Transitions Carry Rural Church Ministry Forward
Village Missions has been deeply committed to rural church ministry since 1948, and has seen many transitions over the years. It’s an inevitable part of life, as seen when Paul speaks with Timothy about transitions in 2 Timothy 2:2:
“and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also”
(ESV). Paul was preparing Timothy for a transition. He knew that he would soon be passing from the scene (2 Tim. 4:6-8). The good work of the Gospel must carry forward in Timothy’s life and in the lives of those who would follow him. Thus, the church has transitioned through the ages as we await the coming of our Lord, when the final transition takes place.
Transition in Board Leadership
Village Missions, likewise, has been undergoing a transition in its leadership. This November, Glen Hanson will be retiring from the board and from his position as chairman. Glen, from Kersey, CO, a former field, has ably served on the board since November 2000. He is the longest serving member of our board, which illustrates the transition that has taken place in board membership.
Transition in District Representatives
We have also experienced a transition in the District Representative ranks. Our longest serving District Representatives are Gil and Trish Doebler, who began serving as Village Missionaries in September 1972 and started as District Representatives in February 2002. The other District Representatives are quite new to their positions. Longest serving of the new District Representatives are Jon and Deb Hansen, who began as Village Missionaries in October 1996 and became District Representatives in September 2010. All the other District Representatives have begun serving since then!
Another significant transition is taking place. Assistant Director Mike Jones has notified me that he and Judie will be retiring after the 2017 conference season. Mike and Judie started serving with Village Missions in August 1984 (We were classmates at Moody) and then became Assistant Director in October 2003. We will say more about their ministry as we get closer to their retirement date and, of course, we will be saying farewell at our 2017 staff conferences.
Introducing John Adams
I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Village Missionary John Adams, currently serving with his wife Candy as Village Missionaries at the Hauser Community Church in Hauser, OR to the position of Assistant Director starting January 1, 2017. John will serve in a co-role with Mike and will be trained until the last staff conference. John and Candy will be at each of the U.S. staff conferences in 2017.
A biography is included in this issue but I will share a little from my perspective. John and Candy are no strangers to rural church ministry. Candy is the daughter of retired Village Missionaries Mel and Jeannie Wiggers. John and Candy began as Village Missionaries in October 1995, serving first in Butte Falls, OR, and then in January 2004 they were assigned to Hauser, OR.
Over the years, I have observed John and Candy in a variety of ways. They have been gracious hosts and have given me several opportunities to speak at the Hauser Community Church. Candy helps organize the children’s ministry at the Cannon Beach staff conference. At one point, we asked them to help with candidate school and they both did an excellent job, showing true servant hearts. John gathered a group here at the Dallas office and presented his Doctor of Ministry project through Western Seminary, which was professional and highly applicable to the ministry of Village Missions.
I’m not sure how much this has to do with John’s role as Assistant Director, but they are both excellent shots! Part of a mini-conference at Camp Fircroft in southern Oregon involved a skeet shoot. Both John and Candy left very few clay pigeons alive! John also nailed me several times during paintball. I was clearly not in his league!
Something more revealing about his role as a Village Missionary and future role as Assistant Director is what I learned about him from a donor I called. This donor attends John’s church. She is a sweet and generous lady who loves the Lord and loves Village Missions. We often have long conversations over the phone when I call to thank her for a gift to Village Missions. A few years ago her husband passed away, and she is in failing health. Although the Hauser church is a large church, John took the time to build her a handicapped ramp for her house. She speaks very lovingly of how John and Candy have ministered to her and her husband over the years.
Those in the other districts will enjoy meeting John and Candy during our staff conferences next year. You will have an opportunity to hear from John. Please pray for John and Candy and their children, Callie (21) and David (19) as they transition to this new role and for Mike and Judie as they retire. Pray for wisdom for the Adams as they look for a house in the Dallas area. Pray also for the Hauser Community Church during this time.
Transitions may be difficult but they are inevitable and can be positive. I am so thankful that the Lord has guided the transitions within Village Missions at all levels!