This morning I was blessed to be able to attend the early service at New Zion Missionary Baptist Church as they celebrated the 14th anniversary of their pastor, K. Edward Copeland. Pastor Copeland is not only a blessing to his church, but to his community, my church and to the larger body of Christ as a whole.
It has been a blessing to me see him stand for Christ right here in Rockford. He is a true statesman. I’ve been able to watch him interact with local leaders and lawmakers. He has earned their respect without losing his God-ordained prophetic role. Yet he is also a servant to the people of Rockford. The people of this city know he is someone who cares for them and will work tirelessly to help them – again, something I’ve been able to witness first-hand.
I’ve also been privileged to watch him be an encouragement to my church. We are not competitors but co-laborers in gospel ministry. As we try to understand what a multi-ethnic church is all about, Pastor Copeland has stood with us as we struggle to achieve this goal. He has been there with insight, advice and understanding. He has been a true friend to our pastors.
But, above all, Pastor Copeland is a gospel preacher. He seeks to exposit the text and point men to Jesus. He is not afraid to call out sin, even touching on subjects that make white churches like mine a little uncomfortable. Yet, he does so with aim to please Christ and bring peace among God’s people.
Thank you, Pastor Copeland for displaying to me what it means to live out your faith and speak truth to power without compromise. Thank you for being an example of loving the entire body of Christ. Congratulations on 14 years here in Rockford.
Below I’ve included the youtube recording of the message my own pastor, Joshua Pegram, preached this morning at this service. The topic was “The Heart of A Pastor.” It was a fitting message for that service and a fitting message for pastor appreciation month. So, I will leave it here and hope that though listening to it you will have a better look into the heart of your pastor and thereby appreciate him all the more.