Posted by Brandi Wilson
On Sunday I had the honor of attending a retirement celebration for our Pastoral Care Pastor, Tom Tyndall. We recognized Tom for his 40 years of successful ministry. Forty years, y’all! As I sat and listened to the tributes to Tom I was struck by the legacy he’s leaving behind. We throw the term legacy around quite often, talk about making a large impact… but how often to we really get to see legacy lived out?
I spent the rest of the afternoon really reflecting on myself and the impact I’m making. I thought a lot about you guys and how we all feel an authentic desire to serve and serve well, but sometimes get caught up in ‘life’ and easily lose focus. I wanted to share one of Tom’s tributes (given by my husband) with you all, it really helped remind me of the important influence I have. I went to Tom’s retirement party eager to celebrate him, I left realizing how much I’d learned from him about successful and healthy ministry. Thought you ladies might enjoy these thoughts today.
When we started the church seven years ago Tom was the third staff member I hired. I knew how important it was to have someone with his experience and wisdom by my side. Every Sunday morning for the past seven years I’ve spoken at Cross Point Tom has met me in my office to pray over me. I couldn’t help but cry all the way through the prayer yesterday knowing it was the end of an era.
It’s been a true joy to serve with him over the years and I wanted to share with you guys what he’s taught me along the way.
– SERVE WELL
Wherever God sends you and whatever he gives you, serve well. When I hired Tom he had just finished, two years prior, a tenure as the senior pastor of a very influential, large church in our community. From day one he helped set up chairs, pick up trash and was willing to work out of a closet that served as his office. I never heard him complain one time. He just served well wherever God led him.
The longer you do ministry the more you think you’ve figured out the “right way” to do it. Tom was in full time ministry for 40 years. Can you imagine how tempting it would have been for him serving in a church plant to want to say, “That’s not the way I did it!” Do you know how many times that guy had to bite his tongue while serving by my side? While Tom would have never budged on his theology he learned a long time ago to be flexible when it came to methodology. He stayed focused on the main vision.
In 7 years I never heard Tom Tyndall say one negative word about another staff member. Not another pastor, not an assistant, not the janitor. Not one word.
In the early days of Cross Point we fought a lot of hard battles. He sat through some very difficult meetings with me. The kind of meetings where things were said that put me in a position where I wanted to walk away from it all. Time and time again Tom would come into my office after those meetings and say, “Pete, get your head up. Don’t listen to that stuff. You’re a good pastor and a great leader.” I can honestly say I don’t know if I would have made it through those early days without his support and encouragement.
– LOVE EXTRAVAGANTLY
1 Corinthians 13 says “These three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”
Tom reminded me in many ways that…
Great sermons will get you pats on the back.
Savvy leadership skills will win you admiration from your colleagues.
Hard work will catch peoples eyes as you separate from the pack.
But if you don’t love you’re nothing more than a noisy gong, or a clanging cymbal. If you don’t love the people God has placed in your life nothing else really matters.
Thank you Tom for your 40 years of service to the Kingdom. Few leaders can truly echo the words of Paul and say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” By the grace of God you escaped the bombshells of Satan which I’m sure were fired at you with great regularity in an attempt to wreck you, your family and your ministry. Well done, good and faithful servant.
I love you friend. You’ve helped shape my ministry and I’ll be forever grateful.