With enthusiasm and vigor, we set out to answer God’s call into ministry, celebrating early victories, such as surviving seminary and earning degrees, pastoring our first church and moving to a larger church. But with age and maturity, success begins to look different. Success is faithfulness to the God who has called you and faithfulness to the call He has given you. Success is also finishing well. In his book, Nothing Like It in the World, Stephen Ambrose recounts how investors suggested celebrations to launch several projects on the construction of the transcontinental railroad. One major financer, Collis Huntington, objected to the festivities, saying, “If you want to jubilate over driving the first spike, go ahead and do it. I don’t. …Anybody can drive the first spike, but there are many months of labor and unrest between the first and last spike.” Likewise, a successful ministry is one that finishes well.
Pastor Jerry Creasy is among those to finish well. In his 40 years of ministry, Creasy has pastored four churches in Southwest Virginia. These churches are not only in the same county but also within the same association. He finished up his pastoral ministry at Falling Water Baptist Church in Smyth County earlier this year.
Creasy’s ministry began just after he returned home from serving in the US Marine Corp during the Vietnam War. Surrendering to the call in 1978 and being ordained in 1981, his heart as a pastor has always been for the local churches in the mountains of Smyth County, where he was born and raised. Creasy has also been instrumental in gathering local pastors weekly to pray for an awakening in our country and revival in our churches.
His ministry reached beyond the local church into denominational work within SBC life. Creasy’s conservative convictions led him to play key roles in making the SBC of Virginia what it is today. He has served on the Executive Board and on the Church Planting Committee. While serving on the Church Planting Committee, he became passionate about church planting. Not only has he led Falling Water to become active in church planting, he, along with SBCV church planting strategist Randy Aldridge, has been faithfully meeting monthly with a group of pastors to pray for a church to be planted in Wytheville. This has been a burden on his heart for over six years.
Creasy’s retirement comes at a time in his life where the effects of his service in the Vietnam War have caused him to struggle to see well enough to preach. But for this pastor, retirement doesn’t mean he’s ready for the rocking chair. In fact, he is still at Falling Water, where he feels the Lord would have him be, helping find the next pastor to lead the church in its Gospel mission.
At the heart of Pastor Creasy’s 40-year ministry has always been and continues to be a zeal that was placed in him when he received Christ as Savior—a desire to tell others the Good News of Jesus. He continues to walk by faith and not by sight, prayerfully seeking God’s will. With the 40 years of “labor and unrest that lie between the first and last spikes” in the rails of Creasy’s ministry, he hopes to be able to help other men answering God’s call into ministry to start out and finish well.