by Gary Dyksterhouse
In October of 2010, a few weeks after my son was born, I gratefully accepted the opportunity to serve you as a Deacon. Less than a month later, I accepted the responsibility of becoming the chairman of the Deacons. With the assistance of the other deacons, under the supervision of the Session, and through the companionship of so many dear church friends I have done my best to serve the church for 9 full years.
As of January 1st, 2020, I am officially on sabbatical from the Diaconate and the Deacons have elected Mischa McCray to serve as the new chairman. I could easily turn this into a lengthy dissertation on any number of topics, and any Deacon can tell you that I often get carried away when I sit down in front of a keyboard or a piece of paper. I will aim to avoid that tendency, but I did want to take a moment to thank you corporately for allowing me to serve and lead for the past 9 years. I also want to thank some people, and want to preface this by saying I could never thank everyone who has helped me serve the past 9 years. If I don’t mention you in this note, please understand that I am grateful. In no particular order…. (other than I saved the most important for last).
- My Fellow Deacons – I look forward to the day I return from sabbatical to serve with you again. Thank you for your patience, your love of the Gospel, your love of Westminster, and your love of our community.
- Our Session – I feel quite certain that the average church attendee has no idea just how difficult and time consuming it is to be an Elder at Westminster. As someone who sees the long hours, prayer sessions, meetings, and difficult situations that our Elders navigate, I am overwhelmingly grateful for their leadership.
- The Mission Team – More than any other team/committee I have served on, The Mission Team was by far the most enjoyable and rewarding. If you want to get plugged in, or feel as though you have talents that are going unused, I can assure you that the Mission Team is the right place for you. To see the Gospel and the direct love of Christ spread in a tangible way is a life changing experience.
- WIC (Women in the Church) – The Lord has blessed our church with the most amazing group of women leaders. It has been a joy to serve alongside you as we seek the lost, encourage the discouraged, and teach those thirsting for knowledge.
- Mischa and the Counseling Ministry – I don’t know if there is any other initiative that I take quite as much satisfaction in than the work Mischa is doing as a counselor in the Delta. I am particularly excited that Westminster is the conduit through which he is able to use his talents to transform people’s lives. Thank you to everyone who assisted this process, and thank you to Mischa for your pursuit of the hurt and lost.
- Those whom I have hurt or wronged – This is going to come as a shock to almost everyone (and by that, I mean absolutely no one), but I make mistakes…sometimes big ones! I have trained myself since a child to never back down from a challenge because of fear, but sometimes that means that I enter situation I am ill equipped to handle. So, for all the people I have offended or hurt because of my sin, I apologize and thank you for your grace. Without your forgiveness there is no way I could have served as the chairman.
- Richard and Annie – Being a pastor is incredibly difficult. Being a pastor’s wife might be the only role more difficult than pastor. I am very thankful for both of you and your commitment to make disciples of Jesus Christ and renew the Delta for the glory of God. I am so grateful to serve beside you, and to share this life with you.
- Kathryn, Mary Laine, and Langdon – In order to serve as chairman, I have had to sacrifice time with my family. There is a finite amount of sand in the daily hourglass and the three of you have often shared and at times given your allotment of sand to the people and needs of Westminster. Thank you for your patience and support.
The amazing gift of The Gospel of Jesus Christ is that we are invited to join his eternal family. We are allowed to be a part of the great story of renewal and redemption of His people. I look forward to my time of renewal and can’t wait to return at the end of my sabbatical to serve Westminster once again as a deacon. I am filled with gratefulness for my church, my friends, my family, and for my Savior.
“Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!” - Psalm 106:1