On Saturday 16 July, members of Grace Baptist Church, Southport, together with friends from other churches, gathered in a commissioning service for their co-pastor, Adam Laughton.
He and his wife Julia were commissioned for the work of the Gateway church-planting project in Kent. The call came from the Association of Grace Baptist Churches (AGBC) in the South East.
In a bitter-sweet day for the Southport church, David Chapman, AGBC secretary, spoke of how the Laughtons’ call came with the unanimous conviction of the interviewing panel that Mr Laughton was the man of God’s choice to head this new work. He also expressed a deep appreciation of the willing sacrifice of the Southport church in ‘giving away’ a beloved pastor and his wife.
Mr Laughton expressed thanks to the church for their love, support, encouragement, and willingness to endorse their call, which had developed from an initial prayerful interest in Gateway. Feeling all too inadequate, they were following the call of the One who said, ‘I will make you fishers of men’.
Trevor Condy, a Southport elder, spoke of the Laughtons’ ministry and gifts and how they had made their home a centre of evangelism. He said they were uncompromising in biblical truth, but open-hearted and unstinting in their commitment to evangelism and to the message of a crucified Christ.
Barry King of Wood Green offered the commissioning prayer for Mr Laughton and his family. Stuart Olyott of Deeside Evangelical Church, who had known Mr Laughton since his student days at Bridgend and had preached at his induction service at Southport, brought us God’s Word. From Acts 11:19-26 and 13:1-5, Mr Olyott preached a brief, but focused and relevant, message.
He made five points — every church has a beginning; churches, having begun, need leaders; God ordains and raises up those leaders; leaders must never forget their principal work; and church planters have only one resource — God himself.