A Moment With Taylor Gardner
When Sue and Bill Davis received the phone call that their 27-year-old son, Jason, had been in an accident and was on the way to the hospital, Taylor Gardner, Associate Pastor of Care Ministries at Stonebriar, was one of the first people they called for support. After they learned of Jason's death, Taylor "took us by the hand and quietly, graciously took care of everything," shared Sue. "He didn’t try to give us 'pat' answers, but he put feet to his faith by supporting us through it all, sometimes without a word."
Taylor says a situation such as this is one of the most challenging he faces. "It's important in these circumstances to be able to share in a meaningful way, with kindness and gentleness, how the Lord has a plan for every life no matter how short or long," Taylor shared. Though sometimes personally painful, ministering to those who face uncertainties in life is what he loves and feels called to do. Taylor believes that his spiritual gifts of pastoring, teaching, and encouragement have prepared him well for service in this ministry. "Each of these," according to Taylor, "is an essential part of ministering to those who are going through various kinds of stressful tests. I am called to reassure people of the Lord's care and comfort them with His love." When he is unsure of the individual's relationship with the Lord, Taylor looks for ways to help
people understand God’s desire for their lives.
Jason's death was not the first or the last crisis that brought Taylor to Sue and Bill's side. There have been hospitalizations for serious illnesses and the death of another family member. "Taylor is just the person we needed to walk through these times with us. He is genuine, tender, and compassionate. During visits in the hospital, he often made us laugh, which was just what we needed," said Sue. Bill added, "He’s such a humble man. He would never take credit for anything he does, yet he offers real care and concern to so many." A comment frequently heard about Taylor is that he's like a willow: loaded up with the cares and concerns of many, he bends but never breaks.
As an "on-call" pastor, Taylor's activities vary from week to week, depending on the number of funerals he is called on to officiate and the number of homebound SCC members who need a visit. Though most people would find a schedule like this challenging, Taylor says he loves it. Whether attending a birth or a death, he says, "I am given an awesome sense of God's presence, especially if the individual is a believer." One of the ways this pastor stays encouraged is by participating in SCC's monthly Cancer Encouragement Group. "These folks share personally and take very seriously the commitment to pray for and encourage one another. Their loving care for each other reminds me that this is exactly how the Lord wants the church to function." He adds,
This group is not discouraging or depressing—the group meeting is the highlight of my month."
Taylor sums up his thoughts by saying, "One clear conviction I've developed through involvement in this ministry is that whether a circumstance is relatively minor or ends in death, the Lord intends and desires that we learn more about His faithfulness in every trial. 'Faithful is He who calls you'"(1 Thessalonians 5:24).