Taking the Off-Ramp to Another Ministry Highway

By James Vaughn, CBGC, Church Planting Catalyst (Retired)

Having served with the North American Mission Board 24 years in different capacities, I have retired as of June 30, 2020.  It has truly been a blessing, and I feel fulfilled by serving two associations in Colorado as Director of Missions/Church Planting Strategist, State Director of Mission for the Nevada Baptist Convention, for the past eight years as a Church Planting Catalyst in Western Colorado, and as well as over twenty years of pastoring prior to working for NAMB.  I am eternally grateful for these opportunities and privilege to serve our Lord through NAMB and being a part of Colorado Baptists.  I am thankful for my wife, Connie, and our three sons and their families. I am grateful for their prayer and encouragement through the years.

There was day when (that sounds like something a guy retiring would say) the church planting team here in Colorado decided that we needed to be praying for 10-year olds.  Why?  Because we knew it wouldn’t be long until they would be the next generation of church planters.  Well, here they are!  For all the millennial church planters in Colorado, you were prayed for before we even knew your name.  It may have been the prayers of the boomers that God answered when He called you to further His kingdom through church planting.   At every Send Network Assessment, it is exciting to see all the younger guys that are going through the process. Hang in there guys – it will be worth it all when we see Jesus!  

At age twenty-three First Baptist Church, Oberlin, KS called me to be their pastor.  I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but I had three things going for me: 1) God’s call on my life, 2) a mentor that invested his life in mine, 3) and a church that prayed for me and believed I was God’s man for the task. We all have to start somewhere and that was my beginning. 

When God called me to pastor, I had no idea that later he would expand that call to missions for Connie and me. I also had no idea that church planting would become the guiding culture for the rest of our lives.

In the late 90s I served as CBGC President for two terms.  At one of the annual meetings our theme was, “From Generation to Generation”.  My Dad opened the meeting in prayer, I moderated the sessions, and one of my sons closed the annual meeting in prayer (it was a touching moment for the Vaughn family).  A letter was written to all the pastors encouraging them to bring their youth to the convention, and we recognized the generations present. There was a good number of young people in attendance.  Maybe it’s time to start praying for 10-year olds again.  Just sayin’.

Well, after twenty-four years of traveling down the NAMB freeway, it is time to take the off-ramp onto another ministry highway.  That ministry will be the development of a retreat for pastors and missionaries.  It is a rough road for those in vocational ministry and sometimes they just need a place to get away from it all for a while.  The first cabin was started in May of this year.  Pray for us as we take this new ministry journey.

Let me close by using a quote from Jimmy Draper as he was retiring from LifeWay Christian Resources, “As a minister, I will never retire.  I cannot retire from ordination, the call to preach, or the compulsion of the Holy Spirit to work and witness as a Christian minister.  The surgeon lays down his scalpel, the attorney shuts his law books, the engineer puts down his calculator, and the pilot turns in his wings, but the minister does not retire.  Retirement from the call comes when you wake up and find yourself in the presence of the Lord.”

Well said Dr. Draper and AMEN!