Grants Pass Welcomes New Pastor

The Grants Pass Church turned a new page in its history on Sabbath, Oct. 26, warmly welcoming the new associate pastor, Tony Rodriguez, and his wife, Sayuri, to the church family.

After a prayer of dedication, Tony Rodriguez stood and faced the congregation before beginning his first sermon in Grants Pass. “Let me just stare at you all for a moment,” he said, smiling. He proceeded to explain how his being at this particular pulpit, at this particular time, was no coincidence to him and to his wife. “The joy is all ours.” An unexpected phone call from Christian Martin, Grants Pass Church senior pastor, prompted by the Holy Spirit, set about a chain of events to bring the Rodriguezes to southern Oregon.

Rodriguez grew up in Long Island, N.Y., and received an Adventist education from first grade on. After two years of theological training in Venezuela, he transferred to Andrews University, where he majored in religion and communication. Upon completing his bachelor’s degree, he received an invitation from the Michigan Conference, where he served as a pastor for the next eight years and completed his Master of Divinity degree. He was ordained into the gospel ministry in 2005, along with Martin.

God led the Central California Conference to extend to Rodriguez a call to pastor the San Jose Central Church. There he met Sayuri, and they married in May 2009.

In recent months, Rodriguez felt prompted by the Holy Spirit that he and his wife would soon be relocating. They were content serving in churches at San Jose and Gilroy, Calif., sharing the gospel and serving God.

But Rodriguez knew there was more work to do. This was when his old friend called. The rest is soon to be history in Grants Pass.

“We did not come here so this church can grow. ... We came here so it may explode,” Rodgriguez said. He also had a challenge for the congregation, for everyone watching or listening to the sermon: “Have you seen Jesus? Not Jesus in 1982, but have you seen Jesus lately?”

In the short time since the Rodriguezes arrival, they have spoken for the Grants Pass Adventist School fall week of prayer, and Rodriguez has given his first sermon at nearby Cave Junction Church. There is no doubt that both pastors will be busy in the weeks and months ahead. It’s an exciting time in Grants Pass.

Christian Martin, Grants Pass Church pastor, and Jennifer Burkes, Grants Pass Church communication leader