Dear brothers and sisters,
We are in a historical time for our church. And by historical time, I mean a good historical time. Thank God for it!
In February we had the first ordination of 2 men for the office of elder. These men have been raised up and trained within our church and now are taking a step further in their life and public ministry.
With great joy and thanks to God, I am happy to introduce to you Massimo Valente and Marcello Antonino as new elders of Sola Grazia Church.
Massimo joined the church about 5 years ago, coming from a Pentecostal background. Marcello comes from a more conservative background, from a church 40 miles south Mantua. Both of them have been very eager to listen to the Gospel, doctrines, and walk alongside me. They have been sponges every time they heard the preaching of the Word and with a lot of questions.
I still remember Marcello, one Sunday afternoon, after just 2 months attending the church, phoning me and saying: ” Andrea, I need to talk with you. Could we go for a walk?.” I thought he wanted to leave the church. But surprisingly Marcello was telling me that he was surprised to hear that kind of preaching for the first time in his life. The Lord was working in his life. He started to ask me a lot of questions and why he has never heard something so deep. He expressed serious regret realizing he had gone so far in his life and without sound doctrine. I was pleasantly surprised by this man, recognizing these types of conversations don’t happen often. Finally, Marcello said: “I need to learn theology, could you please teach it to me?” From this point, we started a Systematic Theology class with other men of other churches who joined us from another town as well.
In addition, I have had the privilege to meet with Marcello and Massimo for the last 2 years studying the Christian ministry and praying for the Lord’s help. Much of this happened during the time of pandemic and lockdown, which in many ways gave more time for study and prayer with these men.
I must admit that investing time and resources for new men in leadership has been the best thing I could do in my 28 years of full-time ministry. I must also say that I loved it and I pray that the Lord may give us other men I can help to enter in the ministry or serve in some other ways. It has been a blessing for me and a great encouragement to see how the Lord brings new people on my paths that I was not searching. I do not have to be clever or inventive in raising up elders and pastors. I simply trust God to do the work and bring the right people to my attention.
We are all thankful for God’s provisions and goodness to us.
Please pray for Massimo and Marcello, for unity, love and humility in serving together for the glory of God.
Pray also for the church body, that they may be served and loved as Christ loves the church in a perfect way.