I am privileged to be the Lead Pastor of the Church of God of Landisville, middle-sized congregation located in suburban Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. (You might want to click the link to learn more about the people I share everyday ministry with). I have been their pastor since September 2001. God willing, I intend to stay here the rest of my professional pastoral career.
They are a people of tremendous heart and vision. In the year 2002, after much prayerful reflection and honest dialogue, they stepped out on faith to become an outward-focused church with outreach as our brand. We now refer to this vision as being the best church for our community.
In the years that followed, they have partnered with many fine community serving agencies and ministries. They have also created for our community the Christian FLOW Center, a ministry of fellowship and encouragement for the senior adults of our part of the county; and the Agape Youth Center, which provides an afterschool drop-in place for middle school and high school age kids. Then there’s the Friday night version for elementary children called Agape Kids. The first two are now in their seventh and sixth years of existence respectively.
Out of a desire to be a safe place for people in need, my congregation joined the ranks of Stephen Ministry. This is a program that stretches across the denominations around the world, that trains lay persons to give care and counsel to people going through the difficult times of their lives. Two persons spent more than a week in intensive training with the national organization and recently we commissioned 8 persons who had completed fifty hours of training as our first Stephen Ministers. These people continue to receive 4-5 hours of training weekly in their commitment to provide quality ministry to the people in our area of influence and responsibility.
As a church, we emphasize discipleship rather than membership. In our culture membership often suggested exclusion or privilege. We believe that what is most important is to be authentic disciples of Jesus Christ living as His body in the 21st Century. To continue to equip our people for that mission, we have just begun a new discipleship training program called Real Disciples.