The Ultimate Journey Together

It was December of 1999 and we were in transition to a new adventure in a new city and a new church. We spent a discouraging, blustery Saturday with our realtor, looking for the right house for our large and growing family. By evening the snow was accumulating and it was clear that a trip back to Boone, where we lived at the time, was not wise. Tom and Leslie offered us dinner and warm beds and we accepted.

We woke up Sunday morning to over a foot of snow and church services that were cancelled.  As we sat around the breakfast table talking through our house situation, we mentioned another house we didn’t get to see because the roads became too treacherous. Tom said, “It’s close. We can walk there!” So we bundled up and made the mile-long trek down a barren Antioch Road to check it out.  The house was empty and the doors were unlocked. Tom Oyler opened the door and let us in. (Is that breaking and entering? That’s on Tom!)  Tom stood in that living room and looked out the front windows and exclaimed, “I like it! I really like it!” …so we bought it.

It was the beginning of a beautiful journey together as families.  Through highs and lows, sorrow and joy, parenting adolescents and caring for aging parents. We knew we had the support, wisdom and friendship of Tom and Leslie cheering us on.

In the 15 years that Tim served with Tom, the vision of Building and Reaching came to maturity. Tim feels that process marked him in ways few things have. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, the study of Scripture, and the prayerful gatherings of godly leaders to think and plan strategically, the values were formed that shaped Grace Fellowship, but also shaped us as members of this body. Tom led this process well through his teaching and example as the phases of the Ultimate Journey: being Changed by Christ and Used by Christ, were mapped.

The core values took on a very personal meaning when Tom and Leslie lost their son, Robbie. Through the years, they were forced to “struggle well” in a very public and vulnerable way.  Their model deeply impacted all of us. We’re grateful to have been given the opportunity to grow and learn and do life with Tom and Leslie Oyler.

~ Tim & Cheryl Bowers

Join us in celebrating Tom and Leslie Oyler on Saturday Nov. 3rd and Sunday Services Nov. 4th! Please RSVP for the Saturday event here.

For 38 years, Tom Oyler has gracefully and boldly led the local body of Grace Fellowship Church. Recently Tom transitioned to the role of Pastor Emeritus. In light of this transition, GFC will host 2 celebrations honoring Tom and Leslie’s faithfulness to both the Word of God and the GFC church body. Both events are open to the public, and you are invited to attend.

An Evening of Love and Laughter with Tom and Leslie – Saturday Nov 3rd, 5:00-7:00pm

Worship Services Reflecting on the Legacy of Tom and Leslie – Sunday Nov 4th, 9:15 & 11am