Reflecting on the Celebration of MEFC’s 50th Anniversary

As promised, this weekend’s festivities were quite memorable and here are my highlights of the weekend:

Truly I enjoyed attending Friday’s evening Pastor-Elder-Anniversary Committee Meet and Greet (not it’s real name) at the home of our senior pastor. There may have been 50 people in the house and so conversation with everyone was not realistic but I did enjoy the interaction with the former pastors. I especially loved hearing the phrase, “So you’re the guy who …. (laughter, laughter,)” One of the couples I especially enjoyed meeting were the Rodquists. Dave was the first youth pastor of MEFC 35 years ago and also gave a fantastic message at the men’s luncheon Saturday morning. I wish them nothing but the best as they continue serving at their church in Minneapolis.

The Men’s Breakfast was excellent too; loved the table I sat at. I was also blessed by those who continue to serve the breakfasts (Sam, Scott and the many volunteers). Though I wish they’d learn to serve some cappuccinos too :-), it’s always a great meal.

The BIG Reception was extremely well-planned, well-executed and well-received by all. I won’t waste the space talking about the appetizers and the squash soup, entree, etc. but know that it was all good. What I particularly enjoyed was the video presentation telling the history of our church. Very well done and I was grateful they gave a DVD of it as a gift.

There was some solid preaching throughout the weekend. Pastors Doug and John certainly brought Christ-centered, challenging words to us. Still loved by many in throughout our church, it was great for newer people like myself to have this connection with them.

There were moments that revealed the generational differences but that’s what you would expect at a church anniversary. It’s hard to please everyone on a weekend that was to encompass 50 years. Personally, I felt that we could have done a bit of better job telling the story of the last 10 years and I do not mean that as a harsh criticism in any way, simply as one who has been attending for the last 5 years, it was obvious to me and people similar. That said, I did appreciate that our current senior pastor was honored and I was truly grateful for the telling of the rich history of our church.

I was personally moved by the pastors who had served and loved our church over the years. It’s true that they are just men and there is always risk of the over-glorification of mortals but they are good men and I trust they are committed to the Spirit’s leading. Pastor Doug is a special person, the type of guy you could listen to all day. And Pastor John reminded of a professor I had at Liberty. It was also touching to see Pastor Bob Hickman honored throughout the weekend and that was special as there was a lot of question of whether he and his wife Ruth would be able to attend (due to distance and the challenges that age has brought). Though I came after his vocational ministry, it is clear that they have both taught our congregation a great deal including more recently, lessons in aging graciously and having a marriage that cares for the other. These pastoral moments were beautiful reminders for me to never take the calling of pastoral ministry (and all that is connected to it, like marriage and family) for granted, may the Lord keep me and all who serve near.

We were also blessed by our most recent former youth pastor, Joe Hensler who now serves as the senior pastor in Free Church in Allentown. He honored Pastor Bob as well and he also gave special tribute to our beloved Dr. Dave, calling him a pastor to pastors. Doc has met with every youth pastor almost every Wednesday morning for the last 10 years. Joe is right, he is a good, good man and we are all blessed to have him. Joe also encouraged the church to continue investing in young people, as he gave testimony that it was his time at MEFC that was quite pivotal for him, his family and his ministry.

Like I said, not everything and everyone got mentioned. We arrived in 2006 when Pastor Mitch was serving. If you have ever heard me talk about Mitch, you know I regarded him as one I truly admired and wished we could have served longer together. His exegetical messages are among the best I have heard. I have no ill-intentions when I say this but this man does not get the credit he deserves. The Lord worked through him in many profound ways and there were a lot of courageous moments in his ministry that are still reflected at Montvale today. On a personal note, this being my second church (and thus going through the process of healing from the “first church experience”) is something I will never forget and Mitch was a huge part of that for me. I’d say besides my wife, my parents, and those that have known me a while, he and Doc were the first to believe in me and my philosophy of youth ministry (it’s not really that radical, it’s anchored in disciple-making but that s another story). Susan and I miss him and his wife Faith, we’re happy for them and where they are and we are happy for our current pastor, his wife and family. I have always been blessed by the fact that there are so many wonderful people serving in the Kingdom of God.

Sunday’s service was fantastic as well. The choir was brilliant (reminded of Easter ’09); we even had handbells and they sounded great too. Extremely special was our time of communion. We are not a high liturgical church but we take the Lord’s Supper seriously. Aside from an evolving love for it, it’s really the only practice that has not changed in methodology for me and I was honored to help serve the sacraments. As one who enjoys many types of changes, I have always found peace in coming to the Lord’s table.

The “Anniversary Committee” did an amazing job through and through. Further, there were probably over 100 people who helped make this weekend happen as special as it was. I find this especially encouraging because I believe one of the lessons that I think we collectively walked away with was if we can make this as fantastic as it was, we can do anything for the Kingdom … and we better. The future of the Church of Jesus and the future of this church are the topics that occupy my mind quite frequently. This blog is a reflection of that and may my ministry be as well.

Indeed there was much to receive as we looked back and now let us move forward. May the Spirit lead each of us as build the Kingdom of Christ in our homes, our community and in our world.


  1. Stephen Malinchok says:

    Hello pastor tim,
    I enjoyed reading this and am happy to see your doing well.
    I hope we could catch up sometime.


  2. Stephen!
    Thanks for reading and I’d love to catch up sometime. I’ll message you my no. via Facebook.

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