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Interview with Jeannot Gauggel

FPC: Jeannot, after a life dedicated to the service of the Lord, retirement approaches. Can you briefly trace your journey?

 1978-1980 FPC discipleship school in Merkwiller-Pechelbronn, member of the team spreading the Gospel in Bitche
 1980-1986 Church planted in Bitche and preparation for the plant in Faulquemont
 1986-1992 Church planted in Faulquemont/Saint-Avold
 1993-2005 Part-time in the church in Alteckendorf and part-time at Vilodec
 1984-2009 President of Vilodec, holiday camp leader and Bafa trainer
 2005-2020 Director of FPC

FPC: What big lessons have you learnt?

God is the one who calls sovereignly by grace. He called me in 1969. Knowing that from the start allowed me to understand that I was not obliged to deliver results but that it is incumbent upon me to be faithful in the proclamation of the Good News.

God acts tirelessly according to an eternal plan: to gather everything under the authority of Jesus[1]. It is essential to align the plan of my short life to his. Does such an endeavor contribute to submitting myself and others to Jesus? This question informed our choices. Ah, if God could say of me as of David: ‘After [having] served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep[2]‘!

God and his word are trustworthy. Leaning on them keeps you going, even in the storm. Jesus said that anyone who heard and put his words into practice would build his house on the rock and hold out against bad weather[3]. Choosing this foundation has allowed me to prove his trustworthiness in trials and confrontations.

Pride and smugness are detestable. They prevent us from glorifying God and hinder the implementation of mutual support in the church and society. Acknowledged and assumed personal shortcomings do not stop God from using us. But surrounding ourselves with co-workers who balance out our weaknesses is essential. We are in large part what encountering others has made us. Understanding that sometimes takes time but it is freeing and reveals the richness of the body of Christ.

FPC: What do you advise to fuel the “fire”?

⇒ Allowing Jesus to explain the Scriptures to us is THE key. “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?[4]” When my expectations are not set according to God’s timing and I am discouraged, he comes close to readjust my vision. Letting the Lord renew my mind by regular meditation on his word always rekindles my flame.

⇒ Cultivating communion with him in secret through prayer. When I was in high school, I discovered in the Gospels that Jesus withdrew to be alone with his Father and that he asked us to do the same. A secret life with God largely determines the quality of our public life. Since then, I have always sought out a place to pray near the homes we have lived in.

⇒ Finding balance between contemplation and action. Without contemplation, effort loses its purpose. Without work, my dreams evaporate in the cold light of day.

⇒ Trying to please God first because his final appreciation will be the only one that counts. I have sometimes been targeted with unjust accusations and sometimes showered with undeserved praise. Upon his return, everyone will receive from God the praise due to him[5].

⇒ Putting others in the saddle, trotting alongside them and then letting them gallop far ahead, what a joy!

⇒ Knowing when to withdraw from successive responsibilities before reaching the point when everyone lets out a sigh of relief after my departure.

Jeannot Gauggel

[1] Ephesians 1.10.
[2] Acts 13.36.
[3] Matthew 7.24.
[4] Luke 24.32.
[5] 1 Corinthians 4.5.

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