Paul Shirey’s Testimony:
I’m originally from Maryland – born in Baltimore, lived in Annapolis as a kid, and then moved to the Eastern Shore when I was 11. I was raised in the Lutheran Church and was taught from the Bible the basic truths of the faith. This laid a foundation which God used later to open my spiritual eyes to faith in Christ. 2 Timothy 3:15 says, “…from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” This was true for me as well. By age 11, I knew I was a slave to sin and although I knew about Jesus, I didn’t understand how all this fit together for salvation.
After hearing Billy Graham’s preaching, by about age 13 I prayed on my own to follow Christ; however, at that time I really didn’t understand what it looked like to live as a believer. A few years later in 1976, my family joined a newly formed independent charismatic church that met in our home for a year. This church had similar origins to RGC. As I encountered folks that were passionate about Jesus, Christian Community, and the power of the Holy Spirit, I made a profession of faith and was baptized (again) as a young adult.
From this point forward, God introduced several key “guides” into my life that discipled me through various phases over the next 10 years. Each of these modeled the Christian walk, brought scripture to bear in everyday life, and challenged me to grow in my faith.
The next big step in my Christian walk came when I left home and attended Virginia Tech. This was where the “training wheels” came off in my faith and although I wobbled a little in grappling with sin, God’s grace kept me on track as I had to daily choose to follow Christ over sin. Another huge blessing during my college years was the formation of several lifelong friendships with other believers. This was the beginning of my “Virginia connection” that the Spirit used later to lead me to move to Fairfax to be a part of RGC in 1986.
Paul Shirey’s Vision:
I love our church and my vision for serving as an elder would be to see us loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; knowing and studying scripture – and applying it; seeking God regularly in prayer individually and corporately; walking in the power, gifts, and fruit of the Holy Spirit as we build each other up; growing to maturity in Christ; serving the Lord and one another with gladness; doing the works that he’s prepared in advance for us to do; caring for one another; worshipping God in spirit and in truth; and reaching our community, GMU, NOVA, and the nations with the gospel as new disciples are made. Making disciples is our primary mission; however, this starts with love for God and individual passion for Christ.
I’ve been a member of RGC for over 30 years and have served our church by doing just about anything that needed doing including sound equipment set up and take-down before we had a building, ushering, helping with outreach events, leading small group worship, and leading community groups – and I’m excited about the prospect of building on this prior work by serving our church as an elder. In this capacity, one specific area of interest for me includes building and promoting “community” within our church. Getting members together in “community” is how we accomplish all the things we’ve been called to do as believers.
By serving on the elder team I desire to help position us for continuing as a God-pleasing Christ-centered Spirit-led mission-fulfilling church for many years to come.