The thriving and growing Joy Fellowship in Vancouver, Canada has had three leaders.  The founder of the ministry was David Hayward.  He was a returning missionary from India who was blocked from returning because of restrictions from the Indian government.  While waiting for directions from the Lord regarding their future assignments, he and his wife, Ruby,  discovered the mentally challenged sub-culture in Vancouver was without a Christian witness or voice.  He and Ruby poured their lives, resources and faith into evangelizing and disciplining this important but forgotten people’s group for many years.

Their son, David (Dave) Hayward, Jr., loved the ministry and the people who are developmentally disabled; but “I sure wasn’t my father,” Hayward recounts.  Neither of the men are fiery or robust.  However, Dave’s personality and style of teaching was much more layed-back than his father’s preaching.  Finally, Dave moved away from the Vancouver area and continued his public school teaching career. 

David, Sr. understood Dave’s position and never pushed his son to become a valued volunteer.  However, David, Sr. knew that he must replace himself.  After prayer, he realized the Lord had chosen a young woman whose style and passions were much like his own.  Interestingly, her name was Joy…Joy Gregory. 

Ms. Gregory introduced her interests for crafts and camping into the ministry.  Tent camping became a vital part of the discipleship program.  Crafts were used to help the members develop their individual talents and raise funding for the ministry.  After several years, Ms. Gregory began looking for a person to compliment her style of ministry.  She, at once, thought of Dave.  After a lot of convincing, Dave moved back to Vancouver and became her associate.  For years, they worked together, complimenting each other with their own unmatched brand of ministry.

After a time, Dave realized that he didn’t have to be his father.  He found that he was able to effectively bring his particular brand of teaching and anchor it into the ministry that had been birth by his father and fostered by Ms. Gregory.  When Joy contracted cancer, Dave was her logical replacement.  He had been released from the past concerns of having to be his father’s duplicate.  By the time of her death on June 9, 2007, Dave was comfortable enough to be able to step into Joy Gregory’s hiking boots and carry forward the Joy Fellowship ministry.

Timothy was put in the position of following his adopted father, Paul, as pastor in Ephesus.  These were large sandals to fill.  Additionally, Timothy was a young man and not seasoned in ministry.  From the Biblical accounts, he was sickly and timid.  Becoming the senior pastor of a large metropolitan church is a difficult position.  But to replace a founder whose aptitude and personality was diametrically different from his own was a great challenge for this young pastor.  However, Timothy grew the church and almost four decades later, it was still a vibrant church.  Of course, there were problems and some of them could have stemmed from Timothy’s own personality.  However, Paul and Timothy were wise enough to NOT expect Timothy to be Paul.

Replacing the founder of a ministry or a successful pastor of a ministry within the mentally challenged community may be the specter looming in the background of each ministry within this sub-culture.  However, Paul found that Timothy was able to bring his unique talents and perspective into the Ephesus church, just as Dave Hayward has effectively replaced Joy Gregory.

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