Lead Pastors Commissioning Ceremony

Jan 30, 2023

We have made it through The Exchange Zone and the baton has officially been passed from Founding Pastors Jeff + Beth Jones to Lead Pastors Eric + Alexa Jones! Yesterday was a beautifully significant day for our church as VFC has transitioned leadership from one generation to the next. God is good, the future is bright, and the best is yet to come! 

Psalm 145:4 (NIV) One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. 

During yesterday’s Commissioning Ceremony, Pastors Jeff + Beth commissioned our new Lead Pastors to the role that God has now placed them in. Pastors Eric + Alexa made vows and commitments to each other and to our church family that will honor God for years and years to come. Pastors Jeff + Beth shared declarations fulfilling their calling as Senior Pastors and transitioned their duties to the next generation of pastors at Valley Family Church. We are so excited for all that God has in store for our church community!

The Vows + Commitments 

As part of the Valley Family Church family, there’s much that we can expect from our new Lead Pastors. Pastors Jeff + Beth extended the charge, and Pastors Eric + Alexa promised to fulfill these duties: 

  • Acknowledge God’s call upon their lives and desire to be formally commissioned to the work of God and installed as Lead Pastors of Valley Family Church. 
  • Thoughtfully and prayerfully consider the duties and responsibilities, the dedications of labor imposed, and the sacrifices they may be called upon to make as ministers of the gospel and as lead pastors. 
  • Feel led to become ministers of the gospel and lead pastors of Valley Family Church by no worldly ambition, but solely by their love for fellow man, love for God, and their desire to glorify Him. 
  • Solemnly promise that to the utmost extent of their ability and by God’s grace to faithfully perform the duties of ministers of the gospel and as lead pastors of Valley Family Church by both word and deed, and live a life worthy of the Lord, directed by His word, and led by His Holy Spirit, and extend the love of Christ to all men and women, and preach the word faithfully to reach people and make disciples for Christ.
  • (Pastor Eric) Believe and take the words to heart from 1 Timothy 4:12-16 (NKJV)  that God spoke to his heart many years ago: Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
  • (Pastor Alexa) Believe and take to heart the words from 2 Timothy 1:12 (NKJV) And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry. 

The Charges

Founding Pastors Jeff + Beth gave the new Lead Pastors a number of scripturally-backed charges during the Commissioning Ceremony as Pastors Eric + Alexa officially step into their new roles. They were instructed to remember and live by these words from God’s Word: 

  • Jeremiah 3:15 (NKJV) And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.
  • 1 Peter 5:2-4 (NKJV) Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
  • Psalm 78:72 (NKJV) So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.
  • Acts 20:28-31 (NKJV) Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
  • Acts 2:17-18 (NKJV) ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants, I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.
  • Hebrews 13:20-21 (NKJV) Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

The Declarations 

As Founding Pastors Jeff + Beth officially pass the baton to the next generation, they make these declarations to all of us as members of the VFC church family: 

  • (Pastor Jeff) With a clear conscience before God, I now state that I have fulfilled my calling and my duty as a senior pastor of Valley Family Church, according to 2 Timothy 2:2 and 2 Timothy 4:7. With the integrity of my life, I have deposited what I have learned into faithful leaders who are competent to teach congregations the same revelation. I have fought an excellent fight, I have finished my full course. I have kept my heart full of faith. I hereby officially transition from my duties as senior pastor to my role as founding pastor of Valley Family Church.
  • (Pastor Beth) With a clear conscience before God, I now state that I have fulfilled my calling and my duty as a senior pastor of Valley Family Church, according to Romans 10:13-15 and Colossians 1:28-29. I have proclaimed the gospel and taught the Bible so that all could hear, believe, and call upon the Lord. I’ve preached Christ, warning people not to add to the message. I endeavored to teach in a spirit of profound common sense, so that I could bring each person to maturity because to be mature is to be basic. That’s what I’ve worked so hard at day after day, year after year. Doing my best with the energy that God so generously gives me. I’ve laid a good foundation and now another builds upon it. I hereby officially transition from my duties as senior pastor to my role as a founding pastor of Valley Family Church.

