God provided a lot of opportunities for ministry during the months of October and November. Here is a brief synopsis of some of the major opportunities.
October 1 and 2 – Preached in St. George, SC at the Indian Field Camp Meeting. At the Sunday morning worship service the tabernacle was packed and several hundred people sat in chairs under the trees. Drove back to Montgomery.
October 4 – Met as a member of the Alabama Sports Commission. The purpose of this organization is to plan and promote sporting events in the Montgomery area. We meet in the new press box at Cramton Bowl. You need to see all of the renovation that has taken place at Cramton Bowl and the building of a huge facility at the south end of the stadium. This is a huge square building where you can play seventeen volleyball games at once or several basketball games or indoor tennis courts. There is also a large dining area. It will be a tremendous asset to the city. The new complex has not been named yet. Since it is a square building, and there are some trees and shrubs in the plaza, and since it is located on Madison Avenue, I just suggested that we should name it the Montgomery Madison Square Garden.
October 8 – Attended the Hall of Fame induction at Huntingdon College for five new members. Anthony Leigh is giving great leadership at Huntingdon. The athletic program is extremely strong. I left Saturday afternoon to fly to Raleigh, NC. They were completing the study of Treasures of the Transformed Life.
October 9 – Preached at the First United Methodist Church in Louisburg, NC. I stayed with Dr. & Mrs. Mark La Branche. Mark is the President of Louisburg College. The church is across the street from the college. I did something I have not done in over 50 years – I walked to church on Sunday morning!
October 10 – Led a five hour seminar at Louisburg College for pastors in two of the Districts surrounding Raleigh.
October 11 – Traveled back to Montgomery. Lynn and I attended an In His Steps dinner as we were participating as Captains in this important stewardship campaign.
October 15 – Traveled to Fairhope, AL. This is one of Lynn’s favorite places to go.
October 16 – Preached at the morning worship services at Fairhope United Methodist Church. They are completing the study of Treasures of the Transformed Life. Mike McKnight is giving great leadership.
October 21 – Attended my 55th High School Reunion in Opelika. I thought it was 45, but they insisted it was 55. Some of my classmates have really aged!
October 22 – Traveled down to Port St. Joe, FL. to be with Mac and Beckie Fulcher. Both of them are products of the Frazer family. Mac is giving great leadership as the pastor there.
October 23 – Preached at the two morning worship services at Port St. Joe. The first worship service is outdoors. They call it “WOW” (Worship on the Water). It actually was pretty cool –actually cold – at 8:30 (EST) for that first service. I traveled back Sunday afternoon to be at Frazer where Bruce Wilkinson was beginning his seminar.
October 24 – Traveled to Nashville, TN as I serve on the Board of the United Methodist Publishing House. We meet once a year.
October 25 – I serve as the chairman of the Investment Committee for the United Methodist Publishing House. This is an interesting experience for me because on my committee is a man who recently served on the Federal Reserve Board and a couple of bank presidents. I let them do the decision making.
October 26 – Lynn and I had an opportunity to spend time with Bruce Wilkinson. He has been a big influence in my life. We attended the Sav-A-Life banquet that night.
October 30 – Traveled to Phenix City, AL to preach at Trinity United Methodist Church for their homecoming service. I served Trinity for 2 ½ years just prior to coming to Montgomery. The greatest thrill is to return to a place where you meet people who comment about the effect of your ministry on their lives. I stayed over Sunday night to preach as all of the Methodist Churches of Russell County came together for a joint rally.
November 1 – I was invited to speak at Citizen of the Year banquet honoring Dr. Jack Hawkins, Chancellor at Troy University.
November 2 – I love spending time with young athletes. Alexia Henig is the track coach at St. James School. She had a special gathering for her athletes and their parents and invited me to speak to them.
November 5 – Officiated at the wedding of Chase Fisher and Rachel Beers. It was a unique experience because they are the same age and grew up in the same church. At the altar where the wedding took place, they had been baptized as infants. They had attended Frazer Kindergarten and “graduated” on that stage. They were confirmed together at the same altar. They both were active in the youth program and participated in choir and drama presentations on that stage. Their High School graduation was held at Frazer and they graduated together on that stage. On Youth Sunday Chase spoke in the three traditional worship services and Rachel spoke in the three contemporary worship services. Now they came back to that same spot to be married. One of the great things about being the pastor of a church for a long time is that you get to see young people grow up.
November 6 – Preached at the homecoming worship service at Coosada Baptist Church. Coosada is not a big town, but they average over 700 in worship.
November 7 – I serve on the nominating committee for the Montgomery/Opelika District which met to select District leadership. Dr. Ron Ball our District Superintendent is giving great leadership.
November 8 – I was invited by Coach Reggie Barlow and Coach Payne to come over to Alabama State University and meet with the football team and offer a word encouragement and prayer. I have had a lot of opportunities with the coaches and players at Alabama State. They have had a great season, especially beating Tuskegee University in the Turkey Day Classic.
November 9 – I had the opportunity to have lunch and spend some time with Coaches Barlow and Payne. They have a great desire to not only coach football but help raise young men. Wednesday night I went over to Prattville United Methodist Church for the first of a three part series in their Advent Bible study.
November 11 – Once a quarter former Frazer program staff people and their spouses get together to eat and share great memories of ministry at Frazer.
November 12 – Traveled to Warner Robbins, GA to preach at Harvest United Methodist Church. Jim Cowart is the pastor. He had shared with me the impact that my ministry had on his life as he finished seminary. He had attended a couple of conferences at Frazer. His desire was to plant a new church. Harvest is only about 10 or 12 years old. They are averaging 2,300 in worship! I preached a Saturday night worship service.
November 13 – I preached three Sunday morning worship services at Harvest. It is an exciting church that is growing tremendously. It was a great thrill for me to be a part of that ministry for the weekend. Drove back to Montgomery.
November 14 – This was a day of travel to Branson, MO where I would be preaching and teaching in a Pastors Conference.
November 15 & 16 – Dr. Bob Pierson has put together some outstanding opportunities for continuing education for pastors. I had the opportunity to preach, lead two 1 ½ hour seminars, and participate in a panel discussion.
November 17 – This was a day of travel back to Montgomery.
November 18 – I drove to Atlanta to fly to Oklahoma City, OK where I rented a car to drive to Lawton, OK to speak and teach at an Evangelism event for the Oklahoma Annual Conference.
November 19 – I had the opportunity to teach for five hours to pastors and lay people on the topic of evangelism. Again I met many young pastors who had attended some of the seminars at Frazer. The host pastor at First United Methodist Church in Lawton, OK is Dr. Al Potts. He is a great leader and had served a short time in our Annual Conference. He had spoken at some events at Frazer.
November 19 & 20 – I flew back to Atlanta, GA and drove to Carterville, GA to preach three morning worship services at Sam Jones United Methodist Church on November 20. This was Commitment Sunday at Sam Jones. They were completing the study Treasures of the Transformed Life. Many people made encouraging comments about the study of the book. I also had an opportunity to meet with their church leaders at lunch on Sunday, before driving back to Montgomery.
November 23 – Attended a great celebration with Law Enforcement people and the presentation of a $60,000 check to pay for insurance premiums for fire fighters, police, highway patrol, etc. so that their families might receive some compensation if they are killed on duty. Grant Sullivan and Jerry Wills have done a super job in putting this PSIFprogram together.
November 30 – Will lead the second in a series of three Bible studies at the Prattville United Methodist Church. I am teaching on the topic of “How Transformed People Live in Tough Times.”
God opens doors. Please pray for this ministry.
John Ed Mathison