Thursday, February 25, 2016
The Challenges; Embracing My Saviour
(The Following is inspired by "Your Context, Your Calling" Christian Standard magazine's recent issue with writing based upon my own calling and context)
Since my youth, I knew I wanted to be a preacher. There was no escaping it. My home church had a prolonged impact on my life. A little ole church in Selkirk, Ontario; that helped shape a dysfunctional kid to be inspired by God. During my training at Mid-Atlantic Christian University (then Roanoke Bible College), I was instilled to love God and love people.
I would of never have thought where God would have me years later. From a few youth ministries to currently my second preaching ministry. I know that I've made mistakes along the way but am thrilled where God has me. When God calls; we follow. I'd always thought that one day I'd be ministering back "Home" in Canada; but that door has been closed several times over. (Thus I joke with some that I'm a missionary to the Americans) In a "weird" turn of events - my family of 5 would be lead back to the place we'll call "Home." an area where we had a previous youth ministry, an area where two of my children were born. A ministry where my wife's grandfather use to be an elder.
Ministering in a traditional church, where my predecessor, served almost thirty years and I knew him.
Bonnie Brae (literally translated "Beautiful hill") Church of Christ is not a megachurch by any stretch of the imagination. A small church with a Big heart for Jesus. Located in the Greater Richmond Area (or RVA as some call it) a place of vast history and potential for growth.
One of the saying I hear new churches quote "We're not your Grandparents' Church" Fact is for us: "We are your Grandparents' Church ...and everyone loves Grandma." Embracing who we are; what we value was just the beginning.
Over twenty years of ministry, with young children, has taught me to be patient. Don't be a bull in a China Shop./ My godly church leaders have taken a chance on a young preacher. We're trying to reach our community by serving. Partnering with a local food pantry (Called "Lamb's Basket"), a local Christian camp (Oak Hill) , a Christian Home (Golden Age Christian Village).
Serving by partnering with missions overseas and praying for the underground church. I still hear that cry from the class of 1995 as our motto "May all who come behind us; find us faithful." Or in the words of the late youthworker, Mike Yaconelli "What a ride!!" What a ride it had been and continues to be. A family that is Bonnie Brae.
-Gerrard Fess serves as the preacher at Bonnie Brae Church of Christ in Henrico, Virginia. Married to Valerie adn has three children: Kendra, Nicole and Brian.