During the past two months our ministry has been blessed with some of our greatest opportunities. God is continually surprising us with the doors that He is opening. Here is a brief recap.
September 1-11 – I spent these 11 days in New Delhi, India and Chennai, India. I wrote three blogs about the ministry and training over 2,000 pastors, preaching at a Missions’ Conference, and preaching at two of the twelve worship services in Chennai, in a church that had over 42,000 people present that Sunday. They average between 4,000 and 7,000 people at each of the twelve services. They are in the process of moving to the outskirts of the city and have bought land to build a 55,000 seat sanctuary! The training of the pastors was very meaningful and exciting. Many of these pastors will go out and start several churches and baptize hundreds of people. The pastors come twice a year for four sessions. I will be going back in March and then again in September. There are websites that contain the actual teachings that we are doing, the strategy, etc.
September 13-16 – I went to Danville, Virginia to preach and train leaders at the Trinity United Methodist Church. Charles Wickham is the pastor. I was there four years ago. I was excited to see many of the things they have incorporated and the tremendous growth that has taken place.
September 19 – I recorded radio messages which are heard each morning on WLWI. We have added a radio station in Wetumpka. These messages also appear on my Facebook page in audio form each day.
September 21- I preached at Mt. Gillard Missionary Baptist Church here in Montgomery. Coach Payne, one of the football coaches at Alabama State University, is a leader there. The Alabama-West Florida Conference business office has a wonderful lady Belinda Carnegie who handles all of the insurance, etc. for the pastors in our Conference. She is a leader there. Her husband is the pastor.
September 24 – Had an opportunity to be a part of the Troy University Golf Outing to raise money for various ministries at Troy. Dr. Jack Hawkins gives great support to this. We raised a lot of money. I also prayed that Dr. Hawkins wouldn’t hit anybody with some of his stray golf shots!
September 26-28 – I traveled to Lexington, SC to the Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church. Jeff Kirsey has been there about 23 years. There were 80 people attending when he arrived. Today they run several thousand each Sunday. I had the opportunity to meet with their staff on Saturday. The worship services on Saturday night and three on Sunday morning were extremely meaningful. They are in the process of a huge building project.
September 30-October 2 – Went to Dallas, Texas to speak at the Christian Men’s Network Summit. A part of this was to launch a great initiative that deals with child abuse and the problem of fatherlessness. There were men there from around the world who have great men’s ministries. Paul Cole is the president of this group and gives great leadership. As sometimes happens, weather delayed my Thursday evening flight. I finally got out of Dallas at midnight and arrived in Atlanta at 2:30. I was able to rent a car and drive on to Montgomery as I had a commitment to speak at 8:00 on Friday morning. I was just ahead of all of the Ebola scare in Dallas.
October 4-5 – I went to Stuttgart, AR. David Bush is the pastor. That church has been one of the biggest supporters of our ministry and has given me a lot of opportunities in the last six years. Stuttgart is the Duck Hunting Capitol of the World and also the Rice Capitol of the World. The church there has many tremendous leaders.
October 6 – I went to Little Rock, AR to speak at a wonderful occasion honoring the retired ministers and their spouses from Louisiana. David Bush raises the money to pay for this meaningful event.
October 10-13 – I traveled to Monroe, LA to the First United Methodist Church. Rev. Lynn Malone is the senior pastor. On Saturday morning I met with all of his church leaders. I preached 3 times on Sunday morning. I had an opportunity to meet with the staff on Monday. First Methodist Church is one of the leading churches in Louisiana and I have always heard it referred to as the “flagship church” of the Annual Conference. Just as I was finishing with the staff on Monday afternoon, a tornado came through. It took down trees all around us. I was getting ready to drive back to Montgomery. I waited for about 2 hours because the storm was going to Montgomery. I trailed it by about an hour and a half. It was pouring rain all the way.
October 16 – I went down to Ramer with Doctors Grady Price, Tim Trulove, and Buddy Foy for the “Good Ole Boys” fish fry. They invite a couple of hundred men to come together and fellowship. They give me an opportunity to say a few words and to thank God for our country and for our friends. There is probably more catfish consumed per person that night than any other place in the South!
As you can see it has been a busy, but very productive time. I had the opportunity to meet with several different pastors on a one-on-one basis. I do some coaching by telephone each month with some pastors. The writing of the weekly blog and the audio devotions don’t come easy for me – they take a lot of preparation.
I am looking forward in November to being with Rev. Tony Hughes up in Chilton County, speaking at a leadership banquet at First United Methodist Prattville, preaching at my brother George’s church in Auburn on November 9, going to Panama City for a church consultation, preaching in Atlanta, speaking to the Montgomery YMCA staff, participating in a missions event at New Water located at Lake Martin, participating in planning for the Billion Soul Initiative and teaching for 3 days at First Baptist Church Tyler, Texas, and preaching at Hutchinson Missionary Baptist Church here in Montgomery.
Thank you so much for your support.
John Ed Mathison