Dr. George Robertson informed the First Presbyterian Church family on July 11, 2017, that God has led him to accept a pastoral call to Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tennessee.
In his letter to the congregation he said, “In the Gospel accounts, when Jesus called his disciples, he only said, ‘Follow me.’ There was no preface to his command and no assurance that the road would be easy. He called his disciples to follow him regardless of how happily engaged they were in their present jobs.”
At the church’s annual Bible and Missionary conference, Dr. Robertson first began to feel the Lord leading him to share what the Lord has taught him and the blessings of what the Lord has accomplished through First Presbyterian with another church.
Dr. Robertson explained, “I believe Christ has stepped into my blissful world at First Presbyterian Church of Augusta and said, ‘Follow me and take the same gospel that restores people, rebuilds places, and reconciles the races to Second Presbyterian Church of Memphis.”
The Session’s letter to the church, which was sent out in conjunction with Dr. Robertson’s letter, said, “We as a Session rejoice in the last 12 years of God’s faithfulness and thank him for blessing our church with the Robertson family. God knew our congregation needed George to lead us deeper into gospel living as we have sought to restore people and rebuild places through the gospel of Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God. The deep, mutual love we share with our pastor and his family fills our hearts simultaneously with the joy of rich memories and the sadness of loss.”
“The deep, mutual love we share with our pastor and his family fills our hearts simultaneously with the joy of rich memories and the sadness of loss.”
Pastor George said, “I assure you, I answer this call only because I believe it is from King Jesus, not because of any disappointment with my favorite people at First Presbyterian Church. … Unless Christ were calling me, it would make no sense to leave my beloved people who have brought unspeakable joy to my family and me.”
When he submitted this call to the First Presbyterian elders, they considered it together prayerfully for a number of days, and the elders thoroughly tested Dr. Robertson’s motives. He said, “While neither of us delights in this parting, we are both convinced this call is from the Lord. Those noble elders actually laid hands on me and commissioned me for this new work. … We have known nothing but the sweetest, most unified, and most enjoyable ministry together over the last 12 years.”
Although Second Presbyterian is a member of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, not the Presbyterian Church in America, Dr. Robertson will remain in the PCA at least until he completes his terms on the Cooperative Ministries Committee and the Standing Judicial Commission, part of his responsibilities as the 2016 Moderator of General Assembly.
The move to Memphis will allow the Robertsons to be much closer to George’s elderly parents who live in Arkansas, and to aid his older brother in caring for them.
The session appointed Rev. Mike Hearon to serve as Interim Senior Pastor, and appointed Rev. John Barrett as the Executive Pastor to ensure ministry continuity and coordination. They also appointed a transition team led by Rev. Hearon, consisting of Rev. Barrett, Rev. John Franks and Dr. Mike Phillips, as well as Ruling Elders Jim Scarbrough and Tom Harley, Diaconate Chair Justin Halverson, and Chris White, Director of Operations. Ruling Elder Cliff Eckles was appointed as chairman of the Pastoral Search Committee with Ruling Elder Tony Neal serving as vice-chair. Dr. Robertson has also committed to making himself available to First Presbyterian in an advisory role during the transition.
A congregational meeting has been called for 9:45 a.m. on August 13, to officially dissolve the relationship between Dr. Robertson and the church, as well as to approve additional members of the Search Committee.
“Please honor me by committing yourself all the more to the life and work of this church.”
Pastor George issued a charge to the congregation: “Please honor me by committing yourself all the more to the life and work of this church. Attend even more regularly, pray even more fervently, give even more generously, evangelize even more boldly, and volunteer even more selflessly.”