Dear Ridgeview Bible Church Family,
As servants of Christ, we are identified as those who are sorrowful, yet always rejoicing (1 Cor 6:10). Paul shared those words to the Corinthian church as a means of commending and identifying himself as a servant of God.
Why sorrowful? Paul knew by experience that a life for Christ, from our limited perspective, will be met by the unexpected, the unknown, and the unfinished. We engage in work without seeing over the horizon, unable to see the fruit of our labors. We see within ourselves and others the remnants that make us ask God to renew us again and again. Finally, most closely to our hearts and minds, things in this life begin and inevitably will come to an end, until Jesus brings about our eternal rest. Life begins and ends. Work begins and ends. For Mike and Maya, their ministry in Chadron began and is coming to an end.
We are sorrowful about this. We love Mike and Maya very much. We praise God for His wonderful work in and through them. Mike has presented the Word of God to us faithfully and tirelessly. He has modeled godly leadership. He has wept with us and for us. Maya has ministered to our church. She has cared for and counseled many. She has modeled the virtuous wife and should be praised. Their children are dear to us and have been a joy to this church. These people are our friends. When friends leave, we cry; we are sorrowful.
Yet, we are always rejoicing. We love the fact that Paul does not say ‘always’ sorrowful while he does say that we should be, “always rejoicing.” Even in moments of sorrow, they are only temporary in Jesus. Moments of sorrow, in Jesus, lead to joy. They cannot but lead to joy when His presence contains fullness of joy (Ps 16:11). We rejoice that God’s Word is not bound. We rejoice at the work God has done in the Johnsons and in this church and the work He will do. We rejoice that, though we will miss this family very much, we will never lose our savior Jesus Christ as long as He holds us to remain Him. This is the blessing of the household of faith. The Church’s Head, in Chadron, in Sioux Falls, and in Sri Lanka, is seated at God’s right hand. So, we are always rejoicing.
We are desperate for God to provide wisdom and insight as we seek a senior pastor to help point the church to our true Head. Please pray for us, pray for this church, pray for the search committee, and pray for the Johnsons as they transition.
As a closing challenge, we encourage you to remember that Mike will be our pastor into August, as the Lord wills. We encourage you to treat him and his family as brothers and sisters in Christ, as members of this church, and until his service ends, we encourage you to treat Pastor Mike as one of our elders.
The Elders of Ridgeview Bible Church
John Dockweiler, Burt Newman, Sam Parker, and Cole Wyatt