Sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye. Sometimes it’s not what a person has said that makes it hard but rather what they have done and the impact they have made.
After almost a decade of service to the City of Elsberry, Star Hope Baptist Pastor Allen Calkins is saying goodbye to his home in Elsberry, as he has been called to a new congregation in Gray Summit.
“I was contacted by the church after they received my resume from a mutual friend and filled out a questionnaer,” said Calkins. “The research committee reviewed all that and expressed an interest, at which time we had some questions ourselves, my wife Gerri and I, and after we went through that round the committee came and listened to me preach at one of our gatherings.”
Calkins continued by saying he was then invited to do a sermon and see their facilities. After a few more meetings and some negotiations the congregation and Deacons voted, almost unanimously, to make Calkins their new Pastor.
“We got 58 out of 60 positive votes, which is about as close to perfect as you’re going to get,” said Calkins with a slight giggle. “At that point we accepted their invite and offer and will be doing my first service on June 2, as their new Pastor.”
Although it wasn’t much notice to say goodbye to all those Calkins touched, he said he has to follow God’s will and go where he feels God has led him. However, he said Elsberry has a strong group of ministries that serve the community well.
“At some point they will find a replacement for me here at Star Hope and until then they should have an interim in place, although no one has been mentioned at this time,” said Calkins. “But I believe the other congregations will continue to preach the gospel and reach out.”
Calkins went on to say how 10-years ago when he came to Elsberry the Baptist Churches had been without a Pastor for quite some time. Even New Hope Baptist and First Baptist remained without a Pastor for several months after he arrived but still, the community, had strong ministerial leadership.
“I’m sure, based on the same circumstances, Star Hope will work hard to find an interim Pastor and eventually a new full time Pastor,” said Calkins. “I feel it is time for a new voice, for fresh ideas from someone the congregations hasn’t been listening to for the last 10-years.”
According to Calkins, his moving on to help a new flock is the same analogy as moving a rock up a hill.
“At first everyone works together to get that rock up the hill but the farther you move up the harder it becomes, whether it be because the drive is gone or the words have no more impact but you begin to lose helping hands,” said Calkins. “As you lose these helping hands it gets harder and harder to move that rock and sometimes you’re forced to start over again from the bottom. But by bringing in a new voice to help lead the flock, there stands a better chance for the rock to reach its destination.”
Calkins went on to explain how he has not lost his drive for bringing the word of God to new and lost souls, but how it is time to allow a new leader show his presence at Star Hope, while he helps spread the word farther and bring fresh ideas to another congregation in need.
“I’ve enjoyed my time in Elsberry,” said Calkins. “I honestly believe we have done some amazing things here and have made some amazing friends. I also feel confident that the Ministerial Alliance will remain strong and be a good influence in the community. I wish everyone well and thank the community for their years of support.”
Calkins said the challenges he faces in Gray Summit are the same challenges many churches are facing. The need to bring in new younger members to help carry on the word of God. He added on by saying he plans to bring in new ideas and help increase church attendance. One of the benefits he said he will have is there is already the start of a youth group, which is something he believes will be a big help in his mission.
“There are a lot of people out there who have yet to embrace the words of God and I hope that is something we will be able to fix,” said Calkins. “Everyone has a calling, this just happens to be mine and when God calls, it’s always best to listen as he will never lead you astray. Again thank you for allowing us to be a part of this great community for so long.”
For more on this and other stories pick up your copy of The Elsberry Democrat today from one of our several locations. You can also sign up for the online edition by visiting http://elsberrydemocrat.com and clicking on Subscribe …