In this blog I’m giving you a chance to honour some great leaders in a tangible way, so please read on to the end to find out how.
As the Lead Elder here at Grace Church I am privileged to work alongside a high quality group of leaders at all levels: worship leaders, site leaders and leaders in all of our different ministries – there far too many to list them all – you know who you are!
The team I personally spend the most time with is our eldership team – a group of men for whom I am so grateful. This group, who oversee the life of our church, set the vision and bring pastoral care and direction, are a joy to serve with.
Changes are afoot
Those who were with us at our Prayer and Vision night on Wednesday will know already that, among other things, we had a mix of stepping up and stepping down on that evening:
- Simon Taylor stepped up to join the site team for Bognor Regis
- Greg Bell and Jez Cooper stepped up to join the Midhurst site team
- and we announced that John Oldfield has decided that the time has come for him to retire from eldership
Honouring a fantastic couple
John and Mollie have been huge blessing to us – personally and as a church – since they arrived at Grace Church back in 2013, serving in so many ways and bringing blessing to so many. The good news is that they are not moving on, they will still be living here and serving the church:
- John will remain on the Bognor Regis Site team
- They will still be looking after the Life Groups in Bognor
- They will still do much of the pastoral work that blesses so many
- They will still be involved in mentoring some of the younger couples in the church
- And we will still hear John preach from time to time
However John has decided that, before he hits his 75th birthday (what a shining example of faithfulness!), the time has now come to lay aside the eldership role. We want to thank and bless him for all he has done, and to thank Mollie for all that she has contributed too.
Honouring this couple
Those who don’t know John and Mollie well may not realise the huge variety of things they have done in the past. They have served God and the Great Commission in many ways, including:
- Church planting in India
- Being the lead elder at a church in Dartford
- Being the lead elder at a church in Chatham
- Leading mission work and teams in Yemen
- And, of course, helping us establish a congregation in Bognor Regis
This is a couple who are a great example and deserve to be honoured by us all … and here are three tangible ways we can each do that:
1. Keep listening to them
Although John may be stepping down from eldership, this couple still radiate a passion for God and His church, and they carry a huge wealth of experience. Please keep pressing in to learn from this couple.
2. Say “Thank You”
We are all grateful to this couple, and because they are still here and serving it could be easy to forget to say, “Thank you”. Please don’t just assume they know you are grateful … tell them. This moment, when John is significantly changing his role, is a great chance to show them your love and appreciation.
3. Help them on their way to India
We will soon be waving them off on a six week trip to India, to visit some new places and to revisit some of the people and the works they were so involved with. Commission has a lot going on in India, and John and Mollie were a foundational part of that for many years. They are so well loved over in India, that everywhere I go there people ask if I know them and how they are!
Because of their health, and because we love them and want to honour them, there is a small thing we want to do for them as they go – something we can all do together:
let’s send them business class.
This will really help them to make the most of the trip, and to start and end it well (it’s a long and tiring journey!), so we are inviting anyone who wants to show their thanks to give financially towards this. Anything over and above this will also be passed on to John and Mollie.
If you feel inspired to say thank you to them in this way, please give it via Grace Church in the usual ways and mark it clearly so we know what it is. (And if you’re not part of our church and you’ve been blessed by John and Mollie and you also want to give to this, you can do it via our website here – and please send us a message so we know who you are and what it’s for)
Finally – be inspired by scripture
1 Timothy 5:17 says this,
“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour”
here is a great chance for us all to put that into practice.