By Doug Talley
The 2022 Ordination Service and Annual Meeting of the Church of God are in the history books. Even though I’ll continue serving as state pastor into 2023 (until a new state pastor is called and in place), these two events are milestones in my check list of things to complete before retirement. Each milestone moves me closer to my transition date.
I knew the state meeting was going to be emotional for me, but I thought I was prepared. I started a journal in January of this year dedicated to retirement thoughts and reflections. I am an internal processor, and this journal helps me talk through things with God. God and I talked about how this final state meeting would likely be very emotional for me. Then two days after the state meeting was over, I was five times more emotionally exhausted than I had anticipated being.
Please hear that the state meeting was a wonderful day for me! The sessions with Eric Livingston, Arnetta Bailey, Nathan Willowby and Brett Talley were all excellent and very well received. I appreciated the comments made on the retirement video, the unique and very special gift from the Assembly that was designed and created by Kameron Robinson, the hugs and kind words so many people shared with me. It was an incredible day, and I thank you for it! I will never forget this particular state meeting. Never.
All through the state meeting I kept thinking, “I am so blessed. I have so many friends and ministry colleagues that make my life so rich and fulfilling.”
Though we weren’t able to record the excellent breakouts in the afternoon with Nathan and Brett, the recordings for the sessions by Eric and Arnetta are below. Take a few moments to listen to them.
Eric talked about how valued each pastor or chaplain’s ministry is by God. He referred to the boy who brought the loaves and fishes to Jesus (which Jesus used to feed thousands), and how that boy must have felt like his meager resources were insignificant given the challenge at hand. Jesus treasured those resources and used them in a mighty way – just as He uses you!
Arnetta brought many to tears as she shared stories from her life that gave all of us insight into how painful prejudice is. Arnetta was so vulnerable and transparent. Her stories spoke volumes to us. As she finished speaking, my prayer was that we would realize and embrace the truth that her pastor dad told her – “We are not part of the black church. We are part of the church of God.” There is only one church, my friends.
I began the state meeting sharing from my heart about four drivers that have been foundational to my ministry as state pastor, and how I hope those drivers continue to ring in your ears as I make my exit over the next 6-9 months. I am firmly convinced that these are the basic building blocks of any effective state ministry. So I encourage you to keep them formative in what Indiana Ministries does over the years ahead. You can listen to my last vision talk to the Indiana Ministries constituency by clicking on the link below. I’ve also included it in written form for those of you who would prefer to read it.
The day following the state ministry was a workshop with Mindy Caliguire (Soulcare.com) for the pastors in Thrive. It was a very meaningful day where God met each of us who participated. During one segment, Mindy directed us to go on a long walk and listen to what God wanted to say to us. As I walked and talked to God, I heard him say to me, “Be teachable.” Then a few minutes later I heard, “Be teachable and listen.” What I understood Him to say was for me to adopt a posture for now and the days/years ahead that is characterized by a spirit of being open to what He wants to teach me by listening and following His voice. While that might be relevant to any stage in life, I found those words especially relevant and uplifting as I applied them to the stage I am just about to embark on. I am thankful for how God directs and refreshes us.
Again, thank you for being such an incredible blessing to me. And thank you for this opportunity to serve as your state pastor.