Thank You, Brad!
Brad Pistole resigned as our Youth Minister Sunday. Following are
some reflections that are just mine--no one else’s. They speak only for me.
Brad predated me. For a long time, West-Ark had only two ministers, one personal
evangelist, and two secretaries: Brad Pistole, David Chadwell, Roy Dunavin,
Debbie Belote, and Myra Flippo. We approached this work as a team. While we had
our areas, in emergencies everyone did anything necessary. Areas did not matter.
Brad worked long hours, and went home to continue working (He and Yvonne lived
next door). So many stopped by his house, they regarded his home as their home.
I remember “a kid” (Brad) running across the parking lot on my first visit to
West-Ark, urging me to come to West-Ark (just before he left with a group of
young people). I remember knowing soon after arrival that I worked with a person
who would always help me, always be concerned about my best interest, and do my
work if necessary. I remember working with a person who was “everyone’s son.” If
anyone had a need, the first thing they said was, “Get Brad.” I did not doubt
that he—though young—was West-Ark’s most loved, appreciated person.
I remember a man so devoted to our teens and their families that he never
stopped working—he just did not know how to say “no.” When young adults came
back to visit, they always came to see Brad. Before we had a college program, he
ministered to everyone. Because one of “his kids” graduated did not mean he
stopped caring about them. There were the endless phone calls and the
unpublished trips to encourage those struggling with a problem or their faith.
When Brad survived his unique kind of brain cancer, he helped others nationally
who were terrified when they learned they had such cancer.
To him, the connection between healthy families and the spiritual health of
children was so obvious he qualified (through a program at Oklahoma Christian)
to work in family guidance. Throughout those demands, he did his work.
I watched him as his load became too heavy to carry. I watched him as he was
forced to restrict his activities of helpfulness. I listened as the elders urged
him to learn to say “no.”
It became obvious to him he could only devote himself to the spiritual growth of
the kids. His decision left him open to misunderstanding. For the kids’ sake, he
willingly did what he could do to encourage and focus them.
I do not love Brad because he is perfect. No human is. However, the person I
know is ethical, moral, devoted to godliness, and loves this congregation
deeply. His love for Christ should be evident in his resignation. When he
thought it was best for us (West-Ark), he left. Brad, thank you! Yvonne, only
you know how much he gave!
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 20 September 2007
Link to other
Writings of David Chadwell