But Harlow said the amenities of a large church better facilitate the mission of reaching out to the hurting and down-and-out.
“Jeff can preach to 1,000 people, or just talk one-on-one with someone in his office and make them feel special,” Smith said.
So what does Harlow have planned after stepping down from the pulpit and delivering his final sermon on March 17?
“I don’t have a clue,” he said. “I’m going to farm, I know I’m going to do that. I’m just going to devote myself to my family and the farm, and see what comes up. I’m assuming there’s something else, but I don’t know what that something is yet.”
One thing he definitely wants to do, however, is write a book on how to properly transition churches and organizations through big changes.
And when the new pastor takes over, Smith said the congregation will all have the same message for Harlow.
“I think what anyone here at the church would say to Jeff is a single word: Thanks,” he said. “Thanks for your service and dedication for so many years.”
Carson Gerber is a Kokomo Tribune reporter. He may be reached at 765-854-6739, or by email at email@example.com.