October is historically celebrated as National Pastor Appreciation Month. Grace Baptist Church , located at 15297 Hwy. 1 in Cloutierville, Louisiana had many reasons to celebrate Pastor Ralph Johnson’s three years of service to the church. Johnson became the Interim Pastor during a time that was critical to the existence of the church. They had just lost their beloved shepherd unexpectantly, long time pastor, Timothy White. While they were bound together by their common love of the church and grief, the Lord soon had plans to make beauty out their ashes.
On a whim, Ralph Johnson stopped by the church one day just to say hello. One thing lead to another, the Lord got involved and it turned into a three-year interim pastor ship at Grace.
Brother Ralph Johnson’s last official sermon to the church was appropriately called, “New Beginnings.” During the sermon he talked about his love of sunrises and sunsets and specifically how one cannot exist without the other. Everything has a beginning and an end. He taught from Acts 20:17-32 where Paul was addressing the elders in Ephesus.
He went on to say, “You are very dear to me, I love you and appreciate you. There was a mutual need that God filled during my time here. We have grown together and our church family serve rate at Grace Baptist Church is greater than any church I know.”
He also urged the church to look back, but not to go back, but to learn from the past because God has great things in store for Grace Baptist Church. He encouraged the church to spend time in the word, share the gospel, protect the flock, go deep with God, and put on the full armor of God. He also cautioned the congregation to guard themselves against carelessness, shallowness, covetousness, laziness and selfishness.
Three years ago to the very day of his sermon he was called to lead the small congregation of Grace Baptist Church. Under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and the loving nature of the Grace family church members, they are no longer a “small congregation.” They are almost busting at the seams, as some would say, but they still have room for more. Brother Ralph and Mrs. Joy’s parting words to the flock let them to know that they will always be in the fabric of their lives.
Pastor Ralph and First Lady, Joy Johnson were presented with an appreciation gift by Grace newly installed interim Pastor Greg Dunn and the Grace family congregation. A special jambalaya fellowship dinner (and all of the fixings) was held on the grounds after the service.
Grace Baptist Church was founded in 2006 by a small group of members and continues to grow by faithful leaps and joyful bounds. They serve the community with humble love and outreach. All are welcome to attend their weekly services that are held Sunday mornings at 11 am and Wednesday nights at 7 pm. Life group classes are held Monday night at 6 pm. Sunday services are also broadcast live, go to Facebook search Grace Baptist Church Cloutierville. You can also email the church at firstname.lastname@example.org