On Sunday morning, August 13, Dr. Craig Ward, pastor of the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Clarkesville, Georgia, was surprised with a recognition of his tenth anniversary there.
Bob Williamson, the chair of the personnel committee, recognized Dr. Ward’s accomplishment at the church. Williamson, a retired minister, pointed out that in Baptist churches nationally, most pastors stay at a church for only three years.
“The title of pastor is a title that is earned –– over and over. Time after time. Through ministry and service,” he said.
Addressing Dr. Ward in the 8:30 am service, Williamson continued: “At ten years, you reach a point where you know people’s stories, their lives, their joys, and their heartaches. So, when you make a visit –– in the hospital or in someone’s home, you are visiting a friend. When you do a funeral –– you are not just doing a service for a church member; you are burying someone that may be as close to you as family. Visiting in that hospital room or standing at that graveside with a family may be some of the most difficult tasks of a pastor, but those are also the times that are the greatest privilege of being a pastor.”
Williamson handed Ward an envelope that contained a surprise love offering taken up by the members of the congregation.
“There is no routine to the job of pastor. Each day is different. And the responsibilities and expectations get more difficult and become greater year by year. It does not get easier,” Williamson stated. “Probably everyone in this room has been touched in some way by the ministry of Craig Ward over all these years.”
Rob Moffett, the chairman of the church’s deacons, recognized Dr. Ward and his wife, Ann,
in the 10:45 a.m. service. Moffett emphasized the work of both of the Wards over the years. He presented Ann with roses as a tangible reminder of how the church appreciates the way she has supported her husband’s ministry and the congregation.