ABILENE Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Pastor Phil Christopher came to Abilene First Baptist in 1995, now he’s looking on to his final sermon on Sept. 26, 26 years after he took over as pastor.
“We came because of feeling, this is a church that had a missional heart and especially for downtown,” says Christopher.
That compassion for servitude struck a chord with Christopher, who looked to take the church’s reach and extend it even further.
Though services like the GLO daycare center and family counseling already existed, Christopher is looking forward to the completion of the Hope Center next door, where these missions can be centralized and better focused.
Christopher says the church is at a point where the staff can take over until a new pastor is selected. He looks to take his extra time to spend with his growing family.
“I have a granddaughter in Victoria. She’s four and growing and I don’t want to miss that, and we found out our daughter is pregnant again, giving us another grandchild,” said Christopher.
“For 26 years I have worked to reinvent myself. It’s time for someone else to take over and start a new chapter,” Christopher says.
Though he’s sad to step down, he and his family will not be gone for good. Christopher says he will stay as a devout member of the church, as well as the new pastor’s “biggest supporter,” staying near the people he has seen as family for nearly 30 years.
“I’ve never just felt like an employee or even just the pastor above people, I’ve felt of being a fellow struggler with these folks here,” he says. “And that’s really the fruit of 26 years, getting to know people in this church. I’ve dedicated their children, I’ve baptized them, I’ve married them, and now I’m baptizing their children.”