At Graceland Church we are guarded by our elders, who give direction and leadership to our church family. We are guided by our staff under the leadership of our Lead Pastor, Larry Riley. We are served by our deacons who help with the physical needs of our church family. We are gifted by the body as Jesus works through us.
We, as Graceland Church, are affirming Pastor Ryan Brown and Matt Lowe rotating on to our Elder leadership team. Below are video testimonies from Pastor Ryan Brown and his wife Jenny as well as Matt Lowe and his wife Ashly.
From Pastor Ryan:
Hello Graceland Church. My name is Ryan Brown, and this is my beautiful wife, Jenny. I want to take a moment to give you a brief testimony as we look toward an affirmation of me becoming an Elder here at the church.
Jenny and I have been married for 17 years, and we have two kiddos that are certainly a blessing to us. We have a daughter named Evangeline who is 10 years old, and we have a son named Roman that is 6 years old.
When the Bible talks about the qualifications of being an elder in 1 Timothy 3, Paul says that if anyone aspires to the office of overseer or elder, that he desires a noble task.
I believe that God placed that desire in my heart about 9 years ago. Through my relationship with Jenny, through the sanctification process in my local church, and through God’s prompting, I believed he called me to be a Pastor. Since that calling, and with great support from Jenny, I enrolled at Southern Seminary and began full-time vocational ministry here at Graceland as a Student Ministries Pastor.
Among the many qualifications that are required of an Elder, I’d like to touch on two that really resonate with me. The first is that an Elder must be able to teach.
Having taken a Spiritual gifts assessment many times, and having received affirmation from mentors and peers, I believe that God has gifted me in this area. 1 Timothy 4:16 says this: ‘Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.’
From the pulpit to my living room at home with my children, and from leading our congregation in worship through music to leading a small group, I strive to heed this imperative from the Apostle Paul. I consider it a privilege and an honor to teach the Word of God.
A 2nd qualification of an Elder that I will address is the that he must be self-controlled.
While I am certainly not perfect in this area (nor an area regarding these qualifications), I believe that God has seen fit to give me heart for discipline. I strive to remain in God’s Word, to abide in Jesus Christ, and to walk in step with the Spirit.
I pray that my love for Jesus, my love for my family, my love for our church family, and my love for lost people would only grow as I seek to humbly lead and serve our body of faith.
I am so grateful to have been able to serve as a Pastor in many ministries over these past 8 years. Our family has been blessed by countless relationships, and we are grateful to link arms with you to see the name of Jesus be made known.
With that said, we believe that God is doing a brand-new thing at Graceland, and we look forward with great expectation to how He will draw people into relationship with Jesus through our church. We are praying for the Spirit of God to bring revival in our region, and we pray that God will do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine
From Matt Lowe:
Hello Graceland Church. My name is Matt Lowe, and this is Ashly, my high-school sweetheart and loving wife. We are thankful for the opportunity to speak to you today.
Ashly and I will have been married for 25 years this February and have been members at Graceland since 2009 where we’ve been loved and have established some of our closest friendships. We also want to tell you that we’ve been blessed with five kids – Grace who is 23…Faith, who is married to Kyle Sanders, turns 21 later this month…Anna is 19, Rachel 17 and Matthew is 15. We are so appreciative for everyone that has loved and continues to support our kids.
With a church this size, I know many of us haven’t met. So, I want to share a little of who I am and why I aspire the role of Elder in our church.
I was raised in the church by loving, Bible-believing Christian parents (George and Linda Lowe), and when I was 11 years old the Holy Spirit revealed to me that Jesus Christ is both my Lord and Savior. I professed this belief and followed with baptism. I knew I needed Jesus, and I know the Spirit moved me that day from death to life.
Regarding eldership qualifications given in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, they are very clear and important. Graceland is God’s church, and as Acts 20:28 reminds us, we are to care for the church, “which he obtained with his own blood.” I take seriously the need to be above reproach, hospitable, gentle. I fully understand the responsibility of leading my household, being self-controlled, not a drunkard, not violent nor a lover of money. And I genuinely cherish every opportunity to teach God’s Word. I’m not perfect, far from it, and will always pray to grow closer to Christ in all things.
Please know I aspire to this role so I may be used by God to humbly shepherd His church. I see all brothers and sisters in Christ as children of God who have infinite worth as adopted heirs. Moreover, we must have a passion for the lost, knowing Jesus Christ died and was raised for every nation, tribe and language. The other reason I aspire to serve is to relentlessly guard the church. This is first and primarily through ensuring Graceland remains a church committed to and guided by Scripture. When referring to elders, Titus 1 states, “he must hold firm to the trustworthy word” and “give instruction in sound doctrine.”
We love you Graceland Church. We believe the Lord “has used”, “is using” and “will continue to use” Graceland. Since first asked to consider this position, Ashly and I have prayed about the decision to move forward with him being affirmed. We are excited for what the future holds. We are so thankful for the friendships and love you have poured out on us.
I’ll close by asking for your prayers. This is extremely humbling and heavy to consider, but I’m truly looking forward to seeing how God will use His church. I pray to be faithful and obedient to this call and know it’s only by God’s will. I will always pray we transform lives through Jesus Christ and bring glory to His name