The Commissioning 

Pastors Jeff + Beth to Pastors Eric + Alexa: 

“As the Founding Senior Pastors of Valley Family Church, we, along with our board of directors and executive pastors, have prayerfully considered and closely examined your qualifications of Biblical office to pastor. As your parents, we have also witnessed firsthand your genuine love for the Lord and His Church. 

Based upon your vows of commitment to the Lord Jesus, to the gospel, and to His church; based upon your receiving these ministry charges, we, through prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit, have found you both to be worthy ministers of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, who should be officially recognized and commissioned as the Lead Pastors of Valley Family Church this day, by prayer, declaration, and the laying on of hands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

The Letter

Following the official commissioning and transition of roles, Lead Pastors Eric + Alexa Jones shared with our church family a letter they wrote from their hearts to each of ours as members of Valley Family Church for the Commissioning Ceremony:

“Dear Church, 

Today is sure to be a day that we will never forget. Our hearts are filled with overwhelming emotion, love, and faith as we embark on a new adventure together and as we joyfully step into this role as Lead Pastors of Valley Family Church. We feel extremely lucky and extremely blessed to be standing here this morning and it's with a sense of deep and honest holy awe that we stand before our God and we make a heartfelt commitment to pastor this church as two people after God's own heart.

We know that this day is more than a formality, a changing of a baton, or an update to some titles, but before God and our community, it is a day of holy significance as we testify to the strength of the church, the unity of the Holy Spirit, and the power of one generation passing the faith to the next. It's pretty neat to be a part of a day like today and we truly sense the loving smile of a good God on our church family this morning.

We want to take a moment to say some thank you's. First and foremost, we want to thank God for His faithfulness, for His goodness, to us, throughout this journey. Our desire today and every day is that he would get all of the glory and honor as we make this transition and we are deeply dependent on him for all the days ahead. We also want to thank my parents, our Founding Pastors Jeff and Beth for their faithfulness to pioneer and to lead and to break through some walls and to help our church be where it is these past 32 years. We know that full well we stand on the shoulders of giants. And Without you none of us can be here. 

We want to thank our families, both the Jones family and the Wolf family and our close friends who've supported us, loved us throughout our lives and specifically these past two years. We love you all. And finally, we want to thank you, our church family, for embracing and supporting us as we've gone on this journey together. You've trusted God through this transition. You’ve been faithful to pray, you've leaned into what the Lord is doing, and you've been championing the next generation and we love you and we know that God has great plans for our future.

So on that note today, before God and all of us together, we wanted to share five things that we are committing to–both to the Lord and to you, our church family, that we have the privilege of serving and leading. 

Number ONE: we commit to loving Jesus more than anything and to staying true to his word. We commit to keeping Jesus at the center of our lives and of this church. We commit to keeping him as our first love, to remaining attached to the vine, and to leading from a place of connection and intimacy with Christ that overflows into the life of our church. We commit to staying true to God's word and to walking a narrow road of truth and grace. We commit to upholding the unchanging truth of Scripture in an ever changing culture. And we'll do our very best to be pastors who love God wholeheartedly, with all of our minds, all of our strength and all of our soul.

Number TWO: we commit to building a healthy marriage and family. We will protect our marriage and our family and we will pour into it regularly because we know that a healthy marriage and a healthy family is vital to building a healthy church and a healthy church family. We commit to raising our children up in the way of Christ and helping them to know Jesus not just by what they hear from the platform, but by how they see us live out our everyday, ordinary, very imperfect lives. We promise to not be perfect, but to walk with character and integrity as we continually fix our eyes on the only one who is perfect, Jesus.

Number THREE: we commit to leading with joy on the journey. We promise to continue to laugh, to not take ourselves too seriously, and to enjoy the adventure of ministry that God has for us in our church. We will lead with vision and with boldness–unafraid to take steps of faith as the Lord leads us to. We will continue to follow him as he builds and expands his church, believing for the impossible and pushing us into new places and uncharted territory, just like our founding pastors have done for the past 32 years. We are not here to settle. We're here to take ground for the kingdom of God and we're here to do it together with all of you, with deep joy throughout this whole journey.

