Our presbytery met last week in Orlando, Florida. Presbytery accomplishes a lot of good and necessary work, but the most significant thing we did last week was to honor the lifetime ministry work of Dr. Roy Blackwood. Dr. Blackwood officially requested, and was granted, that his resignation as senior pastor at Second RPC in Indianapolis be received. Although that part of the evening was a very sad occasion, the receiving of his resignation was followed by Pastor Keith Magill giving a long testimony concerning Dr. Blackwood's ministry and work. For me, three things shone through the evening.
First, the amount of work God has used Dr. Blackwood to accomplish is truly amazing. When he began pastoring in the 1950's, there was only one Reformed Presbyterian Church in Indiana. Now there are nine, all of which have the stamp of his passion and ministry upon them. Even our new church, Immanuel, owes honor to Dr. Blackwood; though he did not participate in the planting of this congregation, he helped plant our mother church and he helped instill the vision in that session and in our presbytery for continual church planting.
Second, the testimony of so many men and women include how Jesus used Dr. Blackwood in their lives. Several of the pastors spoke at a reception, revealing how Dr. Blackwood's passion for the church as a whole was equaled (if not surpassed) by his love for people as individuals. He was and remains a disciple-maker, calling and training many men for the pastorate and many more for lives devoted to Christ in other vocations.
Third, and perhaps the most moving, was Dr. Blackwood's reason for resigning his pastorate. His dear wife, Margie, was able to be there that evening with us and he recognized her commitment to and help for his ministry. This resounds in so many pastors' hearts, that "without her, I could not have done any of it." Fact is, Mrs. Blackwood needs more and more help these days. And Dr. Blackwood resigned in order to receive his promotion to taking care of her full time, this helpmate who took care of him for so many decades of ministry.
I'm sure Dr. Blackwood doesn't read blogs. If he did, he probably wouldn't like this post. At least not unless I end it the right way, by giving the honor to Christ rather than to Roy. This is his greatest testimony to me, that in everything, Jesus should receive the glory. It's not Roy's church or your church or my church. It's Jesus' church.
My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"