My last Sunday: A tribute to the wonderful people of the Fort Mill Church of God (FMCOG)

Summary of the Day: Today was a day to be bookmarked—one of the most incredible and significant days of Sonja and my life—our last day as pastors of the FMCOG.

In some ways it was like attending our own funeral and we stood in the receiving line all day.  The overflow of love and honor from our dearly loved FMCOG congregation is hard to describe; Sonja and I had a “last Sunday” that few ministers will ever experience.   When I think of all the wonderful men and women of God (pastors, evangelists, missionaries, teachers, church leaders, etc.) who finished their assignments at a certain place and did so with faithfulness and integrity but departed unsung, unappreciated, and with little or no fanfare I am blown away by the way Sonja and I were treated and know in my heart that their over-the-top goodbye is due only to the mercy and grace of God—to HIM (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) be all the glory and honor.

There are no “forever” assignments in this life; even marriage is a “till death do we part” assignment.  Thus I have wondered from time to time how it would be when it was time for Sonja and I to say good-bye to this precious congregation.  Well, yesterday we did it and (which is typical of this great church) the event exceeded my expectations.

To all the people of the FMCOG (and I can truly think of no exceptions), Sonja and I offer our heart-felt thanks and gratitude.  You loved us, supported us, and put up with us all these years—I love you all. 

To all the wonderful ministers and administrators that have worked with me over the year in serving this great church (and again I can truly think of no exceptions) thank you for your loyalty and faithfulness, you made the burden lighter and the journey brighter—I love you all.

To my precious family who started (or joined along the way) and completed this journey with me (and most certainly I can think of no exceptions!) thank you for giving me so many sermon illustrations 🙂, for working along beside me, and understanding (most of the time) when my loving but sometimes demanding “mistress” (the call of God on my life) took me away from you—I love you all.

Wow, twenty years can go by in a blink.  It’s been a good ride.  Would I have done things differently if I’d known then what I known now?  Most certainly.  But most certainly if I could do it all over again…you bet I would–no regrets.

I love you all and will always continue to be your number fan.  I am eagerly anticipating the even greater things God has in store for you. 

With warmest regards, deepest affection, and forever love,

Yours truly, david l. kemp

15 thoughts on “My last Sunday: A tribute to the wonderful people of the Fort Mill Church of God (FMCOG)

  1. A wonderful to the point piece of writing if I do say so myself! Keep up this blog and keep me in on it, OK? Love you David! Aunt Bernice


  2. Dear David, I know you are venturing out into waters you haven’t sailed in before, maybe, but I believe you have been fitted ‘moment by moment,day by day, year by year’ by the Lord to do this new work and do it well! With Sonja by your side, as the helpmeet I think she has always been, you’ll do many wonderful things for the Lord and give HIM the glory! I love you both, Aunt Bernice




  3. What a wonderful testimony of Jesus’s love you have lived out in front of us. You are the best example of a “pastor” i have every had the good pleasure of meeting. “you dirty dog”. You will be missed by all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am going to miss you and Sonja so much. I remember one of your sermons when you first came you said that “I will earn the title of Pastor when I Shepard the flock that God entrusted me to and then when the my flock is ready to go be a Shepard of a flock then I have gain the title of “PASTOR”. You were truly a “PASTOR” because you poured in this “sheep” and from it I have been blessed to Shepard a flock in the prison system. Thank you for believing in me. I will forever be grateful to yours and Sonya dedication to FMCOG and ME!


  5. We will never stop missing you. What a blessing you both have been. Our church has grown so and the wonderful programs you have going. Could never say enough. You are loved. Blessings on your new journey. Hope this will always be home to you.


  6. Pastor, please know that you, Sonja and your family are loved. Still trying to grasp all this. Change is never easy. I know you will follow God always. We consider you family. In our hearts and prayers always. Sonja blow us away with Every Mountain on Sunday! Blessing!


  7. I wasn’t feeling well on Sunday and missed your family’s going away. Rylan and I truly found a great family at FMCOG. I don’t know where we would be without the love and support, God blessed me with a season with y’all, I have grown in faith and Love for Jesus! I carry my PEP ribbon in my purse daily as a reminder of the miracle God did in my Life. Thank you for helping us grow in Christ! -Rhemona and Rylan


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