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In-Flight Servant

For Randy Crowe, retiring from pastoral ministry was a stopover on the way to a renewed mission.

Tim Rhodes December 9, 2023

Randy Crowe checks the gauges of his small passenger plane as it glides toward an endless horizon. On board are a trio of travelers, reflecting on a busy couple of days in the Bahamas.

Photograph by Ben Van Hook

Life on a Bahamian Island is not as carefree as the images that often play in our head. Most of the islands lack modern conveniences and ready access to essential goods. And whole communities, still wounded by a category five hurricane in 2019, await supplies and help to restore a sense of normalcy.

After pastoring four churches in the southeastern U.S. and Man-O-War Cay, Crowe felt the lure of retirement. He and his wife Paula resettled in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, with a dream of seeing the grandchildren regularly. But months later Hurricane Dorian hit the Caribbean. Crowe still recalls his horror and helplessness as he watched the devastation on TV. 

Four years later, Crowe is as engaged as ever with the Out Islands of the Bahamas. They fly there regularly, though he and Paula remain in Florida. Progress is slow, but they find rewarding purpose in their service to the Bahamian people.

The marina on Man-O-War—the Cay’s primary means of shipping and receiving goods—remains closed, so Crowe’s flights to the island are vital. He transports groups that minister and serve, as well as tools and necessities for island residents.

Nearly five years after what looked like retirement, Crowe feels more active than ever. His decades of serving on the islands prepared him to coordinate ministry and relief efforts there. He sees his role as one link in a long chain of support.

And understanding now how the Lord had been equipping him all this time, he has no plans anytime soon to give up his wings.

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