Well Done, Bro. Ray!

(This commendation for our Administrative Pastor, Ray Swift, was read by my son Michael at the conclusion of our worship services on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, on the occasion of Ray’s final Sunday at FBC Moss Bluff)

Proverbs 20:6 says “Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man?” For the past 8+ years, First Baptist Moss Bluff has had a living example of a faithful man in our midst, in the person of our Administrative Pastor, Ray Swift.

Many of you could, if called upon, share your own personal testimonies about Ray’s ministry to you here. I am writing as his “pastor.” That was how he always referred to me before others — “my pastor”; “our pastor.” Having grown up in a pastor’s home, Ray has a tremendous respect for the office of pastor, and it showed in the way he served me, and related to others in the church. I never had to question his loyalty, and I always knew that he was doing his best to protect and serve his pastor — which was an outgrowth of his commitment to serve the Lord.

In his own personal walk with God, I was often challenged personally by the insights that the Lord gave Ray daily in His word; I looked forward to hearing each Monday in staff meeting what God had challenged him with — because I knew it was going to be something specific and applicable, which would challenge me to holiness in my daily walk as well.
As Administrative pastor, Ray literally earned his salary back time and again with cost savings he implemented in the church’s insurance, utilities, office machinery and school programs. I will always be indebted for the way that Ray shouldered the administrative burdens of countless daily decisions at the church — which freed me up to study and proclaim the word of God each week without distraction.

In the haze of bygone days and foggy memories, First Baptist Moss Bluff must never forget the debt that this church owes to Ray Swift for the way he rebuilt our church campus following the devastation of Hurricane Rita. Surveying a landscape of wrecked and leaking buildings, Ray led a team of our church members to the work of rebuilding our church facilities. When all was said and done, not only were damaged buildings repaired, but after several years of his tireless work, every single ministry area of First Baptist Moss Bluff was eventually remodeled after the storm. What I endearingly referred to as “Ray’s Cafe” — one of the most popular and useful areas of our church, arose from that process — as did our newly remodeled worship center. When former pastor Steve Bennett visited our church a couple of years ago, he commented that we currently have the facilities at Moss Bluff that he only dreamed about when he served here. I was quick to point out Bro. Ray and tell Steve that THIS was the man whom God used to give us the facilities which we will continue to enjoy for years to come.

God blessed our church tremendously when He called Ray Swift here, and now He is blessing his faithful service by leading him to an even broader position of responsibility. I send him with my gratitude for his years of faithful service to me and to the Lord, and with my blessing for him and his family in his new field of ministry. While the ultimate evaluation of each of our ministries lies with the Lord, I say to him as his pastor, and as the representative of his grateful church family, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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