Dear Church Family, 

It was July, 1985, when Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, located outside of Rosebud, Texas, called me as their pastor.  That was my first full-time job serving as the pastor of a church (almost 38 years ago).  It was December, 2002, when Speegleville Baptist Church called me as pastor of this church (20 years and one month ago today).  As many of you might know, in about a week and a half, I will be turning 65.  

Back in 2019, Angela and I started thinking what retirement might look like and if we could afford for me to retire.  As with many plans, life has a way of changing those plans!  In the spring of 2020, the world pretty much shutdown because of COVID-19.  Certainly during a pandemic was not the time for me to retire.  So I put retirement talk and thinking about it on the back-burner.  

While COVID is still with us, we have a better understanding and better medical help in dealing with COVID (improved boosters and medicines to combat this virus).  Now that we are in the recovery phrase of this pandemic and now that many of the pre-COVID activities at our church are resuming, I believe it is a good time to retire as pastor of our church.  So today, I am announcing my retirement as pastor of Speegleville Baptist Church, effective on the last Sunday of February (February 26, 2023).

I want to make it very clear that the only reason for my retirement is that it is time.  None of us can control the passing of time.  I am not being asked to retire, I am not leaving because things at church are not good.  In fact, I believe the opposite is true.  We have all just endured a terrible chapter in history with COVID.  The church survived and will continue to survive and thrive!  I know that with new leadership Speegleville Baptist Church will continue to grow and reach out to Speegleville and beyond.

This is a bittersweet moment for Angela and me.  We truly love each and every one of you, and our ministry here, and we would never want to do anything that would cause any of you to hurt.  I hope that you will join us in praying for Speegleville Baptist Church and for us as we continue to pray for you.  

Personally, I am looking forward to an extended time of rest.  Thirty-eight years in the ministry, even without a pandemic, takes a toll.  Other than when I had my heart attack in 2012, my time off for the last 20 years has not been more than one Sunday at a time.  Over the next several months, I will have an opportunity for much needed rest, for which I am grateful.

In the days ahead, I want to take heed of, and I want to challenge Speegleville Baptist Church to follow, the words found in Psalm 119:105.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,

a light on my path.


Joe Bailey