On Friday morning of the conference, attendees honored John and Daria Greening and bade them a fond farewell. Although the Lord surely has many years of fruitful ministry still in store for them, it will no longer be in the capacity of GARBC national representative. This signals the end of an era. John Greening served the GARBC for 22 years—longer than any other national representative in the association’s history. While we are expectantly and confidently looking forward to the future under Mike Hess’s capable leadership, it is nonetheless with mixed emotions that we see the Greenings ride off into the sunset.
After the conferees viewed a video montage reflecting on and celebrating the Greenings’ many years of service, council of eighteen chairman David Strope presented them with gifts and read the following tribute:
It has been my joy to know John and Daria—at first from a distance. When I first heard the echoes of his presence, he had graduated from what was then Baptist Bible College (now Clarks Summit University), and the echoes of his escapades still reverberated around Jackson Hall. He was known then as a bit of a cut-up, and we are thankful that he grew in maturity and dignity. [Laughter.] I watched them from afar in their various pastoral ministries—in Iowa, Washington, and Ohio—and God really used him and Daria in their places of service. It’s always a good thing when we pastors hit our rhythm, or what I call “finding our sweet spot of ministry,” where we can be most productive and useful for Christ. My personal evaluation is that while he was really fruitful and effective in pastoral ministry, the “sweet spot” for John was as our national representative, serving our fellowship for these 22 years. John has led our fellowship with excellence as a preacher, administrator, writer, encourager, counselor, boss, and friend to so many. Daria has very capably served at John’s side, serving as his key administrative assistant, co-writer, and hostess extraordinaire. They modeled for the resource center staff and for all of us what a ministry couple can and should be according to their giftedness and godliness, and according to the sovereign placement of God in the place of ministry. The issues, as you know, have come and gone through the course of our history as a fellowship. [There have been] countless letter and emails—some positive and commending, and others, let’s just say, not quite so commending. He has led our fellowship out of the “snail mail” era into the era of online workshops, GoToMeeting, and finding creative ways to encourage and help us each understand that “together we can accomplish more.” He is a visionary. He is a doer of extraordinary proportions. Moss never grows on the rolling stone of his life or ministry. In the years that I’ve served on the council of eighteen, my appreciation and love for John and Daria have grown and deepened. I’ve seen their love for the churches and their love for each of the pastors and their wives. I’ve noted his ability to take a punch and bounce back with resilience and grace. While the #MeToo movement is so prevalent across America today exposing news scandals in pop culture as well as in pulpits all across America, John and Daria have exemplified godliness, integrity, and spiritual balance, first as husband and wife, and then in their respective ministries. While some may not agree with every decision that’s been made, argument could not be made regarding their love for Christ, their love for the fellowship, their love for each other and their family, and their love for our churches. They exemplify both personal faithfulness and family faithfulness to Christ. In a day when a call of God on a man’s life seems just momentary or even fleeting, John and Daria have fulfilled the calling received from God. Although John and Daria will continue in ministry in various forms in the coming days, it is a joy to see them finish their course—their formal course—and know that they have manifested exemplary godliness, love for Christ, and faithfulness.