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On Thursday evening, the Council of Eighteen and outgoing national representative John Greening formally dedicated incoming national representative Mike Hess and his wife, Christina, to their new ministry position. “My earnest prayer,” said council chairman David Strope, “is that we could model a gracious, smooth hand-off of the baton from one leader to the next so that there can be a continuation of momentum. And we won’t lose anything in the process of moving from one leader to another leader.”

As Mike and Christina took their place on the platform, the council members and John and Daria Greening surrounded them and joined Strope in praying for the Hesses and their ministry in this new capacity.

“Heavenly Father,” Strope prayed, “we are so grateful today. Our hearts are filled with thankfulness. We are so thankful for the faithful, fruitful ministry that John and Daria have manifested. And we are very thankful for the way You superintended over the events of our fellowship to bring Mike and Christina into this role. As our leader, we want to give Mike due respect. We want to place at his disposal everything that he needs to be able to do his work effectively for Christ’s sake. I pray for Christina as she makes a transition from a pastor’s wife into a very unique role. Father, we pray, even as we’ve seen through the day, there’s such a great need for healthy churches, for encouraged pastors, for effective mentoring between the generations, for the revitalization of churches that are struggling. God, we pray for a renewed vision. We pray for grace to be given, that momentary provision of the Spirit of God to address every need that Mike and Christina have and that they will have. We dedicate them to their ministry as our next national representative and his wife. We do that with thanks. We do that with every confidence that You will be faithful, not only in Your calling but also in Your provision. It is with joy and rejoicing that we pray together, here, this evening. And so, with great thankfulness we bow our knees together before You with great delight, with hearts overflowing with joy. We do this together as a family of believers within the fellowship of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, and we give thanks. We do this in the wonderful name of Jesus our Savior. Amen.”