We are ordinary people seeking together to reveal the extraordinary love of God in Jesus’ name
Alistair Campbell retired from Finaghy Baptist Church at the end of February, in which he had served as pastor, with his wife Carolyn, since 1994.
Special tributes were paid by the fellowship, the community around the church, the ministers of other local churches and the Irish Baptist Association, which made clear the universal love and appreciation felt for him, Carolyn and his family after a long and rich pastorate.
The church family expressed deep gratitude for his passionate ministry of the Word, his tireless pastoring and the example he set of an irenic, godly man. The community expressed dismay at his leaving and said how they will miss his real involvement in their lives as a neighbour and caring pastor. The local ministers spoke of his rich vision of churches working together for the sake of the gospel and a representative of the Baptist Association spoke of his commitment to the association and his valuable mentoring of younger ministers. Carolyn was also honoured for her hard work and her immense and deeply appreciated engagement with people.
The ministry of Alistair at Finaghy Baptist Church was the only pastorate he held, having been a school principal before training at Belfast Bible College after receiving a calling to ministry by God. He first came to FBC in 1993 to help out in the summer months and received a call to the pastorate early in 1994 which he took up in May of that year and in which he served and enriched the church and kingdom for 23 years. It suggests the question “What makes a successful long term ministry like Alistair’s?” One of the best ways to answer this is to list the principles by which he lived and worked in ministry, which he set out on leaving. Here they are in his own words;
1. An incarnational understanding and practice of ministry.
2. A practical working out of biblical truth nurturing meaningful relationships marked by servant hearted service.
3. A commitment to praise and prayer that is both public and private.
4. A constant striving to maintain and nurture a Christ honouring unity within the body of Christ.
5. A preparedness to have an open home and to allow the use of all we are blessed with, for the Lord’s kingdom.
Successful ministries of such considerable length and with such wide gratitude and appreciation are hard indeed to achieve. That Alistair and Carolyn achieved this is because of the grace of God. That others may achieve this could be down to their example.
They will be sorely missed in Finaghy and we follow their future ministry with great interest.