Thank you for the great privilege of serving this body of Christ as Senior Pastor since November 2004. Thank you for the grace and love you have shown to my family and to me over these years.
Many memories pull at our hearts as we grieve this our departure from our dear church family. This is where we raised our son from boyhood to manhood. Our daughter married the man of her dreams in our worship center. Both of our children served the Lord at Journey Church: Elise did her ministry internship for her Moody Bible Institute bachelor’s degree and was a volunteer youth leader over a long span of time. Our son served with us in our monthly ministry to the residents of the Alverno nursing home from the age of 8 or 9, helped in the youth ministry, joined our Music Team at the age of 14, and this church sent him out at age 16 to be the worship leader at a new church start-up in Bettendorf.
You have had an impact on our children for Jesus, and they continue walking with Christ to this day. Thank you.
We have been blessed to be “Mr. and Mrs. Pastor” at Journey Church for over 16 years. I use the title “Mrs. Pastor” somewhat lightly, but also very intentionally. I remember the chairman of the search committee which brought us here saying, “We really want Sue Ann, so we knew we had to hire you!”
Sue Ann has served pastorally at Journey Church. Her ministry has focused primarily on women: she has led the women’s ministry, Daughters of the King, she has led the Tuesday morning Bible study for 14 years, she has led the Daughters of the King Sunday morning Life Group, has led other Bible studies, and she has mentored and discipled many women. She has also used her gifts to serve in the worship ministry, children’s ministry, drama, and art.
However, her ministry here has reached beyond all that. She has partnered with me in my ministries. She has joined me in visiting people in homes and hospitals, evangelizing the lost in our community, counseling people seeking help—including many, many hours in pre-marital counseling—and loving the people of Journey Church. She has been my staunchest ally, my wise counselor, and an example to me of godliness and faithfulness. You, our dear church family, have been richly blessed by God to have had His choice servant, Sue Ann Loyola, among you for over 16 years.
Please do not expect your next pastor’s wife to be like Sue Ann. Let her be herself.
Sue Ann has not left “shoes to be filled;” rather, she has lived out her calling from God to be a pastor’s wife. Once I had my first pastorate in 1984, she resigned her professional career as a teacher at the most prestigious high school in Texas; indeed, that school was second in the nation only to a high school in New England. She had, and continues to have a passion to serve the Lord as a pastor’s wife.
As for me, I have held as a high privilege, a holy responsibility, and a great joy, the preaching and teaching of God’s Word at Journey Church: preaching the Bible weekly, teaching the discipleship course “Foundations 1” and “Foundations 2” cyclically over 15 years, teaching the Bible Exposition Training course, and more.
I have had the great, great joy of seeing people saved as they decided to trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. I have had the privilege of baptizing many. I have had the privilege of officiating weddings, the warm pleasure of dedicating many babies and children to the Lord, the sacred honor of helping many people as they stepped from this world into the next, and of standing with the loved ones of the deceased—you—in their times of deep grief. Indeed, I buried many of the founding generation of the Evangelical Free Church of Clinton, brothers and sisters in Christ upon whose shoulders we stand.
I am so grateful for the privilege of listening to you in one-on-one conversations, and of praying with you and for you.
And now, as we part, I say this: Sue Ann and I love you dearly. We will pray for you; please pray for us. We do not know what God has for us next. We are waiting upon Him.
And I lay this charge upon you: Seek Jesus from your heart. Live and share the good news of Jesus—He, God the Son, died for our sins that we could be forgiven, He was raised to life to give us eternal life, and He ascended to heaven where He is King over all right now. He will return to earth to establish God’s glorious kingdom. Live in faith, hope, and love, rooted in this Gospel, God’s truth.
From your heart, seek Jesus in the Bible, and He, by His Holy Spirit, will show you all you need to know and do.
And now, may “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)