A reflection from Bryan Walker, President, Grace Gospel Fellowship
Throughout the decades, the Grace Gospel Fellowship has served pastors and churches in small towns and big cities throughout the country. Looking forward, our focus will be three-fold— healthy pastors, healthy boards, and healthy churches. We have committed 100% of our resources on these efforts. Yet much of our efforts takes place “under the surface”— foundational work to come alongside pastors to support their heavy tasks as shepherd and leader; encouraging and equipping board members in their work of guiding and overseeing the health of their pastors and congregations.
As President of the organization, allow me to spend a few moments to unpack our three-fold purpose and how it will impact the local church.
- HEALTHY PASTORS – For a pastor to be healthy, I am referring to their spiritual, relational, vocational, physical, and mental well-being. The sacred calling of being a pastor can bring a heavy burden – loneliness, isolation, spiritual warfare – as well as the many risks and cautions that come with leadership (family and marital stress, physical and mental strain, etc.). We are working with pastors to provide them mentoring relations with other GGF pastors, and resources to support their biblical scholarship and financial future. What does a “healthy pastor” look like? They serve and lead with confidence, knowing that their board and congregation support the work they’re doing. They have a thriving relationship with God, their family, and their church community. They are spiritually accountable to and for people in their life and throughout their journey. Our goal is that all of our pastors are being served and cared for by their boards, congregations and by our organization.
- HEALTHY BOARDS – It is a common saying that “Many great pastors have been exhausted by well-meaning boards”. Board work is challenging as it requires spiritual maturity and a strong biblical understanding of the tasks – in addition to also being responsible for the church’s finances, properties and risk management. What does a “healthy board” look like? Its members are engaged in oversight of the spiritual health of their pastor and congregation. It seeks to build a peaceful, meaningful and worshipful environment in and out of the board room. We are connecting with board members around the country as they seek to develop their abilities to better serve their congregations. Our goal is that every board is provided support and guidance to become their very best in their key ministry responsibilities.
- HEALTHY CHURCHES – When a church has a healthy pastor and a healthy board, it has the great capacity to be a healthy church. What does a “healthy church” look like? In a healthy church, lives can be changed, communities can be served, marriages can strengthen, life-on-life ministry can take place, and people can grow closer to Jesus Christ.
We can see western culture continuing its sprint away from God, and at the same time, the desperate need for churches to be that “light on a hill” and “salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13-20). Imagine this for a moment with me:
A future where you can walk into any GGF church in the country and find a well-equipped pastor working in close unity with their board as it shepherds its congregation and actively serves its community, while also engaged in fellowship and mentoring with the pastors, boards and congregations in GGF churches around the US and throughout the world. Each pastor has a retirement plan that is building and personal mentors caring for them as they commit toward their sacred calling. In each church, there is a firm and scholarly understanding of the message of God’s Grace throughout the congregation as it reflects Christ outwardly. In each congregation, there is a commitment and culture of discipleship and compassion taking place throughout where young people are being guided and mentored to become Christ-centered leaders, teachers and servants for their family, workplace, and community, and where people are diligently seeking to know Christ better.
This vision of the future is what is driving our daily efforts at the GGF! We are working intentionally toward specific initiatives to support our pastors, boards and churches toward that future.
Here are two critically-important ways you can be part of this future:
Funding – Your financial support will directly invest into the lives of pastors throughout the GGF network of churches. A gift today and ongoing into the future, an estate gift toward the Pastor Retirement Fund, a commitment to monthly support – Each of these are needed. (Praise God! In an effort to encourage GGF churches to increase their annual support, a $35,000 matching-fund commitment has already made for 2022!)
Prayer – As Matt and I travel around the country to meet with pastors, boards, and congregations, we covet your prayers – for travel safety and for meaningful visits. Also, although you may not know each of our pastors around the country, they need your prayers as they shepherd their congregations and balance the daily challenges of life and ministry. (If you would like a copy of our monthly Prayer Calendar, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
I look forward to giving more details of our work and vision in upcoming communication and at the reFresh conference at the end of January. In the meanwhile, if , or others you know, would like to be kept informed through our new online newsletter, please email email@example.com for updates.
Peace and joy,
Grace Gospel Fellowship