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David Strope (front, second from right) celebrates 40 years as pastor of Ankeny (Iowa) Baptist Church.

ANKENY, Iowa—David and Debbie Strope celebrated 40 years of ministry at Ankeny Baptist Church. The church family honored the Stropes during a worship service Aug. 28.

The Stropes began their ministry in 1976­—the year they married—at Bethel Baptist Church, Jamestown, New York, where David was assistant to the pastor. They went on to serve as pastor and wife at Calvary Baptist Church, Lockport, New York (1980–1984); Regular Baptist Church (now Maple Avenue Baptist Church), Elmira, New York (1984–1990); and Calvary Baptist Church, Norwich, New York (1990–1999). The Lord brought them to Ankeny, Iowa, in 1999.

In addition to pastoral ministry, the Stropes have traveled to several mission fields to help and encourage missionaries whom Ankeny Baptist Church supports. David is currently chairman of the GARBC Council of Eighteen, serves on the councils of the Iowa Association of Regular Baptist Churches and Baptist Mid-Missions, and is an adjunct faculty member of Faith Baptist Bible College.

David says even after all his years of ministry, his goals are “to continue to add to my faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love (2 Peter 1:5–7), to be truly fruitful in life and service for Christ!”

The service honoring the Stropes focused on rejoicing in the Lord’s faithfulness in the couple’s ministry, as well as challenging the congregation to serve faithfully.

John Greening, GARBC national representative, says it has been a privilege to serve with the Stropes through the GARBC fellowship. Addressing David through a video that the church created, he said, “I have watched you through the years conduct yourself with a distinguished comportment. You have sought to do things with excellence counterbalanced with humility, drawing attention to the Lord and not to yourself. You are a man of deep conviction but also respectful of others. You have carried the load of ministry and life with a quiet calmness.”

Continuing, he said, “Debbie, you have been supportive of your husband both in his ministry within the church and within the larger arena of the association. . . . God bless you both on this special occasion.”

Also greeting the Stropes through the video were Tim Capon, state representative of the Iowa Association of Regular Baptist Churches, and his wife, Sandy; Vernon Rosenau, president of Baptist Mid-Missions; Steve Little, president of Baptist Church Planters; Jim Tillotson, president of Faith Baptist Bible College.

The morning ended with the Stropes receiving a book of testimonies written by the church family, as well as other gifts.