We are grieving the loss of our friend and pastor, Gary DeSalvo. We grieve with the whole DeSalvo family. We love and support them with our prayers, and we stand by them as they are grieving, as well.
We grieve with you, our church body. Gary has been more than our pastor over the past four decades. He’s been a guide, a shepherd, a rock during difficult times. He’s blessed our newborn babies, officiated weddings, counseled countless among us; he’s presided over our loved ones’ funerals. Gary has been there for our greatest joys and our deepest sorrows. He has loved and cared for us all.
We Are Here For You
As we grieve, we want to love each other well. We are all hurting. If you would like to talk or pray with someone, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us. The entire pastoral staff and elders are praying for you and are here for you. To contact us, you can call the church office at (254) 778-3233 or use our individual contact information on our church website.
We Have Hope
As we lovingly support one another, we also want to encourage you in the hope we have through Jesus Christ. As Christians, our grief is not like the world’s grief. In 1 Corinthians 15:19, Paul writes, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
Certainly, we grieve that Gary is no longer with us; but we have the hope and confidence through Christ that we will see him again someday! That is something to celebrate! We grieve at the passing of our beloved pastor, but we rejoice that he is now with the Father. We rejoice that Gary is more alive now that he has ever been. Gary’s hope was firmly in that truth – that the gospel of Jesus Christ is literally the difference between life and death. Jesus said it Himself in John 11:25-26:
‘Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’
This world is not our home. We have eternity waiting for us – eternity with the Father, with Gary, and all believers. Praise God for that hope!
We Will Continue in His Work
Throughout his entire ministry, Gary spoke of that hope often. When the elders met in Gary’s hospital room two Thursdays ago to pray over him, Gary shared his heart with us once again. His words were so encouraging, so Christ-centered. He said, “It’s been an amazing ride. Keep serving the Savior. Keep your eyes on Him.”
One of Gary’s legacies is how he has intentionally challenged and invested in this flock, encouraging each of us to follow the Savior and live out the gospel through our core values here at Temple Bible Church. It is so encouraging that Gary and the entire leadership team have spent the last decade planning for this day, when the next generations of leaders would continue the work of Jesus Christ in the lives of the TBC family, our Bell county community, and people literally all around the world.
And that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to continue to live out Christ’s commandment to share the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to those to whom he’s called us.
We Are Blessed
At a time like this, we also remind ourselves of God’s truths. God is good! God loves Gary, the DeSalvo family, and His entire church immeasurably; and He has good plans for us at TBC. Christ has built a strong church here, rooted in Him and His gospel. We are blessed in so many ways:
- We are blessed to have a group of elders who are completely unified in their love for our Savior, this body, and each other.
- We are blessed to have a remarkable pastoral and support staff who care so deeply for those they shepherd, each willing and able to step in and do whatever work is needed of them.
- We are blessed to have a strong teaching team, preaching God’s Word in powerful ways every week.
- We are blessed to have so many men and women who faithfully give their time every week in service to one another and this body through small groups, Sunday school, the Outback, His Kids, local outreach, and more. We have an amazing worship team, welcome team, and ushers. We are inspired by the men and women who serve the Savior through His Word, service, hospitality, visitations…more things than we can even count.
- We are blessed to have deacons who selflessly give their time to meet the physical needs of the church and to serve us all with grace and care.
- We are blessed to have nearly 40 families sacrificially serving and extending the gospel through global missions. Plus, we have strong, ongoing partnerships with international friends and families through our work in the Ukraine, Rwanda, and the Middle East.
- We are blessed to have so many partners and relationships serving our community and making Jesus known throughout the world.
We are very blessed! God continues to be good to us and do great things through TBC.
We Will Continue to Follow the Savior
As Gary led us through transition over the last couple of years, he set an example of leaning on Jesus and following Him wherever He leads. Therefore, we are following his example to us – passionately following the Savior wherever He leads. We will forever be grateful for God’s servant, Gary. He was a role model, a teacher, and friend, and so much more; we praise God for his life well-lived. We are equally excited to continue this journey with all of you as we follow the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ!
So many of you have gone through this transitional period with us. As the elders of TBC, we want to continue to love, support, and admonish you. Much has changed over the last ten years here at TBC. Additional changes may come, too. We commit to communicating those changes as they arise.
We are thankful that God has afforded us time to think, pray, and plan wisely for the future. We are thankful that we started that process while Gary was still with us. We have been blessed by his leadership during this transitional time. As Gary is now home with his Savior, we look at the future with excitement and hope, knowing that our God will continue the great work he started here four decades ago.