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Sent, But Not Forgotten

An Update on the Gilchers

Sent, But Not Forgotten
The Gilcher family (L-R: Hailey, Jerod, Maisy, Sarah, and Maddie) celebrate Jerod’s graduation with a doctoral degree in Old Testament from Gateway Seminary in May.
“When I was a new believer, I looked at the pastoral staff at Faith Bible Church and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be a dream to be one of those pastors?’”
– Jerod Gilcher

Not only did he get to serve as college pastor at Faith for seven years, but now, Jerod Gilcher and his wife, Sarah, feel the significance of being sent to Texas to be an extension of Faith Bible Church’s ministry. They are grateful to stand on the shoulders of those who trained them well so they could start another “Faith” in the spiritual desert of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Jerod first came to Faith Bible Church in 1999, which is when he got saved. Sarah, whose parents are Walt and Pam Takisaki, grew up at Faith. Jerod and Sarah married in 2004. They moved to Los Angeles in 2006 so Jerod could attend The Master’s Seminary, and then he served as youth pastor in Tacoma for a couple years. In 2011, they came back to Faith so Jerod could serve as the college pastor.

On January 1, 2019, they moved with their three daughters to Arlington, Texas, where Jerod took the head pastor position at Christ Community Bible Church.

Cross-cultural adaptation

Being at a small church means Jerod and Sarah have many responsibilities, but they enjoy them. As the head pastor, Jerod does expositional preaching every Sunday, sets the pace for the other elders, teaches equipping classes on Sunday mornings, and leads a small group for young adults during the week, in addition to discipling and training the men to be leaders.

Sarah has helped the church to grow in hospitality as well as children’s ministry. Her main focus, though, is women’s discipleship—teaching women how to love each other through studying God’s Word and prayer. She also brainstorms with Jerod on things he’s working on, and the two of them counsel couples together.

Jerod and Sarah love the big-city feel of “having the world at their fingertips” with large communities of Nigerians, Vietnamese, and the fourth-largest population of Muslims in the United States. However, the transition was a little challenging at first.

“It was a culture shock of moving to a much more metro and diverse area in Dallas-Ft. Worth and trying to figure out how to fit into that culture,” Sarah says.

Many Christians in the area have a shallow understanding of God and his Word, and they want an emotional experience rather than one that is grounded in truth. There is a consumer mentality of people “church-shopping” among the hundreds of churches in the area.

“God works despite us and our limitations.”
– Sarah Gilcher

Jerod says, “More than anything, our trust and confidence in God’s Word has really increased since we’ve been here. We had no choice but to trust in the proclamation of His Word because we weren’t organized, we weren’t innovative, we weren’t creative, we had nothing. It was really freeing.”

Jerod says that while the pastor himself is expendable, what he is proclaiming is indispensable for the Great Commission. He has grown as a pastor by seeing how he can shepherd people through the proclamation of the Word. He’s also learning to be patient with people’s sins and seeing how he can shepherd them like Christ into growth.

Sarah says they have to trust in the power of God’s Word to counsel hearts since they can’t get to everyone individually. When they continually feed people with the Word of God, they can trust the Holy Spirit will do the work in their hearts. And she says it’s been sweet to see that growth in the three years that they’ve been there, watching people build redemptive relationships with each other based on the Word and good works.

“God works despite us and our limitations,” she says.

Out of training school

Both Jerod and Sarah say Faith gave them much to prepare them for this ministry. “Seminaries don’t make pastors; local churches make pastors,” Jerod says.

Faith Bible Church taught both of them the primacy and value of the local church, something that is not emphasized where they are now. It also gave them the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of ministry—it was a “training school” for ministry, although they didn’t necessarily know it at the time.

Sarah says it would have been really hard to step into this church without having seen godly leaders at Faith shepherd the church through both mistakes and victories over the years.
Long-term, Jerod says, their church has a vision of expansion similar to Faith’s. They have a 20-year plan to see a reformation movement happen in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. This is split up into four parts:

  1. Internal growth (their own church needs to know how to be a strong church)
  2. Regional impact (start planting other churches in their area)
  3. National impact (sending out and multiplying churches in other states)
  4. Global impact (do the same thing in other countries)

Currently Jerod is preaching through Isaiah, and he’s not planning to stop until he’s done with all 66 chapters. An emerging theme has been God’s sovereignty over situations as bleak as warring nations and corrupt politics.

“What people need in dismal times is a stunning vision of a sovereign God with an unstoppable purpose in the universe,” Jerod says. “Prophecy is God’s loving collateral to us free us to live our lives with reckless abandon, knowing that no matter what we have to suffer for the sake of Christ, the ending of the plan remains profoundly unchanged. Books like Isaiah give the saints great courage to persevere in bleak times.”

What does the Gilcher family like to do for fun? Read! They also enjoy Texas woodsy hikes, going to the zoo and museums, and road-tripping to the white sandy beaches of Florida.

Jerod likes to learn new languages, so he’s currently working on Syriac. He’s also teaching their three daughters—Hailey, Maddie, and Maisy— in Greek. The girls also rescued some ducks, which they’re raising in their backyard. Sarah has really enjoyed learning to homeschool Maddie and Maisy – and giving herself a classical education while she’s at it.

The Gilchers miss Faith, but they love Texas and their church, which has been a huge encouragement to them. They are grateful for everyone at Faith who has invested in them over the years, and they pray to continue this investment in many more lives in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

This is the second story in Sent, But Not Forgotten, a series of updates about families sent out for full-time ministry from training at Faith Bible Church. Read the last installment on Corey Millican’s family here.

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