David Strader, Eldership Candidate
Over the next several months, we will share words from each of our elder candidates. Our hope is for you to connect with them and get to know them better to help us better assess their readiness to lead as pastors in the church. Here are some encouraging words from David Strader...
Galatians 2:20 says I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Having spent the majority of my teenage years with an agnostic/atheist worldview and not becoming a follower of Christ until I was 19, Gal 2:20 rings particularly true in my heart. I have known what it is like to live life without the hope and peace of God in my life. The emptiness, brokenness, and pointlessness of this world is overwhelming without the purpose, reason, and glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ.
I grew up in Indiana and have spent time living in several other cities, but during our time in St. Louis Heather and I were seeking opportunities to become international marketplace missionaries. Our hearts desired to serve the Lord internationally through the careers God had gifted us with. God had other plans for the next season in our life, and instead God moved us to Greenville in 2014 to help Todd plant what would become East North Church. He also blessed us with our son Titus that year (who is now three) and we’re excited about the addition of a little girl to our family in May 2018.
During my adolescence, I lived my life according to my own will and desires and I know there is no joy to be found in it. But Jesus pursued me and saved me by grace - not by my good deeds or the merit of my work. My hope and trust I place in Him and I truly believe that the life I now live is not my own. There is joy to be found in living my life for Christ and in pursuing others for His glory and making His name known to the world. Looking back I am certain I have missed out on opportunities God has given me to proclaim His glory, but it does not change my desire to do so or the calling that all followers of Christ have to do this. How humbling it is to be charged with proclaiming the good news that saves and transforms life for eternity.
For reasons unbeknownst to me, God has given me a unique set of gifts which I believe is well suited for supporting the local church and for eldership in particular. These are not ‘my’ gifts, but rather gifts that the Lord has given me to serve Him with and bring Him glory. With or without the formal pursuit of eldership, my life would not look much different since being an elder does not change who you are; it’s simply a recognition of the character you are already displaying and an affirmation of your commitment to care for the church.
Since moving to Greenville, Heather and I have labored alongside Todd to help steward the resources and opportunities God has given to ENC. It has been a joy and pleasure to see ENC grow in its ability to Discover, Demonstrate, and Declare the Gospel in Greenville and we look forward to what the future has to hold! There is no guarantee of tomorrow for any of us, and I can think of no better way to spend my life than bringing glory to God at ENC. I pray that when I stand before the Lord, I hear the words "well done, good and faithful servant."