Dear Grace Family,
On February 3, 2003, Jonell and I and our 4 children loaded up in Springfield, IL and began our journey to the Brazosport area of Texas. We arrived in town 2 days later and Joined about 12 other families who made up Grace Community Bible Church (now Grace Bible Church) where I began to serve as the first Teaching Pastor. Since that time the Lord has blessed our family with 2 more children and has blessed Grace Bible Church with many more people.
We came here, because the Lord had placed an unmistakeable Call on our lives to come. We had to obey HIS Call and I am so glad we did.
Our Church has not been perfect, but we have been committed to our distinctives of Expository Preaching, Biblical Eldership, Team Leadership, a High view of God, and the Inerrancy and Sufficiency of Scripture.
For over 13 years now Jonell and I have invested our lives in this ministry and community. I have not been the perfect teaching pastor, but I have tried, by God’s grace, to be faithful to preach His Word, to love Jesus and to love you for HIS Glory.
For over 13 years I have had the privilege to serve some of the greatest people in the world here at Grace. I have prayed with, wept with, counseled with, celebrated with, believed with, been encouraged by, grown with and bragged about you to others. And I do not regret one minute of this time.
Were there some difficult times over these last 13 years? Yes, but the vast majority of times were sweet and the Lord used the difficult times to make us all more like Jesus.
When we came here we had no idea what the LORD would do, but we knew it would be good. HE has been faithful to build HIS Church here at Grace. We have seen the LORD give new life to people here at Grace in making them His sons and daughters. We have seen the LORD rescue people from the power of sin in their daily lives and relationships. We have seen the LORD use our body to get the Gospel out into our Community. We have seen the LORD provided abundantly so we could support the spread of the Gospel around the world. We have seen the LORD strengthen marriages. We have seen the LORD carry people through great pain and disappointment. We have seen the LORD do what HE does best: use HIS people for HIS Glory and their good. We knew it would be good, but it has far surpassed anything we could have asked for or imagined.
I am eternally grateful to the LORD for calling me here over 13 years ago.
2 springs ago, 3 different ministries approached me about coming to serve the LORD with them. I turned them all down. Then this past summer, one of those ministries approached me again and asked if I would commit to pray about whether the LORD was calling me to serve with them.
Jonell and I committed to pray about this opportunity. I then shared this with our Elders and asked them to pray. I also sought out counsel from other Godly men. During this process the LORD began to work in my heart to give me clear direction.
That direction has brought us to this day where I stand before you and tell you that the LORD is calling me to serve HIM in the Role of the Midwest Region’s Director of FCA Football (Fellowship of Christian Athletes).
This is one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make, therefore we did not take it lightly – but sought the LORD with all our hearts and minds.
I know for many of you this is a shock. However, I also know that you know me and the way that the LORD has wired me. During the past few years the LORD has opened up doors here in our community for me to minister to Football Coaches and athletes at our local high school. He has also given me the opportunity to serve Football Coaches and athletes in other parts of the country through leading pre-game chapel services via Skype for Georgetown College in KY. HE also allowed me to minister to Football Coaches at one of my best friends funerals last Spring. There have also been numerous other opportunities that the LORD has given me to minister to Football Coaches as I have gone about my daily life.
All of these opportunities the LORD has used to confirm HIS new Call for me.
This position is the first of its kind in the country and the hope is as we learn how to most effectively minister “to and through” football coaches – we will be able to take it to other regions in the US.
Billy Graham once said, “One coach will impact more young people in one year than the average person does in a lifetime.”
All coaches have a tremendous influence on their athletes, but there is one coach that has more potential influence than any other coach … the Football Coach. Due to the popularity of the game of football and the sheer numbers of athletes who play the game, the football coach is exposed to more athletes than any other sport. Not only does the football coach influence those directly involved in the football program, but they influence other coaches, athletes, students and people in the community.
In the Midwest Region of which I will be serving (IL, Iowa, MO, KS & Nebraska), when you take into account all high school & College Football Coaches (head and assistants), there are 13,000 football coaches. These coaches are coaching over 130,000 football players. Obviously, the potential for Gospel impact is huge. And I believe the LORD has called me to lead this ministry.
My new supervisor, Tim Johnson, said we could live anywhere in the Midwest that we wanted. Therefore, we have chosen to live in Springfield, IL where we are already familiar with the community.
I want to assure you that I am as committed to the local church as much now as ever. I know the LORD has given me the gift to preach and teach HIS Word. Not only will I get to do this with FCA Football, but I will use these gifts in the local church as well. We have a few good options as to local churches in Springfield where we can put down roots and serve in the Fulfilling of the Mission of the Church.
I also want to assure you that the rest of the Elders and myself will be seeking the LORD as to who HE is calling to come and serve Grace as your new Teaching Pastor. Just as I believe that the LORD has called me to FCA Football, I also believe HE is already Calling the right man to come and serve here at Grace as the Teaching Pastor.
Just like when we came over 13 years ago, the Lord has placed an unmistakeable Call on our lives to Go and serve with FC Football. We must obey HIS Call, trusting HIM all the way.
Jonell has had the privilege of being loved by the people of this great family here at grace. She loves you all so much and brags about you every chance she gets. Thank You for treating my bride with love and grace.
Our children have been the beneficiaries of being loved and served by the family here at Grace. For that I am eternally grateful. They have seen what a loving and dedicated local church should be like. Thank you.
I have been loved so well here at Grace and am confident that I got the better end of this deal. I could not have asked for a better local Church Family to serve as Teaching Pastor than the Family here at Grace. Thank you for loving me, being patient with me, exhorting me, befriending me, teaching me and for being used by God to make me more like Jesus.
Please pray for us as we make this transition some time in June. Pray the LORD will make it clear as to which local church to serve in. Pray the LORD will provide us a house. Pray the LORD will raise the funds we need to come on FCA staff. Pray the LORD will proved godly friendships for our children. Pray that the LORD would empower us to faithfully proclaim the Gospel to all whom we come into contact. Pray the LORD will comfort our hearts as we miss our wonderful family here at Grace.
I will close with the following words from the Letter of Jude: Jude 24–25
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Grace to You All, Bryan