After eight years of influence here, First Baptist Church Pastor Brian Haynes is moving on to make a difference somewhere else.
He and his wife, Brenda, and their three children are heading back to the Midwest so Haynes may start the next "adventure" of his life.
He's joining Faith Bap-tist Church in Hamp-ton, Iowa, as a family life pastor, a new position there. He will oversee the current programs available to families and start new ones the congregation sees a need for.
"As a senior pastor (here), I can't focus on the stuff I like to do," Hay-nes said. "(The new job) allows me to be a specialist. It's really like a dream job for me."
Brenda was raised in Iowa, and both Haynes' went to college there. Their three children -- Ashley, 15, Abby, 13, and Caleb, 10 -- have spent eight years of their lives in Craig, and Haynes is happy they will experience a different way of life in the Midwest.
"We're still going to be in a small town and still be involved in the community," he said.
During his time in Craig, Haynes started Awana --"appr-oved workmen are not ashamed," an international program guiding youths through Bible study -- at his church in 1998.
He was also involved in getting the Salvation Army and Love, INC off the ground. He was president of the Chaplains Corps through the Craig Police Department and served with the Ministerial Alliance.
He coached youth soccer, baseball, football and basketball through the city of Craig.
"I've just enjoyed the chance to be involved in that," Haynes said. "There's a lot we're going to miss about Craig and Moffat County."
His decision to leave was hard, but Haynes thinks he made the right one.
"As we prayed about it, it seemed really clear God was leading us to this next step," he said.
He's looking forward to this new chapter of his life.
"Working with families is hard work, but it's also rewarding," Haynes said.
The congregation at First Baptist congratulated Hay-nes but also begged him to stay.
"They say, 'If that's what you're supposed to be doing, then go do it,'" Haynes said. "'But we'll miss you.'"
Friends and members of the church will have a chance to say goodbye at a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the church, 1150 W. Ninth St. Haynes' last day at the pulpit will be May 8.
A replacement for Haynes has not yet been found. Parishioners will take turns leading the church until another pastor is hired. For more information, call the church at 824-5926.
Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.