Celebrating 54 years of service to Free Will Baptist churches
by Marcus Brewer (Fellowship, Bryan)
On Sunday, October 15, the congregation at Collin Creek Church (Plano) had their annual celebration of Pastor Appreciation Day, but this was a bit different than their typical festivities. In addition to acknowledgements to Senior Pastor Robert Posner and Student Pastor Baxter Horton, this year Collin Creek featured and honored Clyde Gillentine, who has served as an Associate Pastor and an advisor at the church since it opened in 1990. After a Scripture reading, prayer, and songs, the unique program of the day opened with a video montage of a collection of family and church photos highlighting some of the events in Clyde’s life and ministry, featuring many images with his wife Marie and their children and grandchildren. Matthew Gillentine, Clyde’s youngest son, gave a testimony from the family’s perspective, describing a number of favorite memories, intertwining ministry activities with family history and recalling some of the people who influenced Clyde and, by extension, the rest of the family.
Dr. Tim Eaton, president of Randall University, provided comments that recalled Clyde’s service to what was then known as Hillsdale FWB College, going back further to his student days when the school was known as Oklahoma Bible College. Bro. Clyde was an accomplished student, graduating magna cum laude with an Associate of Arts degree and the highest GPA in his class in 1969. He continued that success at Free Will Baptist Bible College, finishing his Bachelor of Arts in 1971, also magna cum laude with the highest GPA in his class. He always remained close to Hillsdale over the years, twice serving as a member of the Hillsdale Board of Trustees as the representative from Texas.
Following another time of Scripture reading and songs, Marcus Brewer offered some thoughts on Clyde’s ministry from the perspective of the Texas State Association. Clyde served as pastor, associate pastor, or interim pastor of eight different churches in Texas (mostly in a bivocational role) and two more in Oklahoma. Clyde was also a church planter, starting a mission church in Mesquite shortly after graduating from FWBBC in 1971. Clyde has also served in a variety of roles in the Texas Association and the West Fork District Association. As part of his terms as Hillsdale Trustee he was also a member of the Executive Board in Texas, and he has served on a variety of other boards and committees as well. In the West Fork District, he has served as moderator twice, promotional secretary/clerk twice, and various times on the Christian Education Board, the District Home Missions Board, and the Credentials Committee. In all of those roles, he provided valuable contributions to the ministry of Free Will Baptists in Texas.
To close the main portion of the service, Robert Posner shared remarks about the consistency and faithfulness of Clyde, as well as Marie, in serving the Lord in whatever ministry that He called them to. Clyde and Marie have touched many lives in their 54 years of ministry to Free Will Baptists and serve as an example for each of us to follow in being committed to serving the Lord, not just in a local church, but in any role that we can fill in the service of the Kingdom of God.
In the final portion of the service, Clyde and Marie were presented with a pair of panels displaying Matthew 6:33 and John 3:16, surrounded by thoughts and well-wishes from those in attendance. Attendees were also invited to share memories and written comments and encouragements. The service closed with two songs performed by Bro. Clyde with friends and family, followed by a fellowship meal. It was a great day to celebrate the lifelong ministry of a faithful servant.