A faithful servant: Presbyterian minister steps down
JANESVILLE—Pastor David King is not the kind of guy who wants to be in the spotlight.
So when he gives his last sermon Jan. 1 at Christ Presbyterian Church, he does not plan to treat it any differently from the hundreds he has offered during the last 27 years.
Instead, he hopes he has readied his congregation of 110 for new leadership.
“I did a series of sermons in November to prepare the congregation for a new pastor,” King said.
He is not quitting because he is tired or out of sermon ideas.
Like so many who toil tirelessly, he just knows it is time.
“I told the church elders that I don't want to be the last one to find out you want me to retire,” King said. “A church gets too used to doing things the same way. At age 70, I thought it was time to step aside.”
King, whose identity is intimately involved in the church he serves, and his wife, Priscilla, do not plan on moving from Janesville. They still will be involved in the church.
“I intend to be useful,” King said.
Christ Presbyterian is a congregation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, which is a conservative Presbyterian denomination.
King and his family came to the church in 1990 after serving a small parish in Hamill, South Dakota.
He and Priscilla wanted their children to have the benefits of life in a bigger city. Today, their three daughters and two sons are grown and live in places around the globe.
Like so many pastors, King has been there for his congregation in the best and the worst of times, including marriages and funerals.
He asked God to help him when church members needed guidance.
“One relies on the grace of God over the course of the years,” King said. “You learn that God will not fail you.”
Deacon President Jim Stalman said King had an open door.
“He was always there and willing to listen,” Stalman said. “He was always concerned about the family and how everyone was doing spiritually.”
Stalman came to the church shortly after King in 1990.
“He has been a friend and a faithful minister,” Stalman said. “He's a humble man who is willing to help wherever he can.”
Jim and Sue Anema met King shortly before he became their new pastor.
“He stayed in our home before we even had the vote to bring him on,” Sue said. “He always has taken his responsibilities to the church seriously. We were always his first priority.”
She realizes the church will go through a mourning process when he leaves.
Sue also will miss Priscilla.
“She is a beautiful pianist,” Sue said. “A church hires a pastor, but his wife also has an impact on the church in different ways.”
King called his congregation “the most peaceful congregation I have ever served.”
“Gossip is not a part of this church,” he said. “So I have been able to focus on the people who need ministering. This is a very loving congregation. People care for each other.”
He called himself a teacher and a preacher more than anything.
“I don't present myself as a counselor,” King said. “If people come to me, I will listen. I will show them how God's word will help them understand their situation and what they should do.”
He called preaching teaching.
“It is not whipping up emotion,” King said. “It is not entertaining with stories. It is presenting the truths of the Bible as clearly as possible.”
King was able to overcome his shyness and preach because “it's not about me. It's about Christ.”
The longtime pastor offered insight for the new year:
“Read the news, but don't be surprised at the awful things sinful human beings do,” King said. “Remember God is the one to trust. He is advancing his kingdom in the world whether we see it or not. We need to stay focused on Christ and what we can do to help people in the name of Christ.”
Anna Marie Lux is a Sunday columnist for The Gazette. Call her with ideas or comments at 608-755-8264, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.