October is Pastor Appreciation month and I want to tell you three things I think separate Brother Gearl Spicer, Senior Pastor of One Heart Church in Duluth Georgia, from many other pastors. He fits the platitudes most churchgoers would use to describe their pastor: he’s kind and compassionate and caring and loving, a good friend, easy to talk with, personal, et al.
But three things about Brother Gearl, we call him B.G., distinguish his ministry, in my view.
First, Brother Gearl preaches right from the Bible. He carries it with him, he opens it, reads from it and illuminates the Scriptures with the word God has given him for the week. He doesn’t read from notes. We don’t even have a pulpit. We have a stage up front and B.G. roams the stage sharing his passion for the message God lays on his heart. He uses fresh, timely illustrations from his personal life and the lives of those in our church family. He’s apt to use an incident that happened that morning or the night before to drive home a principle from his message. All the illustrations and stories lead him straight back to God’s Word.
The second thing that distinguishes B.G. from the crowd is the freshness of his messages. He has been my pastor for ten years and I’ve never heard him preach the same message twice. All his messages and series result from praying and reading and meditating on Scripture and asking God to reveal His heart to B.G. You won’t get a sermon in a can from B.G. Or you won’t hear a message you heard last month or last year. The messages are straight from B.G.’s relationship and communion with God and they’re new every week.
But one of the things I love most about B.G. is his transparency and candor. And I honestly believe the transparency and candor set him apart from most pastors. When B.G. preaches he preaches from his own experience. He has been through the fire. More than a time or two. He can preach from the heart because when he talks about faith or discouragement or obedience or God’s love or a myriad of other places God is at work, it’s because he’s been there.
Not only has he been there, he’s transparent about where the Lord has lead him on his journey. He candidly shares his hurts, his defeats, his battles, his victories, his passions, his family and his faith in God to direct him in a life of submission and obedient faith.
And as a bonus, he has a great sense of humor as well.
Brother Gearl has been a genuine blessing, pastor, mentor, counselor, friend and Shepherd to Marie and me for ten years, for the past six at One Heart Church. God has richly blessed us with his leadership and friendship. We look forward to many more wonderful, rewarding years in his flock.
Thank you, Brother Gearl. We love you.