It’s true. It’s a worn-out cliché, but it’s true. “Time flies when you’re having fun.” And I can honestly say I have been having great fun for the past 30 and back still to 40 years. And I plan to continue to have fun serving the Lord and His people. This is certainly not a retirement announcement.
Thirty years ago in September, 1986, my family and I moved here to Fayetteville for me to pastor the small group of Lutherans starting a church.
Prince of Peace had about 30 people worshipping in the cafeteria of Fayetteville Elementary School on Hood Ave. Every Sunday we moved tables and chairs and created quite a cozy chapel where we had many memorable and spiritual worship services. And we had Sunday School for children, youth, and adults scattered through the hallways, as well.
My family was my wife Elaine and our then four-year-old Jessica and five-month-old Andrew. We were what you might call the “perfect fit” for starting and growing a church — an energetic young pastor and his wife and small children. We had moved here from Florida where I had served two churches for the previous 10 years, going back to October of 1976, when I was ordained in Miami. That’s the 40 year part of this story. And our family was completed when our Rebecca was born in 1989.
Thirty years ago Fayetteville was quite different than it is today, as you can imagine. And many of you long-timers here can remember much more accurately than I can what it was like then. But I can tell you that when we moved here there was no Walmart, and the first one was where Tractor Supply is today. There was no Pavilion, no Banks Crossing, no Town Center, and no Summit Point. To go shopping meant going to malls and stores in Jonesboro, Morrow, Union City, etc. About the last thing south of town was Melear’s Barbecue. Jordan’s Salvage was the edge of town east, except for the soccer fields. And there wasn’t much west of the Square, just a straight shot to Peachtree City. And, of course, the hospital was not there. There were just two high schools in the county, Fayette County and McIntosh.
But what was happening in 1986 was that houses were being built, and being built, and being built. And people were moving in, and moving in, and moving in. And it was exciting to be a newcomer to Fayetteville and then to welcome the rest of the good people who were gathering here.
And this is where the “fun” comes in. I have loved the people of Fayetteville for the entire 30 years we’ve been here. And I still do! I have loved the people who came to be a part of our church. I have loved the pastors and people who have built up the great churches we have all around us. I have loved the people we shared life with as our kids were in school, in sports, in music, and everything they did. I have loved our community leaders and our school system’s administrators, teachers, choir and band directors, coaches, school bus drivers. I have loved and respected our police, sheriff’s officers, fire fighters, and all our first responders and public servants. I have loved our doctors, dentists, and nurses. I have loved the good people who work at the airport and everything connected to it. I have loved the people with whom we have done business in any circumstance.
And, as I have said, I still love Fayetteville and all its people, and the people who move here or make their way here to work or to go to church or just to be a part of us in some way.
I consider myself so blessed and privileged to have been the pastor here at Prince of Peace for these 30 years. I am thankful to God that we had those precious early years in the school cafeteria, that we were blessed to be able to come here onto our property on Highway 314 and build our beautiful sanctuary and early fellowship hall. Then we were blessed to add our next fellowship hall and classrooms for Sunday School. And I’m thankful to God that we were blessed to build our Life Center for contemporary worship and large dinners and even basketball games.
I am thankful to God that I have had the personal relationships with you, the people whom I have been privileged to know here and the ones I have been privileged to serve as pastor. I have used the word “fun” in this article, but we know that some of being a pastor is walking the hard steps of life with people, as well. I have been privileged to do that, too.
As I said, I am not retiring, but we will celebrate and give thanks to God for my 30 years here and 40 in the ministry with a “Homecoming” here at Prince of Peace on Sunday, Oct. 30. Please “save the date” and join us if you can.
Find Kollmeyer at www.princeofpeacefayette.org