Monday, November 27, 2006

News

This past Sunday, November 26, I read the following letter to our church family:

Dear Pastor Don and Church Family,

When you asked me, Pastor Don, to come to Grace Bible Church several years ago, I had no idea of the great things that God would do in my life and in the life of my family as a result. When Carrie and I began our work at Grace as volunteers January 1, 2003, we knew that there were some exciting opportunities ahead of us, but we never could have imagined all the amazing blessings that God would grant us or lessons that He would teach us. As it turns out, He has once again proven to be “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph 3:20).

We have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of God’s work here at Grace Bible Church, and so it is, in a way, difficult to acknowledge the leading of God in our lives in a different direction. When we came to Grace we came with a long-term mindset and have been more than willing to grow old here in this ministry. In keeping with God’s leading in our lives, though, we have been praying for about a year now about whether God would have us continue our ministry here. We have come to the conclusion that it is His timing for us to move. So it is our goal to stay at Grace until next summer at which time we will be pursuing some other options that God has directed us towards. In the meantime, it is my desire to begin handing over my responsibilities to volunteers. I think this would be very beneficial for the church on a number of levels. First, this will allow more people to be more actively involved in the ministries of the church rather than paying a staff member to pick up many different ministries. Second, this will help the church’s financial difficulties greatly by giving the church approximately an extra $3,000 per month. I would like to stay on full-time until then in order to train various people to pick up such responsibilities as overseeing the children’s ministries, leading the choir, designing the worship services, leading the teens, etc.

This decision did not come easily. We have many friends here at Grace and consider many of the people here like family. Pastor and Diane, you have been great mentors for Carrie and me. Whether we’re discussing theology or lamenting stolen debit cards; whether we’re going out to eat or going to Patient First…again; whether we’re planning for the future of Grace Bible Church or planning to take time off; Carrie and I have always treasured our relationship with you and Diane. On a personal note, I want to let you know that you have done more than just about any one else to teach me about a compassionate way of guiding people into the truth. For that I, and anyone that I may pastor in the future, will be eternally grateful.

To our church family let me say thank you so much for letting us grow with you. We have developed some wonderful friendships here over the last four years and look forward to continuing to develop those friendships in the months ahead. We trust that we have been a blessing to you as you have been such a blessing to us. You have loved us, trusted us, met our needs and labored together with us.

To the parents of the teens of Grace, I owe you a deep debt of gratitude. Your willingness to let us come along beside you and disciple your teens with you is an opportunity that we have never taken for granted. It is a joyous duty that we trust we have fulfilled in a way that will honor Christ and will leave a lasting impact on your family. We have labored together with you for your joy in the faith, and we will continue to labor with you in prayer long into the future.

Teens, you make this the most difficult decision we have ever made because we love you deeply and our hearts break at the thought of not getting to see you grow up even more. I have tried to teach you week after week over the past four years that there is nothing more exciting and more satisfying than living life passionately for the glory of God. Now Carrie and I have the opportunity to demonstrate that to you as we follow God’s will even when it means leaving behind the teens we have come to love so much. But we are confident that this is God’s plan for us and for you, and we know that that means great glory for His name and great joy for all of us! Keep growing, and keep knowing, enjoying and serving our Lord Jesus. We will pray for you, and you will always be very special to us!

Pastor Don, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your trust and confidence in me. I did not realize 4 years ago what a big deal it was for you to ask me to come have free reign in the leadership of the teens and families of Grace Bible Church. I was only 22 years old! What were you thinking? In all seriousness, I have come to realize that you entrusted me with great responsibilities, and your trust and confidence in me were greatly undeserved but something for which I am immensely thankful. It is my hope and trust that what God has accomplished through us here at this church has been in accordance with His will, for the joy of His people and for His eternal glory.

Grace Bible Church will always hold a very special place in my heart. I hope that Carrie and I will always be able to look back on our time here with joy, and that we will be able to come back in the future and rejoice again with you in what God continues to do in the midst of the people of Grace. We love this church family. We will always pray that God’s hand will be on this ministry, and that this church will be a powerful force for the spreading of the gospel around the world, for the exalting of Christ in this community and for the everlasting joy of His people!

2 comments:

Tim Barker said...

Will,

We look forward to God's using of you elsewhere as He has at Grace. I hope to keep these connections we've had as we all start to step up to the plate and serve the broader, and larger body of Christ.

Will said...

Thanks, Tim. We've treasured your friendship and look forward to serving God's Church together with you even in different parts of the world.