Special Announcement from the Pastors.

 On Sunday, March 13, 2016 an announcement was made at the end of the worship service regarding my appointment to St. Paul’s UMC, Las Cruces, by the Bishop and Cabinets of the Northwest Texas and New Mexico Conferences. St. Paul’s, Las Cruces is a downtown church in the heart of the city.  They have been served by many great pastors including one of your own, Rev. Gorton Smith and hometown boy, Bishop Hutchinson.  There are some wonderful opportunities for continuing and expanding the ministry in the church and community.

   I write to you today knowing many of you will have a sense of sadness at this news.  I, as well, am feeling this loss. I have been your pastor for seven years and we have lived and learned together. Prayed and struggled, grown and changed over these years.  Even though my time as your pastor is coming to an end, I am excited about the opportunities before us, both in my new appointment and in the new pastor who will be coming here to serve Hobbs.  Our decision was not an easy one but there comes a time when change needs to take place and I, Sheila and Ben feel the time is now.

   The SPRC has been in conversation with Jane Vaughan, Clovis District Superintendent, and they have let her know the needs and desires of the church in the new pastor.  Through their diligent prayers and thoughtful conversations I’m sure your next pastor will find a welcoming and warm congregation to lead in the next chapter of its ministry.  The announcement of your new pastor will be coming soon and we will work hard to communicate that information as soon as it is official.

   My last Sunday in the pulpit will be June 19th, Father’s Day.  The official moving day will be the following Wednesday, June 22nd.  My first Sunday at St. Paul’s will be June 26th.  These dates are also the same for the pastor coming here.

   Times like this remind us that change is difficult, but change is a constant part of life.  The good news is that change always brings new opportunities for growth and possibilities for greater ministry.  I believe that God is fully in charge of this process and these changes.  Hobbs’ best days lie ahead, not behind.  I am praying for your new pastor and for each of you during this transition.  I also am asking for your prayers for my family and for St. Paul’s, Las Cruces.  With God’s help, everyone involved in this process will be further strengthened for the common work of making disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world.

Blessings,

Darren

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 It was announced yesterday that my family and I have received and accepted an appointment to be the Co-Pastor at new church merger between Grace United Methodist Church and Tularosa First United Methodist Church, effective July 1.  This is a great opportunity for us as we move into the position of Co-Pastor.  

   In our conference currently, smaller churches like Tularosa, First are not able to support a full time pastor. I am being sent to this appointment to work with Pastor Dustin Wilhite (the current pastor of Grace UMC). The goal is to find new ways for smaller churches to merge with a larger church and to have full time pastoral leadership, more resources and hopefully new life.  

   I have greatly enjoyed my time here with you.  Thank you for giving me a chance to be your Associate Pastor and Youth Pastor.  With this move I will no longer be involved directly in youth ministry and I am proud of the group of kids I am leaving behind as my “Last Group”.  Hobbs First will always be near and dear to my heart and we will have a great time and work very hard through this transition.  

   In the short time I have been here I have seen you all grow leaps and bounds and become a healthy congregation that is primed to do big things to change the world around you.  I believe in you.  Know that you will always be in my prayers as we all move forward.  Thank you for going along with me in ministry. I have a had a blast and I know great ministry is ahead of you.

Love God, Love People, Change the World!

Zach Bechtold