Tag Archives: Dave Brown

Another David & Jonathan

Around the globe each Sunday there are churches who transfer pastoral leadership from one man to another. This occurs for a myriad of reasons, including death, geographical relocation, and retirement. One such congregation is the First Baptist Church of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts.

Earlier last Sunday morning, my best friend of more than 40 years—Pastor Dave Brown—passed the baton of pastoral leadership to John Kearns. Dave had piloted successfully their ship for more than 26 years.

It was my privilege to speak for 6-8 minutes and sing prior to Dave’s final message as lead pastor. His last message was his closing sermon for a series encouraging the congregation toward their future. The talk that I heard guarantees a solid foundation on which future ministries can be built.

Over a quarter-century ago, the FBC congregation prayerfully made a decision that changed the courses of many people’s lives, when they enlisted the services of Dave Brown, calling him to relocate from the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania to East Longmeadow, Massachusetts.

While the church body settled into their homes as usual after school & work, a much younger couple packed up all they owned, uprooted themselves & their four young children, moved onto Parker Street, & chose the people of that church & community as their new friends.

I know the congregation laughed, wept, & worked together for 26 years. There were defeats, disappointments, distresses, & discouragements—as is the reality of life. There were also accomplishments, growth, & victories—all the result of their perseverance.

As of yesterday, that community of believers wrote the closing actions & attitudes of yet another chapter in the rich history of First Baptist Church of East Longmeadow. They are penning to some extent the closing words of this chapter of the lives of Beverly & David Brown as well.

With this milestone in the life of my friend Dave Brown, I realized something. While that church’s relationship with Pastor Brown began 26 years ago, our friendship that began almost half a century ago was a modern-day version of David & Jonathan.

When I spoke to the congregation in East Longmeadow, I wanted to leave three basic thoughts with them on the occasion.

First, to them as a congregation—I thanked them for loving & for caring well for my best friends & their extended family. I asked them to spend some time reflecting on the investments that Pastor Brown had made in their lives, and to then thank God & thank the Brown’s.

Secondly, I wanted to address the Brown family. I am thankful for the sacrifices that each family member made so their husband, dad, or Papa could give so much of himself to the scriptures & to the sheep of that pasture. I cautioned them to never resent that, but rather be thankful that Dave Brown’s heart has been big enough for God, for them as a family, AND for all who called First Baptist their church home.

Finally, the best thing that I could say to Dave Brown—thank you for being my friend who has stuck closer than a brother, sharing common values & vision, & in a way few men ever grasp—except Jonathan & David. We truly have shouted together in victory. We have wept together in heartaches.

Apparently, I didn’t realize that we were supposed to retire together! {grin}

BTW, do you pray? If so, would you pray for my friends Bev and Dave Brown as they transition from his senior pastorate to whatever God has next for them? Thanks!

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Mind Yourself

After meeting my friend Don Rooks, a fellow minister who lives in Texas, earlier this afternoon at Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport, we’re now flying at our assigned altitude heading to New York’s JFK, and connect with my best friend of 40 years or more, Dave Brown, who is a pastor from East Longmeadow, MA.  After a quick dinner together, the three amigos will head to our destination in Ireland for a conference later this week.

With flight delays earlier out of Detroit, an overbooked flight, and not even enough overhead room to stow a reasonably sized computer bag (who designs some of these planes anyway?!?!), I found myself asking, “Why do I continue doing what I do?”   It certainly isn’t the conveniences.  The days of enjoying the flying, the hotels, the restaurants, etc. are behind me these days.  It all falls, somehow, into another category these days … and perhaps someday I’ll sort out just what that might be.

The real answer is this—I still believe that my world needs the message that my life represents.  You see, I do not merely prepare messages in my head to reach others intellectually, although I hope those who hear my message are challenged to think.  Neither are my messages prepared solely in my heart to touch the hearers emotionally, though I trust that each audience will be inspired to both laugh and shed a tear perhaps.

In reality, at this stage of my life and ministry, my messages are truly prepared in my life, and my prayer is that my life will impact for God the lives of those who hear my message.  The invitation that I extended to Dave Brown and Don Rooks to join me in facilitating our second Mind Yourself conference in Mallow, County Cork, Ireland, was because they have a track record of impacting others with their lives.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join Pastor Bob Hutton of the Mallow Bible Church, Dave, Don, and me in praying for that kind of impact in the lives of those who participate in the conference this week?  Each presenter, as well as our host, is tired.  However, we have a promise to claim, and ask that you join us in claiming that promise with us and for us … and perhaps even for yourself—“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength … “

Last Sunday morning I was exceptionally tired as the clock ticked toward the time of my speaking assignment at our home church—North Auburn Hills Baptist—where my friend John Marine has been the pastor for nearly 45 years.  Later at lunch, I was exhausted, but smiled as I thought of the burst of energy began when I stood to speak and which lasted until I sat down for lunch!  That burst was for one talk.  This week, I need a burst that will carry me through at least seven messages in three days! J

I really hope you will pray!  Cheers!

Dale on Coronado (CA)

Dale on Coronado (CA)