Listed below is a brief recap of some of the ministry opportunities during the month of February.
February 1 – Preached at Stuttgart, Arkansas at the First United Methodist Church.
February 2 – Preached at the Memphis Theological Seminary Chapel in Memphis, TN. This is an excellent seminary and is becoming the primary source for seminary training for so many United Methodists pastors in Arkansas, Mississippi, etc. I knew some of the faculty members and we had a few students from Alabama.
February 3 – Spoke at the STEP banquet in Montgomery that celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the ministry of STEP. STEP – Strategies To Elevate People is a tremendous ministry in this area. I received a call 25 years ago from Bill Brewbaker to talk about the possibilities of this ministry. Frazer became one of the founding churches. Judge Joe Phelps and other Christian leaders came on board and helped this become a powerful influence. Today there are some 25 churches involved. It has always been an honor for me to serve in the STEP ministry. The celebration banquet was very special.
February 6 – Preached at the First United Methodist Church in Springfield, Alabama. Rev. Mike Ratliff is the Senior Minister. It was a unique experience as we had three morning worship services. The 8:00 worship service was bluegrass service. They had some tremendous musicians and it was “down home.” We then went to a large contemporary worship service in the gym. The 11:00 worship service was traditional in the sanctuary wearing robes. In one Sunday morning you go from blue jeans, to a sport shirt, to robes all in the same church. It is a good example of offering different options to reach people.
February 9 – Tim Thompson asked me to serve on a vision team for determining how God could use Frazer to greatly impact a specific area of the city of Montgomery. It was the first “church committee meeting” that I have been to since I retired. As you probably know, I didn’t like a lot of meetings. This was a very valuable time as a group of about ten people are looking at how “transformation” can become specific in an area of Montgomery. I must confess that I dreaded a little bit going to a “church committee meeting,” but it was a very meaningful time. Please pray for that group as we are meeting with a lot of city leaders, etc. and are specifically looking at a long-term ministry in West Montgomery.
February 10 – I had an opportunity to visit the Cumulus Radio Stations and participate in their programming. Leigh Ann and J.T. are on Mix 103 and were preparing special things about Valentine’s Day and they gave me a lot of opportunities to record some messages about the deeper meaning of relationships, a Biblical understanding of love, etc. I also go down quite often and join John Longshore and Barry McKnight on their Sports Talk program in the morning. Sports Talk is huge in this area and reaches a whole segment of the population that other forms of media would probably miss. I also do recordings for the daily devotional that occurs every morning on WLWI at 5:50 am.
February 18-19 – Spoke at the First United Methodist Church in Hendersonville, NC. They had a special emphasis on Friday night and all day Saturday on spiritual formation and how to develop lay led ministry in the local church. About 300 lay people gathered on Friday night for a two hour session. Saturday we had sessions from 8:30 till 3:30 in the afternoon. The Senior Pastor is Rev. Dan Martin. He has just returned from a ten day trip to Israel. He arrived home at 2:00 am Friday morning. He was in the session Friday night (and stayed awake) and the entire session Saturday. Several lay people also did the same.
February 20 – Preached at the three morning worship services at First UMC in Hendersonville. Sunday afternoon I drove down to Atlanta and several of us who were in school together at Young-Harris College went to visit “our Pastor” at Young-Harris Dr. John Minter. He has had a lot of health struggles. He talked about how much it meant to him, but it meant much more to us to affirm his ministry in our lives during college.
February 24 – Spoke at the Wild Game Dinner at the Vaughn Forest Baptist Church in Montgomery. Dr. Lawrence Phipps is the Senior Minister. They had over 900 men present. It was a great time of fellowship, but was also an outreach event. Men were encouraged to bring unchurched men with them. It was a unique and effective venue for evangelism.
February 27 – Preached at the Luverne United Methodist Church Sunday morning and Sunday night. Dr. Ken Jackson is the Senior Minister there. We have about 10 to 12 families who are members of Frazer who grew up or are connected with Luverne. It was also special for me to be in that church because it was there that my brother George accepted the call to ministry during a youth revival at that church. The pastor was Rev. Joe Bullington. My dad was leading the singing and Rev. Red Hildreth was the preacher. My brother was just there as a high school student to attend and there God called him and he responded to the ministry. Also another great minister in our Conference Joe Bullington, Jr. responded to God’s call to ministry that same night. It was an awesome experience to be standing “on Holy Ground.”
February 28 – Preached on Monday night at the First UMC in Luverne. They have a beautiful new Family Life Center. This facility enables that church to have a unique impact in that community.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support for this ministry. I am continually amazed at the unique opportunities that God offers. Please pray that I will be faithful. Pray also for our Board of Directors as they give overall supervision to this ministry. Their names and a little information about them is a part of this website.
For the Cause of causes,
John Ed Mathison