‘I’ll just try to stay in my lane’

I’m sure no one is keeping track except me, but this will be my last column for the Arkansas Baptist News. It has been a privilege to serve Arkansas Baptists as president over the past two years, but I’m somewhat thankful and excited to hand that role over to the capable hands of Manley Beasley.

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This role, of course, was humbling, but also an educational opportunity. Most importantly, I had the chance to encounter so many of the state’s greatest kingdom servants and to have a front-row seat to witness their leadership, hear their hearts and count the results of their ministries.

God is at work in Arkansas, and He’s doing it through some amazing people.

Forget my role over the past two years for a moment – just as a pastor and a Baptist, I’ll be focusing on my real job with a great dose of encouragement.

My faith in the Cooperative Program has only deepened. My excitement about ministry partnerships, church planting, missions and the role of the local church has only intensified. My belief in the leadership of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) – from Executive Director J.D. “Sonny” Tucker and his entire team down through each agency head and institution – has blossomed with each event, each meeting and each opportunity for exposure.

Again, there are some amazing people in Arkansas, and they are doing great things for our great God.

As for me, to be completely honest, I’m relieved to return full-time to Russellville, and to pastor the wonderful people of First Baptist with a bit more singular focus. If I’ve learned anything over the past two years, it’s that I do not desire a platform or an expanded ministry. No one needs to read my tweets. No one needs to listen to my podcast. I won’t be writing a pastoring book anytime soon.

I just want to shepherd our flock to the best of my ability, to preach the Word, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, to captain our ministry team to the best of my ability and to have faith, endure and work hard.

The ABSC is in great hands and the future is bright. Don’t let all the angry, national SBC “tweeters” convince you otherwise. And I’ll trust that and just try to stay in my lane in little, old Russellville. If you see me at next year’s annual meeting, seated with our staff team, don’t hesitate to say “hello.” But if you have any questions, I’ll gladly point you to “President Beasley.”

Greg Sykes is pastor of First Baptist Church, Russellville, and president of the ABSC.

© Copyright 2019 Arkansas Baptist Newsmagazine, Inc. Use of this article in print or through electronic means a violation of copyright. Request permission to reprint here.

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