TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Senior pastor David Orlo Dykes of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler announced his retirement on Sunday Feb. 28 after 30 years of service.
In the 66-year history of Green Acres, Dykes was the longest serving pastor and the first to retire. In a YouTube video announcing his retirement, he said he stills loves serving as pastor, but the time has come for younger leadership to step up.
“Frankly, I think some pastors try to hang on too long,” Dykes said. “I remember a wise pastor once advised me about retirement. He said, ‘son, you want to retire at a time when the church members are asking why did he retire? Instead of asking when is he going to retire?’ Amen and amen.”
He began preaching in 1970 and served three churches in Alabama before coming to serve in Tyler. He also led mission teams to more than 30 countries.
Dykes graduated from Samford University and received Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. In 2005, Dykes was engaged in post-doctoral studies at Cambridge University. He studied the subject of Biblical Art from the Renaissance Period. In 2017, he received an honorary doctorate from East Texas Baptist University.
According to Dykes, there has only been one pastoral transition in the history of Green Acres: when he came in 1991.
“For any of you who are old enough to remember when I first came, that was not a smooth transition,” Dykes said. “There was a lot of division and strife, but God is faithful and he brought us through that.”
Since then, Dykes said, he researched other churches that had smooth transitions after a long-serving pastor’s departure and talked to deacon leaders about the process.
“My heart’s desire and prayer to God is that this transition will be smooth and that our congregation will stay unified during this process,” Dykes said. “I know that the enemy would love nothing more than to divide our church over this issue, but in the name of Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we are going to resist the devil and we are not going to allow him to create division and strife.”
The search for the next pastor will begin soon, according to Dykes. He said it is not his decision alone as to who will be his successor, but only the members of the church can vote to call the next pastor.
When the church recommends a search committee, “this group will start the process to recommend the man to be our next pastor. They will present a candidate to the church, and the church will vote to call him as pastor.”
According to Dykes, he plans to continue preaching, writing and encouraging believers as long as he can.
“I know that it is God’s will and God’s timing for me to joyfully hand the baton to a younger pastor. Meanwhile, I plan on sprinting toward the finish line.”Pastor David Dykes
In his retirement, Dykes plans on living with his family in Tyler and being involved with Green Acres.
Dykes closed the video with a message: “I love you, and I believe the best days of our future are still ahead.”
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