I knew after he had a heart attack last year that this day was going to come sooner than any of us wanted to. You can’t run a church you have overseen that has grown from just 30 members to over 3000 without it taking its toll on your body. His mind might be willing but the body just wasn’t gonna take it much longer.
So, our Pastor, Randy Weeaks, retired yesterday.
I’ve been a member of a church my entire life. I was raised that Sunday belonged to God and my butt better be there. Sure, I skip out here and there and sometimes I really do want to just sleep in, but after all the Lord has done for me over the years the least I can do is give him a few hours of my focus, worship and time with my fellow believers each week.
During that time I have had numerous preachers or pastors I have led by. Most of them have been great men that enriched my life in some form. Growing up in Houston Brother Judson Edwards was the first pastor that truly made that kind of impact. What he did with that little church south of Houston and those people, most of whom we still call friends all these decades later, was truly a work of God.
But no one will ever be another Pastor Randy.
I don’t even have words to say honestly. He is hilarious, down to earth, loving, strong, bold, compassionate and a great visionary leader. Everything about him points people to the love of God.
We have been members of Walnut Ridge Baptist Church for 11 years now. My kids love the place and we have lifelong friends there now that have made a huge impact on our lives. As a group they helped us during one of our worst financial times as we were adopting Zane and trying to get him home. All of this because we had a pastor that demanded that we love each other and that we love the world around us.
I could write for days about who he was and the things he did, but unless you were around him this would just be another article about a good man. But in our day and age when so many Christians in the church are viewed as hypocrites (and yes most of us sure can be!) and in an age when too many Christian “leaders” are seen building “their own” kingdoms instead of building God’s kingdom, I had to share.
Coming from spending nearly a decade at the big blue roof church down the road where we were essentially booted out and threatened with a lawsuit by the pastor because I confronted him for financially screwing over a friend of ours in our class, Pastor Randy was like a shock to my system. My family and I had been mortally wounded by that experience and even I began wondering if there were any real churches left anymore.
I’ll never forget the Sunday I went by myself and we had just gotten home with Quinn from South Korea. Pastor Randy had completely changed the format of that Sunday morning so that he could focus the time that morning on adopting children. After the service I went up and introduced myself and told him we had just adopted and gotten home a few days ago. The very next Sunday we came back and he walked right up to Quinn and said “this must be Quinn?” and loved on him.
That’s my Randy story and 11 years later he hasn’t changed at all. He’s been like a father figure from stage all these years and in so many ways reminded me of my dad all the time. (For those of you that knew my father, just imagine some of the funny things he said coming from your pastor. They were cut of the same mold. For example, Randy would talk about when he and Doris started dating….he said they were “sniffing around on each other”. That was our Pastor Randy.)
Now he is moving on to the next phase God has for him and his amazing wife Doris. They are starting a new ministry called “Why Not Bless” and we will certainly be big supporters. I can only imagine the lives they will touch and change and I will encourage everyone I know to stand behind them and help them help others.
His legacy in Mansfield will live on. From the annual “Beast Feast” to “Community Outreach Days” each year and to the countless organizations he helped launch from Mansfield helping people all over the world, Randy has left us with the challenge of the great commission; showing others the love of God by being real, giving and embracing joy and laughter. Our good friend Erik Irby is set to take the baton and keep us all going forward into the next generation for Walnut Ridge and for that we are blessed and excited.
Pastor Randy was just a good ‘ol boy from Comanche, Oklahoma, who God supplanted from redneck country right into the heart of the Metroplex. His impact over the last 26 years will remain for decades to come as he “takes a lap” down into Granbury, Texas, where he can spend some more time fishing for those elusive catfish.
Randy, my family is gonna miss you big time my brother. God speed. We will forever be “your people”.