  In many ways, I think school administrator is the hardest job in our ministry.  Ed oversees a team of almost 30 staff members who serve over 200 students (five days a week, for 9 months out of the year).  Our students range in age from three through nineteen.  Every week Ed functions like a master juggler – simultaneously managing an existing educational and extra-curricular structure, developing plans for the future, and managing exceptions. Ed brings an unusual mix of abilities to the school ministry: He is very gifted in administration, a visionary, combined with a pastor’s heart.  And where would Ed be without Pam?   In addition to being an excellent first grade teacher, Pam helps with a myriad of other programs and initiatives in the school. Pam may be the most detail oriented person I have ever known. Pam has also overseen our Vacation Bible School in the church for the past few years.

Don and Teri Hall – Don serves our church as an assistant pastor focusing primarily on church music and missions, and Teri teaches history in our Christian school.  Today, we are honoring Pastor Don and Teri for 20 years of service.  That means they have committed most of their adult lives to advancing the ministries of our church.  Pastor Don is a quintessential renaissance man. Most of you know him primarily as the one who leads the choir and congregational singing on Sundays. That really is only a fraction of how he serves our ministry.  I am aware of Don’s preaching, teaching (in the church, camp, and school), counseling, coaching (basketball and soccer), helping with rock climbing and rappelling at Camp Eden, helping with the property projects (including repairs), occasionally fixing church vehicles, leading mission trips, performing weddings and funerals, making hospital visits helping church members (often in a very quiet and understated way) . . . and this list could go on all morning. A few years ago, Pastor Efaw asked Don to begin working with our Missions Committee.  For years now, God has been growing in Pastor Don a burden for the local church and world missions – and our church and our missionaries have been the beneficiaries of that burden. And then there’s Teri . . . Teri’s list of ministries would be about as long as Don’s.  In addition to her teaching ministry in the school (which followed a number of years serving in the school office), Teri has faithfully served alongside Don as an accompanist for church and school music.  Whatever ministry Teri undertakes, she works thoughtfully and tirelessly in a spirit of excellence as unto the Lord.

Carter and Brandi Herling – Carter’s primary role for Camp Eden is facilities director and Brandi’s primary role is kitchen director.  I say primary roles . . . because they have done everything you can imagine (and many things you would never imagine) at Camp Eden. That’s how camp works . . . everybody does everything . . . and Carter and Brandi embody that camp work ethic.  Today, we are also recognizing them for 20 years of service.   Carter may be the biggest hearted Christian servant I have ever worked with – I mean that.  Carter maintains 13 buildings on 160 acres at 8’800 ft.  If Ed is a juggler and Don is a renaissance man then Carter is a magician.  He has been able to maintain and advance the facilities and ministries at Camp Eden with limited tools, limited materials and limited funds.  One of the goals of the camp is to be a good neighbor to the folks in Coal Creek Canyon.  Most of the folks on Camp Eden Road have been blessed in some way by Carter’s practical, timely, neighborly assistance.  Carter always accomplishes his ministry with a one-of-a-kind great sense of humor. If you don’t have great food at camp, you don’t have camp!  Brandi provides GREAT food at camp. I have learned from Brandi how to own my responsibilities and to endeavor to serve others and my teammates with excellence. In a lot of ways, for most of the folks that visit Camp Eden, Carter and Brandi (and their children, Kara, Corey and Emma) are Camp Eden.

I have only scratched the surface of the scope, quality and personality of the ministries of these six staff members.

As we honor them today, I am reminded of three things all three couples have in common . . .

1.    Each couple ministers as a team.  In addition to their ministry responsibilities, they have family responsibilities which they juggle together.  The complement each other – they are stronger together.

2.    Each couple has contributed so much to the personality of our church ministries.  They all bring a spirit of excellence with joy to their areas of ministry.

3.    Each couple has ministered with real and exemplary servant’s hearts.

I think it is also noteworthy that we are honoring couples who are leaders in all three of our ministries - the church, the school and the camp.  There is no way we could sustain that scope of ministries we have as a church without such a great team of leaders – both paid and volunteer.”