Letters to Sojourners from Kelly and Pastor Dave
I wanted to say thank you for the last 4-1/2 years that Dave has been the full-time preaching pastor.
Thank for the grace you have extended to our family as we navigated being in this role for the first time.
Thank for you loving my husband well. It has been a blessing to get to watch him enjoy his work and the people he works with.
Thank you for not putting expectations on me as to what should be required of me as the pastor's wife. I have felt free to follow God's leading for me at this stage of life, which was to support Dave and the church through prayer at home and raising my young children.
Thank you for loving my children. They speak nothing but grace about the church, this is a reflection of how they have been loved.
Thank you and God bless you as you enter into a new stage.
I have no idea how to sum up almost 6 years together, but let me try to let Scripture speak for me in three things I’ve learned since I’ve been here:
I Love the Gospel More than I Thought I Could
For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:1-4)
I’m trusting that my coming to you for these years was not in vain simply because I tried to declare to you with boldness the gospel of God. The gospel that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners and all of its blood-bought promises is worth everything and I love it more than when I came. It is worth conflict. It is worth suffering. It is worth it to please God. And it is worth it because it is the only thing that actually changes hearts. Cling to this gospel when I’m gone! It is worth it!
I Love God’s People More Than I Thought I Could
So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us... For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:8, 11-12)
Pastoring has been unbelievably personal. I love you. I pray for you daily. I know some better than others, but I’ve considered it a privilege to be accountable for your souls for this little while. You have become very dear to me. I love the church. I believe in the blood-bought family of God more than when I came. The blood-bought family of God is worth the time. It’s worth the energy. It is worth the conflict. It is the place that God means to use to change your hearts! Cling to this family when I’m gone! It is worth it.
I Love How the Gospel Works in God’s People
And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. (1 Thessalonians 2:13
You have no idea the number of times I’ve simply gotten in my car or been in the shower or woken up in the morning or sat in my office chair after seeing the gospel of Christ work in one of your lives and simply said, “Thank you, Lord! Thank you.” Having a front row seat to the work of God through the word of God and the Spirit of God in your lives has been the most exhilarating thing I can imagine.
Is it messy sometimes? Sure. Is it ugly sometimes? Sure. It is painful sometimes? Sure. But, he works through his word. He really does.
You have listened to me get up and simply unpack the words of God week after week, seminar after seminar, counseling session after counseling session, and you have accepted it as what it really is, the word of God! And it has worked in you believers!
So, Sojourners…thank you for your patience with me. You’ve put up with a young pastor. Thank you for helping me love the gospel more deeply. Thank you for helping me love the blood-bought family of God more deeply. And thank you for letting me into your lives to see the gospel work in the blood-bought family of God.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. –Philippians 1:6-8
Yearning for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus,