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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

These Two Pastors Served Their Church for Nearly 20 Years. Now They’ve Stepped Down to Serve on the Mission Field

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These Two Pastors Served Their Church for Nearly 20 Years. Now They’ve Stepped Down to Serve on the Mission Field.

by James Coulter

Pastors Frank and Sheri Hawley have served at Garden Grove Church in Winter Haven for nearly 20 years. Now this couple is stepping down from their roles as pastors to go into the world and preach the good news in Europe and Asia.

Photo by Sheri Hawley

The two pastors officially stepped down from their roles as pastors in February. Their son-in-law, John Schreck, who previously served as the youth pastor, will now serve as the church’s head pastor. John will be serving alongside his wife, Joy, who is also the daughter of Pastors Frank and Sheri Hawley.

Pastors Frank and Sheri now plan on traveling to churches in Europe and Asia. They will be taking up the roles as pastors while the missionaries who planted those churches return home to America for brief reprieves.

The couple decided to step down from their positions and embark on this new “season” of their life and ministry after finally paying off the mortgages to their church, allowing them to leave it “debt-free” in the hands of the new pastor.

Pastor Frank received the call to ministry ever since he became a Christian in high school. He attended Southeastern University in Lakeland, where he prayed to God about his future family. Afterward, he met Sheri, and the two of them became a couple and eventually married.

Pastor Sheri was inspired to enter the ministry after taking up a position as a Sunday school teacher at her father’s church. She loved teaching so much that she decided to go to college to pursue an educational degree. She later became credentialed as a minister during a time when it was uncommon for women to be pastors.

Together, Pastors Frank and Sheri attended Garden Grove Church in Winter Haven at the behest of their eldest daughter, Kristin, who was serving as a student volunteer. The two of them loved the church so much that they stayed and eventually jumped at the chance to become the new pastor once the old pastor stepped down.

During their nearly two decades serving at the church, both of them have grown to love the people who attend and live within the surrounding community. Their ministry has included outreach programs including their annual fall festival, Break Your Fall, in November.

“Our ministry has been to simply love these people and love this community with our whole hearts,” Pastor Sheri said. “We had a real burden, a real desire to accept people where they are, and to love them to come a little closer to what God has for them, helping people where they belong in the body of Christ.”

“It boils down to listening to and spending time with Jesus, to be in his presence, to get his heart for what he wants us to do here in Polk County,” Pastor Frank said. “These people have been ready and receptive to do what God has called us to do, and they have come alongside us and helped us through the ministry of what God has called us to. The success of this church…has been the determination and the love of God’s people for him and each other, which makes this church a very healthy and successful church.”

Pastors Frank and Sheri Hawley recently appeared on the Chattin on the Ridge podcast to discuss their past ministry at Garden Grove Church and their future ministry on the mission field. Listen to the episode on Acast: https://shows.acast.com/chattin-on-the-ridge/episodes/ep-28-pastors-frank-sheri-hawley?

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