Pastor Farewell Letter

Pastor Ken Thornton Announces His Retirement
As you may already know, I am retiring from the active pastorate at the end of July 2023. This is a decision Ann and I have made after much prayer and consideration. It was certainly not an easy decision, but we believe this is the Lord’s will for us.
Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived wrote, “To everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Such is the case with the matter before us now. The time has come for us to enter a new chapter of life.
I shared with you our intentions to retire during the summer of 2022, in order to give First Baptist Church time to prayerfully seek and call the man of God to serve as pastor here for the future. Over the past year, there has been much prayer, discussion, and meetings between me and your church deacons, pulpit committee, personnel committee and admin board in preparation for this transition.
At the July church luncheon and business meeting, First Baptist Church heard from the pulpit committee about their recommendations regarding calling a pastor. Plans are now in place for First Baptist Church to call a new pastor.
God has certainly been gracious to Ann and me in allowing us to serve together with you for 10 ½ years. We could not have asked for more support, love, and care from a congregation. Now we’re excited to see what God has in store for us in this next phase of our lives.
It has truly been a privilege to walk with you and to serve the Lord alongside you during these years. You are true and lifelong friends. It has been an honor to journey with you through your many personal joys and sorrows throughout these years. These memories will always be cherished. And though I will no longer be your pastor, Ann and I will always be your friends, and we will see you again.
We don’t know what the future holds for us. I know that we will continue to serve the Lord, just in a different capacity. Only time and God’s leadership will show us what that will look like.
So, what are the next steps for the First Baptist family? Appropriate steps are being taken to provide stability and continuity. Your church staff continues to serve, and I thank Bryan, Renee, Vincent and Katie for their continued faithful service to the Lord and to the church.
The church is in good hands… it is in the Lord’s hands. And it has good leadership and a good spirit. First Baptist Church is truly a wonderful church and deserving of your continued support! Please keep this transitional process in your prayers as we all move forward, seeking God’s will for the future.
To our faithful friends and supporters of the First Baptist Church Television and Livestream ministry, I truly thank you for your prayerful support through our years of presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ through television and livestream.
Many of you have financially supported this ministry. Thank you. I can assure you that your financial gifts to support the television ministry were used as you intended, and that they were used in the furtherance of the Gospel. God bless each of you for partnering with us and encouraging us.
I encourage you to continue to be faithful to the Lord before Whom we will all stand one day and give account. God bless each of you and your families.
In Christ and with all our love,
Ken and Ann Thornton
Next Steps Moving Forward. . .
The church made the decision over a month ago to ask Associational Missionary Mike Manning to serve as Interim Pastor until a new pastor is in place, and Mike has agreed to assist the church in this matter. My deepest thanks to Mike for this and for his friendship.
Many pastoral candidates were considered, and much information was reviewed by your pulpit committee.
The pulpit committee announced that on Sunday, August 13, Brother Dalton Adger will speak at First Baptist in view of a call as pastor. There will be a vote by secret ballot on that Sunday morning by church members as to whether or not to call Dalton Adger as your next pastor.
Again, this is presented with the understanding and agreement between the church deacons, pulpit committee, personnel committee and admin board, and without objection in the business meeting. I ask that you especially be in prayer about this, as well as for your church during this transition.
The Church will have the opportunity to meet with Dalton and his wife, Tori, on Saturday, August 12, at 2 p. m. in the church fellowship hall, to get to know him better and to ask him questions. He will also meet with the deacons at 1 p. m. Dalton and Tori have three children, Lewen, Anna, and Eloise Joy.

2 Responses to “Pastor Farewell Letter”

  1. Sonny McGuffee says:

    Missed it. Wish I’d known. I’m passing through Pine Bluff tomorrow 8/4 and on Sunday afternoon 8/6. O well. Congrats.

  2. Karin Slater says:

    I just wanted to say how much that I enjoy watching Brother Thorton on TV on Sunday mornings. My mom is in assisted-living in Little Rock and I live in Little Rock. We are not able to go to Pine Bluff but we listen to brother Thornton every Sunday morning together. We will surely miss him and sending our prayers to him and his family. Look forward to listening to your new pastor.

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