From Rev. Joe Ardy, JtVP:
Dear Sisters and Brothers of Grace,
"They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to
be generous and ready to share, thus storing up
treasure for themselves as a good foundation for
the future, so that they may take hold of that
which is truly life." 1 Timothy 6:18-19
My time as ‘Just the Vacancy Pastor’ has come to a joyous end, and a new era for Grace congregation has begun with your new full-time Pastor. And a glorious future it will be! God will work through you and your hearts to be a blessing to each other and to be an attraction for the lost. Grace congregation is a place He uses to pour out His love through you to a dying world.
His love through you is what I have experienced in my (nearly) year here - Ash Wednesday 2017 to Ash Wednesday 2018. What a joy it has been to come and teach and preach, administer the Sacraments of both Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, counsel, share wisdom, and fellowship with y’all - getting to know some more of the saints that will spend eternity together. The love that Jesus commanded us to show to one another in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples,if you have love for one another.” You have lived this command well in my experience. Thank you.
Now, into the future. It is exciting to think of the things God will do through you and your new pastor, Rev. Douglas Widger and his wife,Karen. They come excited to meet and get to know you, to see the uniqueness of Grace congregation, the opportunities for ministry all around us, and maybe just a bit overwhelmed by the transition from well-known to new. Your role in that transition is the same as it has been for the last year - to show love and acceptance to them like you have to me. And to pray for them as they transition and get to use their gifts in the part of God’s Kingdom called Grace. They will rejoice, like I have, in your expressions of love, help, information, study of the Word, fellowship and so much more. They are God’s answer to the prayers we have all prayed for so long.
May I be bold to point out that one of the essential things for Grace to do is partner with the Widgers.Please do not think that since the new pastor is in place that he gets to do all the ministry. Yes, the methods may change with a new pastor, and what you do may be adjusted, but the desire of God does not change. It is for His people to work together with a pastor’s leadership to continue the work of building up the saints (of all ages) to seek and save the lost with His love shown to us through Jesus.
Grace has a glorious future. And so do each of us believers.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Rev. Joe Ardy, Just the Vacancy Pastor