The Indiana Conference ended on June 11th with a beautiful service for those commissioned and those ordained deacon and elder. Mike participated in the elder ordination of Matt Swisher. Matt and his family were part of a church Mike pastored from 1983 to 1989. Matt was three when we first met him. When he decided to become a pastor, we followed his career with special interest. Each person preparing for ordination is assigned a mentor. Matt chose Mike and for the past three years, and they met monthly, talking and sharing whatever Matt needed to discuss. We celebrated the joyous occasion with Matt, his wife Katie, and lots of family from both sides.
Another moment of personal joy, was when the conference introduced and honored those pastors retiring. Each pastor and spouse were seated on the stage. We were introduced and then led down one of two aisles in the vast auditorium. As we were in the aisle, everyone gathered, about 1200 people, stood and clapped for what seemed like forever. Both of us cried as we received this expression of appreciation.
Mike has already had several pastors ask him to preach and fill the pulpit during vacations and other times away. He is also going to work part-time at the YMCA where we work out daily. Although we have found a new church, I am still having difficulty leaving a church that has been home to me for fifteen years. I am depending on God to give me insight and vision for the future.
God, thank you for the joys and challenges of Mike's 39 years of ministry. We have learned from all types of experiences for we knew that you are in everything that happens. Guide our paths in a new way of ministry in your name. Amen.