To celebrate 12 years of service from the Showalter family, we said thanks and farewell, not with a whisper… but with a beat. Setting up the charged atmosphere for the afternoon was a dramatic performance on Chinese drums by a team of ladies and the powerful ministry of the worship team. Both services and members past and present joined together to commemorate the years of service Pastor Nate and his family have committed to the establishment and growth of Abundant Grace and the community. In honour of this very special occasion, church members dressed in traditional Chinese clothes or the native clothes of their home country. It was an incredible picture – an assortment of colours and shapes reflecting the very diverse and yet unified heart of the Kingdom.
To give us a glimpse of the past, Jon Brantingham, Timothy Merill, Jackie Adams, and Eric Chen spoke about their personal journeys with the Showalters. Jon spoke about Pastor Nate’s involvement in the Community Centre and his spiritual leadership. He expressed that Pastor Nate has “built a foundation we can build upon”. On behalf of the Trinity congregation, Pastor Merill spoke blessings over the family and declared Phil.1:6. Jackie Adams highlighted “Mama Chris”. She noted how Chris was “the kind of person I know I’m going to see again”. She detailed Chris’ heart to mentor others as well as her dignity and kindness – exemplifying a clear picture of the Proverbs 31 woman. Recalling Psalms 1, Eric spoke about “Good fruit”, gazed upon the congregation and declared: “I see good fruit here”. Additionally Pastor Hu, the Senior Pastor of Hong En Tong, shared how she was impressed by Pastor Nate’s sincerity and love for God.
Finally, the bittersweet time came for Pastor Nate to give his final sermon as Senior Pastor of Abundant Grace International Fellowship. As he began years ago in his 1st sermon, he declared that “We are no longer expats” Eph.2:19. He emphasized the fact that “God is using each of us” moreover “we are the church, not a building”. Pastor Nate spoke about how God tears down the walls between: Baptist and Pentecostal, high and low class, more or less educated, male and female, and Catholic and Protestant. His core message centered on the point that we are Global Disciples and as such we are: Jesus’ Disciples, Disciple Makers, Spirit-Filled, Kingdom Citizens, and Visionary. Surprising everyone, Pastor Nate concluded his message by picking up a guitar and leading the entire congregation in an old Hebrew song “Shalom”.
The applause was endless and dove tailed into even higher proportions as the congregation came into agreement with the prayers offered by the elders and pastors over this faithful family. As we transitioned back into worship, there was an unmistakable feeling of unity and joy as we sang “Revelation Song” and watched the children flood in waving flags of the nations.
We ended the day “Gloriously”, with a glorious song and a glorious amount of pastries, fun, games and many thanks for the Showalter Family.
McKenzie is a part of the Creative Arts Ministry at Abundant Grace. Interested to get involved?