Pastor Roy Julian served for over 30 years as the pastor of Smyrna Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL until his death a few years ago. It was my pleasure to serve under Pastor Julian as an intern for about two years while I attended Pensacola Christian College.
I was never close with Pastor Julian, but that’s not to say I didn’t know him well. Anyone who listened to his Sunday sermons for any length of time got an insider’s view into his life and ministry. Stories flowed naturally from his life into ours. Having known him toward the end of his time on earth, I found him to be a rich depository of ministry experience. He had a story for everything, usually a story worth your time.
My favorite memory was the time I came to Pastor Julian in a time of distress. My college tuition was coming due and I just didn’t have the money and had no idea where it would come from if it even came at all. I let him know of the need and asked him to pray. He agreed. After walking away from this conversation another intern asked me what we were talking about. After I explained, this other intern looked at me and said, your bill is paid. Sure enough, the very next day I got a note from the financial office saying I need to write a thank you letter, my bill had been paid.
I loved my years interning at Smyrna. I loved the interaction with the other interns (PCC preacherboys!) and the kind families that took us into their homes. Each Sunday I would ride the bus and pick up kids for church. I would work in both Sunday School and junior church. I was blessed to have plenty of opportunities to preach. On my final Wednesday evening service I was honored to stand behind that big pulpit and preach the Word. But, every time I walked into that church I got to fellowship with people who loved Jesus, I saw a pastor dedicated to his people and I got a chance to jump right into to an active, vibrant place of ministry.
Pastor Julian, thank you for your desire to train young men for the ministry. Thank you for the honor to serve the Lord among your congregation. Thank you for everything. I look forward to meeting you once again in glory.