July 6, 2012 by
In recent years, God has faithfully made us aware of ways we can grow as a family of churches. We’re grateful for God's abundant grace that not only pours out saving mercy but also provides strength and wisdom for the way ahead. And we're grateful that as God grows us, he uses us, continuing to encourage others by his Spirit through the gospel.
Recently, Bob Odom, the senior pastor of Lifegate Church in Seguin, Texas, wote the following letter to be passed on to our family of churches for encouragement. We trust Bob’s words will be, as Proverbs 15:23 says, “a word in season, how good it is,” and will cause us to remember God’s faithfulness to us.
Dear Sovereign Grace Ministries,
I have pastored the same church for over 30 years, having begun in 1981 as an independent church. We searched for many years, longing for a place to “fit” with other like-minded churches. We never found a home until we heard of what is now Sovereign Grace Ministries. We attended conferences and developed relationships whenever possible. We realized through these encounters that being a part of the SGM family of churches would require us to “stretch,” not compromise.
Lifegate was officially adopted in June 2007. We have found a home, a place to be joined with other believers in the most important enterprise on earth—the spread of the Gospel.
I have tried to think and pray through what was and is so appealing about Sovereign Grace. There are many qualities that I could write about—the emphasis on Biblical fellowship, the Reformed/Charismatic emphasis, the noticeable importance of missions and church planting, the Pastors College, various conferences.
But an aspect of SGM that has become increasingly significant to me has been focusing our attention on the Gospel, modeled so well by C.J. Mahaney. Everything else has its place, but love for the gospel of Jesus Christ must be the primary focus of our ministries.
So I am grateful for what SGM is and for what it is not. The strength of SGM is in the area of vision—clearly defining, demonstrating and proclaiming the life-changing Gospel. Within that vision, SGM churches find how we may best put these gospel principles to work. I am, as a pastor, encouraged that our local church must find ways to display and proclaim the message.
From a relative newcomer’s perspective, I am very grateful for all of you who have through the years, maintained the vision and calling that are so distinctive in SGM. We have wonderfully benefited from your sacrifice and example.
We at Lifegate owe a debt of gratitude to the many who have so faithfully and consistently formed SGM into the family that it is. We have found a home among God’s people. The “stretching” has been good for us in more ways than I can count.
Please accept our deepest thanks and sincere gratitude for all Sovereign Grace churches and their pastors, as well as for the SGM leadership team and Board.
Pastor Bob Odom