The months of August and September have been two of the busiest months of my ministry. I preached 34 times. Many of the ministry opportunities were a good distance from Montgomery. I wound up going out of state seven times. I discovered that during the month of September I spent as many nights in hotels as I did at home.
I want to thank all of the people who are continually praying and offering encouragement and financial support. All honorariums for preaching/teaching go to the John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries and they are under the authority of ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). The nine members and their resumes of our ministry Board can be found on our website.
Below is a brief recap of some of the highlights.
August 4 – Pat McWhorter is part-time pastor of the Hopewell/Mt. Hilliard Charge in the United Methodist Church and doing a super job. Pat’s main business is serving as a lobbyist. He had a passion to start a men’s ministry. I went down and spoke at a fish fry on Saturday night. He had about 30 men present.
August 5 – I had the opportunity to preach at Frazer at the three morning worship services and also at the evening worship service.
August 8 – I officiated at the funeral for one of Frazer’s great leaders and a great leader in our state – Dr. Hanly Funderburk. He was one of the first people I met when I moved to Frazer. He was the President of Auburn University at Montgomery and gave tremendous leadership there. He was always encouraging to me as a pastor and as a friend. He served on my doctoral committee when I received my Doctor of Ministry degree.
August 9 – I had an opportunity to speak to school principals, administrators, and educators at an event sponsored by the River Region Chamber of Commerce and the City and County Commissions. It was an opportunity to highlight education. Teachers have such a huge impact on society. I was honored to encourage educators and to help increase community support for education.
August 10-12 – I traveled to Highlands, NC. I participated in the ministry of Paul Christy and the people at the Highlands United Methodist Church as I preached at the two morning worship services on Sunday. Highlands is a unique community.
August 17-21 – I went to Epworth Assembly which is located in Ludington, Michigan. I preached at the Assembly on Sunday morning and Sunday night. I had a workshop on Monday morning. I was so impressed with a lot of young college students and students just out of college who have made genuine commitments to Christ and are looking for ways to deploy their talents. A former member of the House of Representatives, Jay Dickey, was my host. He has a marvelous ministry with these young people. One young man who has a college degree and a post graduate degree at two of the highly respected universities in the United States, and he comes from a very influential family, has become a Christian and has a great witness about now investing his life in making a difference in helping people spiritually through some very creative ministries.
August 23 – I officiated at the funeral of Jack Shows. He served as in some important positions in local, county and state government in doing investigations. He and Judge Walker Hobbie always sat with each other at church at the 8:00 worship every Sunday morning. Jack’s gravesite is next to Judge Hobbie’s.
August 25 – I officiated at the wedding of Elizabeth Hard and Bo Stone. As a high school student I worked for Elizabeth’s grandfather in Opelika for two summers. We worked for Orradio, which became Ampex, which became one of the leaders producing magnetic recording tape.
August 26-28 – I preached at a beautiful country church, Ivy Creek United Methodist Church, which is just outside of Prattville. Lance Eiland is the pastor. People there really love and appreciate him. I also learned that Ivy Creek is the home church of several of my good friends.
August 31-September 3 – Went to Stuttgart, Arkansas where I preached at the morning worship services to start their stewardship campaign. David Bush is a marvelous friend and pastor. He is one of the visionary leaders in the Methodist Church in Arkansas. Stuttgart is a huge place for hunting ducks, dove, etc. I went on my first dove shoot on Sunday afternoon. This dove shoot was a traditional beginning of the dove season. I didn’t actually fire a gun since I didn’t have a license and there were a lot of notable political people present, but especially the game wardens.
September 5 – I attended the Boys’ Work Committee at the YMCA. I was a member of that committee when I first moved to Montgomery 40 years ago. They invited “an old man” back to participate. I am a huge supporter of the YMCA. I have served on the Metro Board of Directors for 35 years. The Montgomery YMCA really emphasizes the C (Christian) aspect of the Y.
September 7-10 – I went to Springfield, Missouri to be a part of the ministry of Dr. Bruce Baxter and Dr. Jerry Boehmer. Saturday morning they had all of the church leaders meet for a 3-hour seminar. On Saturday night we met with about 30 couples who are going to give leadership in their stewardship program. On Sunday I preached four times.
September 12 – For the fifth straight year I participated (“not played”) with the Troy University Fellowship of Christian Athletes golf tournament. It is a fund raiser for FCA. I am so impressed with the fact that Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Athletic Director Steve Dennis, Vice Presidents and alumni give such good support to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Ronnie Cochran is the FCA staff member and does a super job.
September 15-20 – I was in Hattiesburg, Mississippi for four days and preached at Heritage United Methodist Church with Dr. Tommy Artmann. His church is really alive with young couples and young people. Tommy is special because he worked at Frazer for almost a year in our youth ministry. He had to return to Jackson, Mississippi to care for his aging parents. While he was in Montgomery, an important thing happened. The daughter of a prominent Jewish family in Montgomery heard a sermon I preached on the radio, made a decision for Christ, joined Frazer, met Tommy, and now Paula is a tremendous pastor’s wife. She gave me a manuscript of the sermon I preached when she was converted in 1982. That is special! I was greatly encouraged by the wonderful ministry taking place at Heritage.
September 22-25 – I traveled to Searcy, Arkansas to be with Rev. David Orr. I preached there at the two morning worship services on Sunday and Monday evening worships services. My son Si went to help with the driving. We had an opportunity to meet with staff persons on Monday and then have lunch with the lay leadership of the church. I have been to several churches in Arkansas and First United Methodist Searcy is one of those exciting places of ministry.
September 29-30 – I went to Cleveland, Ohio to be part of the ministry of Rev. Daniel Bogre at the Rocky River United Methodist Church. This is a rapidly growing church. They were completing a whole month where they focused on vision for the future. I spoke to church leadership on Saturday and had the opportunity to preach twice on Sunday. God is doing great things “up North” in Rocky River United Methodist Church and the experience I had at Epworth Assembly in Michigan.
My leadership board has encouraged us to develop the opportunities of social media. Soon we expect to have a 2-minute audio devotion each day on Facebook. We are working on that. Please continue to pray for us.
For the Cause of causes,
John Ed Mathison