Just after noon today, at 12:12 pm, Randy Jost received the “upward call” and traded earth for heaven (Phil 3:14). This afternoon Linda and I took a long walk in the country to shed tears and savour memories.
Where do I start to unpack what’s in my heart?
I had the joy of working alongside Randy at the Metropolitan Bible Church for almost 15 years–from 1998 through 2012. The first time I met Randy (during the infamous Ice Storm of 1998), he described himself as a “GP pastor”– a “general practitioner” in ministry. Indeed, he excelled in many different aspects of pastoral ministry: leading musical worship, overseeing Senior Adults, running Alpha courses, visiting the sick and hospitalized (including visiting me when I had cancer surgery). Beyond all this, Randy brought a seasoned, godly wisdom to staff and Board deliberations. When I faced a difficult decision in ministry, I would always seek out his insight and counsel.
So many memories flood my mind and heart today as I reflect on Randy’s life and legacy. My favourite recollections center on seeing Randy in front of the congregation. I can still see him warmly welcoming everyone and then leading the musical worship. When Randy sang, I sensed the presence of God. His heart, life, and rich baritone voice blended in a moving, memorable way.
I also remember all the Christmas Eve services where the Jost family (Randy, Ev, Heidi, Jared, Lyndon, and Nate) sang a family musical number (I called them “the Von Jost Family Singers”). Our family also would prepare a special song each Christmas. So during the multiple Christmas Eve services each year, our two families were present from start to finish. When the last service wrapped up, we all shared a mixture of exhaustion and elation.
What made it especially sweet to serve with Randy was his steady and strong friendship. One couple at the Met told me the story of their first Sunday at the church. They arrived at the Met one Sunday right before the start of the service. Randy and I were sitting together in the front row, covering final details before the service started. This couple had come from a church where relationships on the staff were tense and divided. They said they could tell from the way Randy and I interacted that we were friends. They were right.
I like to call Randy “the voice of the Met.” For 31 years, his voice was a calming, steady presence for the congregation. Five senior pastors have served over the last three decades, Randy was loved and respected by each one.
This morning, shortly before noon, I was able to speak to his dear wife Evelyn and pray over Randy. She was by his side, as she has been for their 41 years of marriage. A few minutes after we spoke, the Lord called Randy Home.
Along with the grief, I am left with a deep sense of gratitude for Pastor Randy’s life and lifelong ministry. I join with many others in thanking God for Randy’s impact on my life and those in my family.
Last August, on a picnic with Randy and Ev, Linda and I were able to express our affection and appreciation for them. As I told Randy then–and repeated to Evelyn today–serving with Randy will always remain one of my greatest joys in ministry.