Human Resources & Missionary Care Pastor
"So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly..." -Romans 12:5-6
Helping people find ways to exercise their gifts accordingly is a major focus of the ministry of Outreach Pastor, Pat Coyle. Growing up in Bryan, Pat attended Grace with his parents, Harry and JoJo Coyle. He graduated from Bryan High School in 1981 and from Texas A&M University in 1985, then left for San Antonio to pursue a career in banking, never anticipating he would one day return to Grace.
While in San Antonio, he remained active in his church, he helped organize Perspectives on the World Christian Movement and was a Substitute Teaching Leader for Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) classes. He began to sense that he would end up in full-time ministry and, because of his work with Perspectives, guessed it could probably be in missions. All the while, he grew increasingly dissatisfied with the corporate banking world.
Then, in 1990, "through a divinely orchestrated set of circumstances," God opened the door for Pat to remain working at the bank while also attending Southwestern Baptist Seminary by extension.
Meanwhile, Jeanne Sunderland, a San Antonio native, was finishing her degree in psychology at Baylor University. After she graduated, she moved back to San Antonio. She and Pat met, worked together in their church singles' ministry, and started dating. While they dated, Jeanne completed her master's degree in Cross-Cultural Studies at Fuller Seminary, and Pat served for six months in Milan, Italy, with GBC missionaries, Robby and Rose Roberts.
Pat and Jeanne married in July 1994, and in February 1995, Pat began his first "part-time" ministry at Rolling Oaks Baptist Church. Jeanne worked at BSF headquarters as secretary to the director of their "The World Outreach" (TWO) division, a sending agency for teaching leaders who go to other countries.
They enjoyed what they were doing, but felt that a traditional pastoral role might restrict them from pursuing their real vision. Convinced that every believer is a minister (not just "pastors"), Pat and Jeanne wanted to be able to encourage others to discover their own gifts and unleash them into the field of ministry into which God was leading, particularly toward the fulfillment of God's global purpose, so that all would consider their role in helping fulfill the Great Commission.
Meanwhile, right here at Grace, God was placing a similar desire and vision within the hearts of the leadership. As Grace grew, people were finding it harder and harder to get involved and feel a part of the church family. There was a definite need for someone who could help people get involved in ministry and help ministries communicate with one another.
It was this unique vision that brought Pat back to his home group in the spring of 1996. And this vision took definitive 'shape' in 1998 when "Discovering Your Ministry" (the SHAPE class) was introduced as a key component in GBC's Spiritual Growth Process. In 1997, Pat was asked to chair GBC's Missions Committee (on which Jeanne was already serving), at this point, the dual goals of their vision for ministry really came into focus…and did so in harmony with GBC's ever-changing ministry leadership needs.
Pat and Jeanne's family has grown since they arrived here. Their daughter Katie arrived in April of 1997. David Patrick, Jr. (David) came along in April of 1999 and Lexie Jean followed in May of 2002. With the addion of three, life has become much busier, but they are thrilled to be raising their children in a community like B-CS and at a church like Grace.
"...let us each exercise them accordingly..." Pat and Jeanne are excited about being a part of ministry that helps people do this. It's a ministry that has re-shaped somewhat since he came here, and this will probably continue. But the ultimate aim of his ministry at Grace will, in his words, "always be that of moving the people of Grace forward in their maturity and their fulfillment of God's calling to be sent as a minister from this church body…so that our whole church family might be more effectively 'raising up next generation leaders to reach our world for Christ.'"