New Ministry Dynamics at WCFS - A Special Update from Tim Shell
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ec. 3:1)
“But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun” (Exodus 17:12).
It is a fine thing to be under the loving care of a pastor throughout the changing seasons of one's life and the fruit of such care can only be counted in eternity. I have lived most of my life under the pastoral ministry in care and prayers
of Gary and Sally Cox and the WCF church and WCFS home school ministry. My parents and siblings, my wife and my own children have received great benefit from this ministry to us in the Lord. Gary was my 7th grade science teacher at Frederick Christian Academy in 1980, and we haven't stopped enjoying science together since. He supported my father, Rev. Charles C. Shell, in his work at the Frederick Rescue Mission for a time as a board member. We joined WCFS in 1984 and Gary became a mentor to me in high school. I graduated from WCFS in 1986 as one of two of the first graduating class. Gary and Sally and WCF provided rich support and care for my Mother when she was widowed in 1988. Even after we moved to Virginia we maintained our relationship by various touch points along the way and Gary and Sally attended our wedding when Naomi and I married in 1997. WCF was our sending church when we went to the mission field in Asia in 2003 and Gary was able to visit us twice in China. WCFS supported us through the missionary scholarship fund while abroad and three of our daughters have graduated from WCFS and our two sons are on track to do the same. When our daughter Ruth was unable to go to school in Israel as planned in 2019, she ended up working at the WCFS office under Gary and Sally's parent-like oversight. When the rest of us returned from Mongolia in February 2020, we moved back to the area to all be together again as a family and started attending WCF again after many years away. Thank you to all of you who have given, prayed, loved and served us through this ministry
over the years. We may not know you all by face and name, but we cannot number the
blessings of spiritual nourishment, protection, provision and direction that we have received from this ministry over many years past. We can only sing with Fanny Crosby, “Jesus led me all the way!” But where is He leading now? It seems the season is changing.
As Ecclesiastes 3:1 notes, the seasons of life for all of us are changing as they always do and we perceive that the Lord is leading us into a fresh season in our relationship with Gary and Sally and WCF/WCFS. The picture of assistance given to Moses in Exodus 17:2 by Aaron and Hur appears to best represent the nature of this new season. Naomi and I and our children are being given the opportunity to step in and support them and the WCF/WCFS ministry in new ways in the same spirit of loving care by which they have supported us these many decades. We are called to stand in support as they complete their season of serving the Lord in their generation in whatever ways may be required. We could not be more honored. In addition, I have a sense of deep relief that one of my old fears about ministry has been avoided. What fear?
My greatest fear and misperception as a young man observing men of God devoting themselves to their ministries to the neglect of their families caused me to dread the day when I should have to make the fateful decision as well. What should come first, family or ministry? Either answer seemed to leave the other undone; I didn't know what to choose. How great my joy when God showed me to opt out of that conundrum by counting my wife as my ministry partner and to minister together with her and our children. Rather than Dad going off to his ministry while the rest of the family does life together, we can minister as one. It is becoming clear that God has opened the doors of opportunity for us to minister as a family in the work of WCF/WCFS. (Not that we demand it of our children but rather we wait for them to respond to God's leading in their lives.) Everything seems to fit. Our boys can help with the maintenance and upkeep of the property and facilities while finishing high school; our girls can help with clerical office work, sound and media technology, record keeping, organizing, and cleaning. Naomi can help with managing the fellowship hall, meals and child- care services, and I can remain available to fill the pulpit for Gary, teach at workshops and
conferences, manage the property maintenance, and work on refreshing long standing relationships throughout the community of faith in Frederick County and beyond. Laborers are needed and we are responding to fill those needs as the Lord clarifies what each person’s role should be. Much of what we do is still as volunteers and some is counted for wages.
Our return to Asia remains uncertain and undecided at this time. As of now, we reasonably expect to be in the US at least another two to three years. Living in Asia has adjusted our ability to be flexible and spontaneous with less stress, and when required, to adapt to new settings such as returning to serve at WCF/WCFS. We have a lot to learn about our new roles, but everyone is helping us chart the way forward. It is our privilege to add our efforts to the amazing investments and sacrifices of the many who have gone before to bring to pass what God has willed in establishing His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven as expressed in in the ministry of Gary and Sally through WCF/WCFS.
Practically speaking, since Christmas 2020, Gary has accelerated the process of delegating more and more of the day-to-day operations and ministry responsibilities to existing staff. In turn, existing staff has been able to train new staff, passing suitable responsibilities on them. The most prudent improvements, corrections, updates, and changes are being adopted along the way as God gives wisdom. The prayers of those who have supported this ministry over the years are greatly needed now, more than ever. Fresh prayers are duly appreciated as we step in as a family so that Gary and Sally's hands are steady in this season of life and service to God's people. Our continual prayer is that God will make us a blessing to those we serve.
Thank you for your partnership in the gospel.
Trusting Him with you for all things,
The Tim and Naomi Shell Family