Pastor Phil

At the EMCC General Assembly in 2017 we honoured, prayed for and said goodbye to our President of the last 12 years, Pastor Phil Delsaut. Previous to his role as President he served as the District Superintendent to the Canada East Disrict. Having entered into my 17yh year of ministry with the EMCC tribe, the leadership that Pastor Phil has provided has influenced and guided me and the church family among whom I serve.

I will miss him.

It's not that I've had a lot of interaction or even regular interaction with him. It's not that I cling to every word that he communicated to us (sorry, there is probably more than one letter that I may not have read).

But I will miss him: his dedicated leadership, his continual movement in the same Kingdom direction (keeping the main thing the main thing), his example of being one who makes disciples who make disciples, his love and care for his family, his capacity to bring a global picture of God's activity to our Canadian experience and his capacity to bring a unified voice to our diverse Canadian denominational identity.  These are all noteworthy, but they are not why I will miss him.

I will miss him because he was the one who interviewed me for my credentials as a pastor. In the spring of 2001, we met at a church in Aylmer, ON. I had completed the work that I needed to and complete and now sat down for this interview, knowing his "yes" or "no" would be a defining moment for my life and the life of my young family. It was a "yes" that came with counsel and coaching for the next steps - a conversation that was formative and enduring.

I will miss him because he also cared enough to tell me "no" when, two years later I would fail my licensing interview. He probably had some words to share over the phone that day, but I was likely too distraught and confused to hear them. It was the next week that I remember most and the reason I will miss him.

It was a rainy day in Windsor and I had gone to attend a funeral for a fellow pastor.  On the way back to our cars Pastor Phil strolled up beside me, put his arm around me and started to talk. They were just a few words, but important words that would give me the courage and confidence to move forward, beyond the disappointment of my setback, to enter into the licensing process again and to eventually be approved and in the years to come ordained and to have the privilege of serving the Lord in the role of Lead Pastor.

I have had several interactions since that time but those are the images that remain. Those moments opened a window of learning about leadership through the example of Pastor Phil that has continued until today and I pray will endure - to be humble, to have purpose, to hold to a standard, to appreciate the past and those who shaped it, to look for the best in others, to encourage, to build into others, to delegate, to have compassion, to be present and genuine, to not let failure or discouragement be defining, to celebrate milestones but most importantly to believe in the work of the Spirit of God in the lives of others and to trust God to accomplish His will in those who are seeking him.

As we move to a new chapter in our EMCC family, we look forward to where the Lord will take us. We celebrate where we are going, with a faithful leadership team led by our new President Kervin  Raugust. But we also give thanks to our God for providing the depth of leadership that Pastor Phil has provided, not just to me but to many like me over the course of these years.

That', I believe, is reason enough to miss him. May the Lord bless you, refresh you and reward you Pastor Phil, for your faithfulness to the Lord's calling in this chapter, to so many over such a long period of time.