Number FOUR: We commit to getting wisdom and understanding from those who are further along in life and ministry than us. We are humbly aware that we are young, and we promise to continually seek out wisdom and spiritual accountability from those who have walked the road of ministry that we're embarking on. We will meet regularly with our founding pastors to receive their wisdom from the past three decades of ministry. We will seek out mentors and ministry friendships with those who are years ahead of us and can help along with the Holy Spirit to guide us into the seasons to come. The truth is we can't pretend to be older or more experienced than we are. So we commit to being ourselves, to being strong and courageous, to giving everything we have, to surrounding ourselves with people who have great wisdom, understanding, and experience who helped us grow into the pastures that God has called us to be and help our church become all she's meant to be.

Number FIVE: We commit to living your lifestyle and sacrificial service to the Lord and to all of you–to our church. We know that in God's kingdom, the leaders of all are the servants of all. So right now we commit to serving you, to serving our staff and our team, to serving our city and any other city that God calls us to. From pastoral care calls to hospital visits to funerals to spiritual guidance, meeting to celebrate with those who are celebrating and mourning with those who are mourning, walking with you in the valleys and the mountaintops of life. We commit to giving our time and our energy and laying down our lives to serve like Jesus. We are fully aware that this call from God is a call towards service, and we will do our best to follow the example of our great shepherd who didn't come to be served, but to be the servant of all.

So church, you have our hearts. We're committed to being your lead pastors, pouring our lives out to help you and your families thrive in God, to walk with you in the valleys the mountaintops, to love and serve God with all of you, as we continue as a church family to give ourselves away to build a church where people can find the hope and love of Jesus. Our hearts are so stirred for all that God has in store for us–collectively together–for our city, for Southwest Michigan, for the world around us. We're full of passion to reach people with the unchanging message of Jesus.

We truly believe that we will see revival in our day, in our generation. We believe that the church is alive and that the hope of Jesus is alive and that our best days are still ahead of us. We've been saying for quite some time that the best is yet to come. It's not just language for the wall–it’s a faith declaration of our hearts. I believe that for our church, for our families, for our callings, for all God has for every one of us in this church, that our best days are still to come and we couldn't today be more grateful or excited to accept the joyful responsibility of officially becoming your new Lead Pastors church we love you. We commit to being your pastors. Amen.

The Blessing

Father, we love You. Lord, what a privilege it is today again, to be gathered in your house. To be people that wear your name, to be those who are a part of the great redeemed, those who have found the hope in life in Jesus. Today, on this special day, January 29, Lord, we lift up our church, we lift up our city, our state, our nation, our world. We declare that your kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven, that your will will be done, Lord, in us. Father, we ask you for a new anointing on this house. Lord, we ask You for the souls that are yet to be saved in this city. Father, we ask you in Jesus name for a new releasing of your glory and of your power, and for the miraculous Hand of God to be at work in our midst. We declare and we decree that our best days as a church are well ahead of us–we surrender and submit to it even now. 

We thank You, Father God, for the countless lives that are going to be touched through your church. We thank you for the families that are going to be raised, for the marriages that are going to find healing, for the lives that are going to be changed, for the bodies that are going to be set free, for the addictions that are going to be broken in the name of Jesus that will be lifted high in this place, in this house, not just today, but every day to come. Today we surrender and we commit and we declare that this church is not our church, but it is your church and you are building it and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, we thank you for revival in our city, for revival in our state, for revival in our nation, for revival in this world, and that every knee will bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. 

We thank you for a new thing you're doing in this place. We dedicate and we declare that from this day forward, in the same way you've been faithful to us then, you will be faithful to us again. And so we step out across the valley that lies before us and we walk into all you have in the future. We love you, we honor you, Jesus, may you be glorified. And it's in your name that we pray, Amen!


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