“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’ ” Isaiah 52:7
Yesterday was a pretty important anniversary for our church family. 10 years ago yesterday God brought a young man to FBC in Abbeville. And I do mean young!! He came from Birmingham to take on the reigns of the youth ministry for our church. The thing that struck me the most about this young man that day is the same thing that strikes me every every time I see him—that contagious smile. He and his beautiful wife Mandy and their daughters Gracie and Ella moved into our city and into our hearts. He fit in with our youth like a hand in a glove. They loved him! He was full of new ideas and lots of fun but most important he was full of the love of Jesus. He was smart and creative and deeply in love with the Lord. He and Brother Mike were quite the team. Later he also assumed the role of worship leader and brought that contagious smile and enthusiasm to that role as well.
Suddenly, in 2013, overnight, everything at FBC Abbeville changed. Mike Whitt went home to be with Jesus. We were all dazed and heartbroken and feeling lost. Our strong and capable leader who had shepherded us so well had slipped into eternity.
You know what that young youth minister did? He stepped up to the plate. He took the reigns and moved us through those difficult days. He had learned well from his mentor Mike and it showed. That very young Youth Pastor moved into the Senior Pastor role and he has filled it well.
For me, as a VERY senior (Baby Boomer) church member I can truthfully say there is no generation gap. I can talk as easily to this young man as to anyone my own age. I found him to be open, honest, and authentic. Since coming on board at FBC he and Mandy have added two more precious little girls, Lillie and Maddie, to their family-and to ours. They are the total package! Loving, smiling, ministering spirits all. I am so thankful God brought them into our lives.
And by the way, he is technology incredible and my go to for all questions having to do with computers, iPads, iPhones, websites… you get the picture.
So, Happy Tenth Anniversary Ryan Johnson. I hope I am here to celebrate your 20th!!