Dudley Baptist Church
After five and half years, and listening to over one hundred different preachers, we have at last come the point where we believe our great God has answered our prayers. We thank God for all his leading and guidance during the interregnum.
You only realise how much a pastor does when you are without one. There are so many souls to be fed, so many meetings to be arranged, so many lost to be saved, so many needs to be addressed, and so many situations demanding attention.
We are thankful to all the men who have preached for us during the interregnum, but we have missed consecutive preaching immensely. Pastoring has been difficult. I know some of you don’t believe in full-time pastors and some go many years without a settled ministry. We believe that God gives pastors to his church.
At times we wondered if we would ever find a pastor who would unite us. In our search for a pastor we were made to realise how many qualities are needed in one man to fill this position. Looking for a Reformed Baptist, missionary-minded free grace preacher and hard-working pastor is a lot to find in one earthen vessel!
In the providence of God, our pastor-to-be first preached for us on the first Sunday of 2008. This followed the recommendation of Pastor David Harding. David Gayton accepted an invitation to preach on our motto text for that year, Matthew 28:20, ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world’.
After several sermons and Bible studies and a youth rally, it became clear that there was a lot of interest in the membership regarding David Gayton. At the church members’ meeting on 13 October 2008, there was an emphatic vote in favour of calling David to the pastorate here.
We knew this would be a major decision for David and Ann, because they had business assets to dispose of and a house to sell. In this present economic climate this would be no easy task. A remarkable sequence of providences came together as we sought to call David and Ann to the work of the gospel here.
The relief! We are only just beginning to appreciate what a burden has been lifted from us. It is the first time in my life that I have been made redundant. The experience is both new and welcome.
We realise that our gain is someone else’s loss. We do thank all the folk from Wilstead Evangelical Church for their support and for being willing to give up one of their church leaders.
We are rejoicing that our merciful, giving God has given us a pastor and that David and Ann are God’s workers to stand in the gap in this church: ‘And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it’ (Ezekiel 22:30). We praise God for his mercy and provision.