I’ve spent my whole life in the Church. But I can’t really say that I ever had a pastor, not in the full sense of the word, until I came under the care of Ronnie Caswell. I’ve had several pastors preach to me and give me wisdom, but I’ve never had a pastor truly know and care for me like Ronnie.
The first time I really met Ronnie (although I think I had met him briefly a couple years earlier) it was in a dimly lit room, where seven men were about to spend the next hour grilling me with interview questions (some of which were particularly embarrassing, but that’s a story for another time). It was an intimidating scenario, but Ronnie was kind and approachable from the start.
Not long after that, he brought me on staff at Forestpark, but I was never just his co-worker. Yes, we talked ministry and theology, but he always made sure that he connected with me as a person. To Ronnie, I was a young man, whom God entrusted to his care and leadership. the past six years, Ronnie has regularly called me to check in on me (and regularly texted me with trash talk about UK sports). He is my pastor and my boss, so he is concerned with holding me accountable and helping me succeed, but he also wants me to know that he is there for me and he is participating in my life alongside of me.
As my pastor, Ronnie has lovingly called me out when I have spoken or acted out of line with the character of Christ. He’s had heartfelt life conversations with me, given me advice, given me warnings, offered suggestions, equipped me with resources, helped me build meaningful relationships with others and so much more.
When I look back on all that Ronnie has done for me, without any hesitation I can say that he’s done it all because he loves me and he wants me to excel as a follower of Jesus. But he hasn’t just done this for me because I’m in pastoral ministry. He does all of these things for each person that is part of the community at Forestpark, as well as many who are not.
Ronnie is not perfect by any means (I mean he is a Louisville fan), but he is an outstanding “young man” and “individual” (two of his favorite phrases to use in sermons). I’m proud to call him my boss. I’m proud to call him my mentor. I’m proud to call him my friend. And I’m proud to call him my pastor.
If you know Ronnie, and he has impacted you throughout his many years of faithful ministry, then please join us at Forestpark in honoring and celebrating him at his retirement service this Sunday, July 12th. You can join us in person or you can view and participate in the service online via the Forestpark Facebook livestream.
We love you Ronnie.