By Sharon Mager
WASHINGTON — After three years of prayer and searching, Agape Baptist Church (ABC) members called Justin Gipitulan as their new senior pastor. Members had an installation service for Gipitulan and his wife, Juvy, on March 13.
Justin previously served as the pastor of One Hope in Christ Christian Fellowship Church in New Jersey. Before his call to ABC, Justin was working on his Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He received his Bachelor of Theology from Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary in Baguio City, Philippines.
During the installation service, Justin shared that he and Juvy were comfortable in Texas but felt God leading them in a new direction. The couple prayed, seeking God’s guidance.
In Washington, ABC members were seeking a pastor. James Martinez, the former pastor, and his wife, Virgie, retired in 2017 after serving for 26 years. Church Secretary Javee Medina said the church was praying for a pastor but knew it might take time. However, they weren’t rushing. They waited patiently on the Lord to bring the right candidate.
Meanwhile, in Texas, Justin said, “Juvy and I set out on this journey through prayer to see where God would lead us.” Justin also noted that he and Juvy prayed for God to lead them to a church where they had a previous connection.
God answered those prayers. There was a connection. Years ago, ABC youth regularly attended the Eastern Area Filipino Christian Fellowship, a regional fellowship of Christian families. In a godly “coincidence,” Justin was a guest speaker at one of those events. Even then, God was preparing Justin for his role at ABC.
While Juvy was visiting family on the East Coast, God began bringing the church and pastor together.
“Juvy came home and said, ‘Hey! ABC is looking for a pastor,’” Justin said.
“We sought advice from family and friends, who said, ‘You must be crazy! You’re comfortable and established in Texas.’ They told us we were going to a place where it’s more expensive, and people aren’t so responsive to the Gospel,” Justin said.
But the young couple was ready to accept the challenges as long as they were in God’s will.
Justin referenced 1 John 4:4, “You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
Furthermore, the couple was encouraged to learn how the ABC members held together and moved forward in ministry without a pastor. Justin shared, “We wanted to join people who were that committed.
“We look forward to being a servant and anticipate how God is going to build and grow the church to bring Him the highest glory and praise.”
Cover photo: Justin and Juvy Gipitulan (submitted by ABC).