Pastor David Chauncy, Dr. John Sullivan, Pastor Gary Crawford
2You yourselves are our letter, written on our
hearts, recognized and read by everyone.3It is clear that you are Christ’s letter,producedby us,
not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God— not on
stone tabletsbut on tablets that are hearts of flesh.
2 Corinthians 3:2-3
The man on the
right in the picture is Dr. Gary Crawford who has been my pastor at Westside
Baptist for almost 21 years during two phases of our lives here in Gainesville.
The man in the center is Dr. John Sullivan who has been my boss as the
Executive Director – Treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention for the last
20 years. Gary was also my boss for the 8 years that I served on Staff at
Westside Baptist from 1987-1995. The man on the left is Dr. David Chauncey who
is my new pastor at Westside.
Over the last
few weeks I have been at several events to mark the re-deployment of these two
men. Dr. John doesn’t mind the word “retirement” but for some reason Gary doesn’t
want to use it! Probably because he is looking forward to the next season of
ministry and he is a bit younger than Dr. John! There was a chance for people to
submit letters of appreciation to mark their end of their current ministry
assignments for each of these men. I chose not to send it letters to each of
them because I didn’t want mine to be one of many. Instead I wanted to let them
know that just like Paul who didn’t need a letter from the Corinthians or to
them to show his significance, they didn’t need a letter from me to show the
significant impact their lives had on my own.
These two men
have had the most influence on the kind of minister I have become over the
years and thus they have influenced every student that I have worked with as
well. Their influence has produced students who are currently serving in many
positions around the world, some inside the church, some on the mission fields,
and some in the world of “secular” employment. Although there is no such thing
as a secular job when a believer is using that job as a platform for sharing
the love of Jesus every chance they can!
Both of these
men have demonstrated the highest integrity and character for me during trying
times as leaders. They have remained steadfastly committed to the truth of the
Bible. They have loved their families well and loved mine equally well. They
have set the bar very high for me in my desire to serve the Lord with skillful
hands and a gentle heart in the place where the Lord has me until He calls me
somewhere else. They are both men who have a passion for loving Pastors of our
local churches. They are both heroes of the faith to me and to many others!
They have laughed with me, cried with me, comforted me, counseled me, and
corrected me when needed. They have provided me a safe and secure place from
which to utilize my gifts in service to the Lord for almost 30 years!
No they need
no letter of recommendation from me, for their letter of recommendation
continues to be read daily by those who see me and those who see the students
that I have been fortunate enough to influence for the Kingdom of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ. We are their letters!
Thank you Dr.
John and GC for allowing the Lord to use you to mold and shape me into the man
I am today! I hope that you are proud of the letter you have written to the
world through my life. The process hasn’t been easy. The parchment and the writers
not perfect. But I can’t imagine that my life without your influence would have
been any better than it is today with it. Thank you for modeling how to finish
well or in Gary’s case to transition well!
He is the Baptist Collegiate Ministries director at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Home of the Gators and the Santa Fe College Saints. He's been leading college students for over 25 years and working with some of the best athletes in the world during those days. He has served as the chaplain for the UF Softball and baseball teams as well as getting to work with the media on football game days. He is married to Lica and they have a son Kevin who has a PhD from UF, a daughter-in-law Kailey who is a nurse practitioner, and a daughter Jaclyn who is a recent graduate of UF studying Psychology and currently pursuing her master's degree in counseling. He has three degrees after high school including a doctoral degree, but hates to be called doctor. He knows a lot of people, some of whom are even famous. He is known as "G" to his grandson Caleb and newest grandson Matthew. Let the spoiling continue!