Thank you to Cleon Engel, A Faithful Servant – by Kenny Stokes

Cleon Engel has been an indispensable part of the Treasuring Christ Together Network, and he will be greatly missed. After five years of service with the network, Cleon felt called by the Lord to take a position as chaplain of a memory-care home. This new opportunity has brought Cleon many evangelistic opportunities already, and we at TCTN are excited to see what the Lord does through him in the coming years.

This letter was read by Kenny Stokes in front of the Bethlehem Baptist Church staff. It highlights a few things that Kenny and all of us at TCTN are thankful for in Cleon.

A Thank you Note to Cleon Engel

Dear Cleon,

Thank you for your 5-year partnership with me as Coordinator for Church Planting at Bethlehem. During your time, you oversaw six new BBC church planters and the TCT Network has matured and grown. Most recently, you pioneered the nuts-and-bolts of the ‘Jump-Start’ model in your work with the successful restart of Hayden Heights Baptist.

Thank you for your happy partnership in the great gospel work of planting, nurturing, and establishing new TCT churches. Thank you for the brotherly nature of our partnership, day in and day out. Thank you for your love for me and my family and all the planters and their wives and churches. Thank you for your joy in the Lord. Your joy in the Lord is viral; it’s contagious. You received every day of work as a gift from Him. You never ever grumbled or complained. You joyfully and tirelessly served planters, BBC, and me.

You are among the greatest in the church — because, as Jesus said, the greatest in the kingdom is the servant of all, since the Son of man did not come to be served but to give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:44-45). You were always thankful for the gift of life and for the privilege of our labor in the Lord. You have proven to be an example to all the BBC flock in speech, life, love, faith and purity.

I must also thank Florine for the love and grace she has shown to me and to all the TCTN planters over the last 5 years. Her prayers, hospitality, love and support have been much appreciated. She even brought you to the airport for those 6:00 am early flights and you always beat me to the departure gate.

I could go on, but I must keep my thanks short in order to allow for the church planting pastors to thank you in their own words below. But for my part, I thank God for you and our sweet partnership. You are, and always will be my older brother in the faith.

Please receive my deepest thanks, love and appreciation. Blessings on your new ministry calling — it seems like a great fit.

Forever your brother, ‘son’, and partner in spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things,

Kenny Stokes

Lead Pastor, Downtown Campus


Here are some words of thanks from TCTN church planters:

Mike Bartlett, Redemption City Church, Grand Rapids, MI: “You have been an inspiration and you will be sorely missed! I can only hope to be faithfully serving the church as long as you have! Blessings on the next phase of your life & ministry!”

Tim Cain, Kaleo Church, San Diego, CA: “You have been such a blessing to me and to our network.  Thank you for praying for me and my family, thank you for all your hard work behind the scenes, thank you for all the wisdom you have imparted to us as a network. Whatever this next phase of your life holds I pray that the God of hope will fill you and Florine with peace and joy as you continue to place your trust in him.  We love you and I am so thankful for you and look forward to what God still has in store for you and your wife. Peace…”

Sean Cordell, Treasuring Christ Church, Raleigh, NC: “I respectfully decline your resignation. 🙂 Brother, words can’t express what you have meant to all of us in TCT. Your investment in our marriages, your consistency in prayers, words of encouragement, and sage advice, and your tear-filled love of Christ and His church are exemplary and have been used by God to sustain and strengthen many of us.

Personally I thank you for pursuing my family when we were heavily dealing with my daughter’s disease and hospitalization. Your prayers cards and emails were always used by God. Dear brother I can’t wait to get to heaven and look at your life and see all the countless ways you, behind the scenes, served so many for the glory of Christ. If that’s how it works, I will be celebrating God’s grace again through you. Love you and thank you again…”

John Erickson, Jubilee Community Church, Minneapolis, MN: “Cleon and Florine, We are all indebted more than we can say for you both.  Your encouragement, thoughtfulness and care have been a model for all of us to follow. I join my brothers and our families in saying we praise our great God for you both!  Our marriages and churches are healthier because of you.

Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for loving our wives. Thank you for loving our kids. Thank you for serving in a hundred unseen ways. Thank you for having a tender heart for Christ. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us in so many timely ways….  I am so thankful to call you friends and I pray we all can follow in your footsteps of faithfulness to Jesus and to each other! We love you both…”

Charlie Handren, Glory of Christ Fellowship, Elk River, MN: “Words will fail to express what I feel in my heart toward you. You have been a faithful partner and mentor in the ministry, and much more importantly you have become a dear friend and a father figure. I really look up to you, Cleon, and I pray that the Lord will grant me grace to be like you in so many ways. You will be missed, and you’ll ever be in our prayers.”

Erik Hyatt, New City of Nations Church, Minneapolis, MN: “You have been such a blessing to all of us. I have so appreciated your advocacy, encouragement, and availability.”

Brett Louis, Christ Redeemer, Woodbury, MN: “We cannot thank you enough for all you have done for us at the TCTN. The Lord has blessed us TREMENDOUSLY through your kind, compassionate, gracious, and faithful service. You will be missed a TON! We pray that God will continue to bless you and your family for many years to come. We love you…

Weyland Leach, The Heights Church, St. Paul, MN: “Thank for your service to us and the TCTN.  Thank you for your coaching, and for reminding all of us to love our wives and families, and for modeling that for us in the way you love and cherish Florine. Thank you for the many the hours and many meetings you invested that led to the restart of The Heights Church. God has been good to us through you…

Coty Pinckney, Desiring God Community Church, Charlotte, NC: “You have been a quiet, humble, and faithful servant who also knows when and how to stand firm. You have been a gentle voice and a comforting presence, who also knows when to push others so that they might labor harder than they thought possible. You have been an effective and diligent manager of details, who also sees the big picture and inspires others to pursue that goal. In your love, in your faith, in your friendship, in your joy, you have been an example to all of us. Your impact on each of us will continue to bear fruit to the glory of our Lord and Savior. Thank you.”

John Pope, Refuge City Church, Dayton, OH: “…You are greatly appreciated! Your hand of grace was always extended to me. I am VERY thankful for you!  Grace and Peace in our LORD Jesus Christ to you and your household!”

Jordan Thomas, Grace Church, Memphis, TN: “Thank you for your Christ-like service and love. You have been a substantial blessing to our network, as well as to each of us personally. May the Lord bless and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you