The Rev. Lyndon Myers remembers feeling very green when he assumed the top job at Andover Baptist Church.
"I had never been a pastor before," said Myers, who was 47 years old at the time. "I wanted to be comfortable as the pastor and that was the challenge. Being comfortable as a pastor means success to me."
It's been 15 years since Myers' appointment in 2004 and church members obviously feel very comfortable with him at the helm. They honored him last Sunday with an anniversary celebration after the 10 a.m. service.
Calmly, and with a soft touch of humor, Myers reflected on the past 15 years, saying he is thrilled that generations of families continue to attend his church, located downtown at 7 Central St.
"I remember some church members as schoolchildren, then college graduates, then young working professionals, then married with children, and they still come to their church,'' said the pastor, who turns 62 next month. "That's what has changed, as I would say we have 2.5 generations of families here.''
His own family has changed right alongside his membership — besides his wife and four children, he now has a daughter-in-law and grandchildren. .
"My wife is eight years younger than me and is ready to retire and move down south," Myers said, laughing.
But he's just not ready. He's busy helping to steer young church members into leadership roles and works hard to keep his church looking good. It's a historic jewel in Andover — it opened in 1834.
Town preservation records say it's the second oldest church in town and is a national historic landmark. Its basement rooms were rented out to businesses in the early days. The businesses included a grocery firm, a tailor, a plumber and a seller of boots.
Last summer, the church steeple was renovated. Next up is a church column.
Myers said the church appearance — inside and out — matters to members.
He said his church is considered "small to medium" size, with just 60 members, however its community presence in Andover is very important. He is especially proud of the church's annual breakfast held every January for the last 12 years in memory of Martin Luther King Jr. Myers said 95% of those attending are not church members. Rather, they come from around the state.
"Trust in the Lord," he said of his 15 years of reflections. "Good things happen."
And, he prays that will continue for another 15 years and beyond.
Denise Wynn and her family have been members of Andover Baptist Church since Myers' pastor appointment.
"Pastor, as I like to call him, is a true man of God who has had a strong influence in my spiritual walk, and for that I'm forever grateful," Wynn said. "I'm so proud of all that he has brought not only to the Andover Baptist Church community, but to the surrounding Merrimack Valley faith-based community as well. Our congregation continues to thrive because of his caring and devotion. We love and appreciate him immensely."