(I write a weekly column for the Cartersville, Daily-Tribune. This column is in today’s paper. It’s a tribute to my friend, Jeremy Morton. He has been Pastor of Cartersville FBC for 5 years. Today is his last Sunday.)
A Tribute To My Friend – Jeremy Morton
It was the fall of 2014. I was involved in a group known as “Leadership Bartow” sponsored by the Bartow Chamber of Commerce. There were leaders from all across the county in the group.
One of those, was a young man named Jeremy Morton. Jeremy was the new Pastor of Cartersville First Baptist Church. Jeremy had charisma. He had an enthusiastic personality. He could walk into a room and pretty much dominant it. He had that kind of charisma.
I’m not proud of this; but I was jealous of him. I mean, here is this young Preacher who is so popular and has all this charisma! I was envious. And I was like that for several months. Oh, when I was around Jeremy I would smile and laugh and carry on but inside, I was jealous!
And that bothered me. It bothered me so much that I called him one day and said, “I need to talk to you.” So, I went to his office, sat down and confessed. I told him I was jealous and I was wrong and I asked his forgiveness. He granted it and we talked and that began a close friendship. I didn’t know it, but the young Preacher I was jealous of, would minister to me for about two-and-a-half years.
I resigned in February 2016. In the weeks after that, Holli and I visited the church our kids attended… we visited another church in Kennessaw and one Sunday, we decided to visit Cartersville FBC. We were going to visit and mark it off our list and move on. That was our plan, at least.
But that Sunday, we walked into the worship center and almost immediately we began to sense there was something different about CFBC. The people were warm and Jeremy was a very good Preacher. I was a bit of a banged-up Preacher then. I wasn’t sure about church but I knew I needed to go even if there were Sundays when I really didn’t want to. During this time, Jeremy sensed that I was hurting and we began meeting for coffee or lunch. There was a time when we met just about every week. Many times it was at Ingle’s.
Many mornings I would get a text that went something like; “Time for coffee or breakfast?”
I would respond with “Yes..”
Then I would get “Ingle’s at 8?”
“Yes, see you there.”
Lots of mornings, we sat in the food court at Ingle’s and talked life, Georgia football, Cartersville football, church. Etc… Most mornings, Jeremy was listening to me… at one point, a hurting Preacher. But there were mornings, when the hurting Preacher listened to Jeremy… the young Preacher I had been jealous of…. As we talked church or he asked my opinion on decisions he was facing. I was humbled that this very successful young man would ask MY opinion on something. But he did and we ministered to one another.
Today, is Jeremy Morton’s last Sunday at Cartersville FBC. He is moving to First Baptist Church, Woodstock where he will become co-Pastor of that church along with his Preacher-mentor, Johnny Hunt. In time, Jeremy will be the lead Pastor. His leaving is tough for the church. CFBC experienced tremendous growth over the last five years. The church built a new pre-school wing and has plans to build a sanctuary.
Jeremy is my friend and I would never, ever say anything or do anything to hurt or offend him. But recently, God reminded me that the church is not built on Jeremy. It’s not built on any one human being. It’s built on Jesus.
The same Jesus that led Jeremy and Carrie Morton to come to Cartersville with their three children, is now leading them to Woodstock. And, the same Lord who is leading them to Woodstock, is preparing someone to come to Cartersville.
I am embarrassed that I was jealous of Jeremy. But I am thankful the Lord led me to go to him and ask forgiveness. If not, I may have missed the blessings of being ministered to by a young Preacher I was jealous of.
May the Lord be with you Jeremy and Carrie Morton. Cartersville FBC, and Gregg and Holli Potts will miss you. And Jeremy, this Preacher who has healed up some due to your ministry, always has time for coffee with a friend.