At the end of 2018, the Associational Missionary for the North Georgia & Murray County Baptist associations, Bob Bagley, officially retired from his ministry to the churches in Whitfield & Murray Co. where I grew up. In November, they held a retirement ceremony. Part of that event included handing him a scrapbook with letters of appreciation submitted by those whose lives he impacted over the years.
When I learned of his death this morning on Facebook, I knew I had to post the letter that I wrote to him out of tribute to his life and ministry. I hope the personal letter below this photo will give you an idea of the kind of man that he was. He will most certainly be missed and has no doubt heard the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
PHOTO: Kim Kittle (The Christian Index, "Bagley retiring after 32 years of leading North Georgia/Murray County associations", Dec. 20, 2018)
November 7, 2018
Bro. Bob Bagley,
As soon as I saw on Facebook that they would be compiling a scrapbook for you with letters of gratitude, I knew instantly that I wanted to write a letter of my own to you.
Please accept my sincerest thanks for all you have done for me and my family. I remember hearing the name Bob Bagley when I was in elementary school when my dad pastored a small church in Whitfield County. You were a great encouragement to him as he pastored the church through periods of conflict. He respected you from his experience of having you as a teacher at Covenant Theological Seminary. So, from my earliest memories, I always remembered hearing the name Bob Bagley spoken of with respect and honor. Your name was associated with integrity, compassion, empathy, and wisdom.
After I became a minister of music and associate pastor at Spring Place Baptist Church a decade ago, I had the unexpected experience of having our senior pastor, Tim Batchelor, resign to become a Director of Missions in southeast Georgia. While I was proud of how the Lord was using him, I was also fearful of what was to come. This was my first full-time ministry position, and it fell upon me to help shepherd the church alongside our interim pastor, Dr. Tim Smith, who served us part-time. I had only graduated from Bible college a couple of years prior and was not prepared to have to help lead a church just over a year after arriving at SPBC. I felt like I was drowning!
However, I was not alone, because I had your support. I still remember a conversation or two that I had with you. You confirmed my concerns at times, but you also helped alleviate my fears. You gave me a safe place to vent, and you offered encouraging words to me. You were always gracious, and I never felt like I was bothering you. You only seemed “bothered” by the fact that you wish you knew certain things sooner so you could be encouraging me and praying for me quicker. I am not sure that I shared this with you, but I came close to quitting my 2nd year there. It was you and Danny Watters who the Lord used to influence me to stay. You both reminded me that God was still in control and things were not as bad as it seemed and to stay the course. Thankfully, you both were right and things worked out just fine as the Lord brought Paul Whitton to be our pastor, a dear brother that I’m still good friends with to this day. During that interim period before he arrived and when I wanted to quit ministry altogether, having older men come alongside me and encourage me meant more than you know. I firmly believe I’m still in ministry today because of you and Danny Watters. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to tell Bro. Danny how much his encouragement meant to me, so I did not want to let the opportunity pass to let you know. Thank you, Bro. Bob!
Finally, during my last few years at SPBC, I had the high honor of serving alongside you as the Vacation Bible School director for the association. Once again, you were extremely supportive, and you never failed to thank me multiple times for taking on such a huge task. You were gracious, patient, and willing to let me try new things. It was truly a blessing working with you!
I can honestly say that the churches of the North Georgia & Murray County Baptist Associations have benefited greatly from your leadership, and I know multiple pastors, in particular, who have had their loads lightened by you! Thank you for serving so faithfully over the decades and demonstrating a shining example of humble service to the Lord Jesus Christ. The pastors and members of churches in the association would do well to imitate your life and your ministry.
And I really hope you do not mind me referring to you as Bro. Bob. I know you hold the titles “Reverend” and “Doctor.” However, to me you have been, and always will be, “Bro. Bob.” You’re a soldier-in-arms in the trenches of ministry, and I am forever indebted to you. I believe I am a better follower of the Lord Jesus Christ for having known you.
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches. Proverbs 22:1
In Christ Alone,
Pastor of Worship & Administration
Tabernacle Baptist Church
6611 Zebulon Rd.
Macon, GA 31220