In September Pastor Ernie Gilbert announced that he would be stepping down from his role as a pastor of Living Water Fellowship. His last Sunday as a pastor at LWF was on October 9th. The fellowship prayed with the Gilbert family as they step into this new season in their lives.
In 2013, Pastors Ernie Gilbert and Joseph Graber were sent out by the pastors of Living Water Fellowship of Bulverde, Texas: Richard “Little Bear” Wheeler, Al Mendenhall, Doug Swanson, and Philip Telfer to plant an elder led, family integrated, Spirit filled church in the Denver, Colorado area. The past three years have been times of blessing and growth attended by the usual struggles of a church plant.
Now that Pastor Ernie has stepped down, Pastor Joseph will continue as the sole pastor while we prayerfully consider the future. We are committed to a plurality in leadership and will seek God’s heart how to restore multiple eldership to Living Water Fellowship.
We praise God for His faithfulness these past three years!
Following is the letter from Pastor Ernie that he sent to the Fellowship after he made the announcement:
Dear Living Water Family,
As I stated last Sunday, I am stepping down from the leadership of LWF Denver. I am staying on a month leading up until the time I go to Israel. After that we will not be in leadership here anymore.
It is clear to me that I have too many irons in the fire. I am leaving because I am too busy to do anything really well right now. This decision was hard to make but we know this is the right one. Julie and I and the kids are of one accord in this and that is important.
Since I have told Joseph and Stacie, we have had unity and cooperation. They aim to help me leave with honor and leave the door open for our possible return later down the road if the Lord so leads us back. I love that heart and attitude and I believe it really reflects the heart of Christ as well as the Living Water Fellowship heart of preferring one another!
I do thank you, the church, for everything you all have done for us and I look gratefully on all that we have been through in these past 3 years. We thank each one of you for the love you have poured out upon us since we started this journey almost exactly 3 years ago. Words cannot express our gratitude and love for each of you! Please know we will stay as much a part of your lives as we can.
I ask for your prayers as we now go on to the next chapter and that I can lead my family better through this next season of life. I really look forward to seeing God’s next plan unfold.
God bless you all and thanks for walking this road with us.
I love you all,
Here is the letter Pastor Joseph sent to the Fellowship:
Let’s honor Pastor Ernie’s request to pray for him and the Gilbert family during this time of transition. We are grateful for all the ways that God has blessed LWF through the ministry of Pastor Ernie and the Gilbert family. Stacie and I have been blessed to walk with Ernie and Julie and their family during this time and really appreciate their friendship. We also stand with them in prayer that in this next season of their life they will sense God’s presence always near and be free to fully relax in Christ and to effectively walk the paths that He leads them down.
Stacie and I sense God’s continuing call and blessing for me to fulfill the role as one of the pastors of Living Water Fellowship. The past three years have been an incredible journey of seeing God at work and getting to know so many of you. We are excited about what God is continuing to do through the families at Living Water Fellowship. We look forward to walking with you into this next season. There will be changes. Some of them will be difficult. But God will always be faithful.
Let’s keep in mind this verse that encapsulates our motto:
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
As a church, some of our core values are marriage and family. Because of this we are able to release Pastor Ernie from his pastoral responsibilities and in brotherly love wish him well as he chooses to set aside more time for his wife and family during this next season. However, it is not my desire to be the sole pastor of Living Water Fellowship. Please join me in praying for direction and provision for our next step. I am grateful for our Deacons, Sam Miller an Bob Chartier. They have been an encouragement to both Pastor Ernie and I. I would appreciate your support as we move forward.
Following I have listed a few ways you can help support this time of transition at LWF:
If you have any questions, please take the time to chat with Pastor Ernie or myself. One of the blessings of the way that we are structured is that even though Pastor Ernie is stepping down from his responsibilities as a pastor, he is welcome to continue in our fellowship for this next season. In an effort to stop gossip we ask that you be quick to bring questions to us to help clear things up.
Sunday, October 9th will be Pastor Ernie’s last day in the role as a pastor of LWF. We will designate that day as a day of remembrance and testimony of what God has done these past three years at LWF.
Thank you for your love and prayers! We love each of you!
– Pastor Joseph