First Posted: 10/17/2014
Ian Hastings wants to help those he serves improve their relationship with Christ and with one another. As the associate pastor at Trucksville United Methodist Church, he has embraced the opportunity to do just that.
Hastings stepped into his role just over a month ago and has “hit the ground running,” implementing ideas that bring people together. He believes those attending church are doing much more than attendees filling pews to hear a sermon, but that each has a ministry that goes well beyond a weekend service. He believes it is the role of the pastoral staff to equip its membership for serving others.
Senior Pastor Dick Williams, who has served the church for a year, could not be happier about Hastings’ new role as part of the church staff.
“Ian has the unique ability to connect with people,” said Williams. “And we work together extremely well.”
Recently, when members approached leadership with concerns regarding not being able to attend Sunday services because of children’s participation in sports, both pastors were quick to respond. A Saturday evening service at 5:30 p.m., instituted in September, seems to have solved the problem.
“Not only have we had parents of athletes and their kids come out to the Saturday service,” said Williams, “older people who might find it difficult to get around in the morning have also come out.”
The evening service, although having the same sermon as Sunday, is less formal, responding to feedback from membership.
“We don’t know exactly what the musical style of the service will eventually be, but Steve (musical director Dr. Stephen Broskoske) always seems to pick worshipful music that attendees respond to,” said Williams.
Broskoske oversees a variety of musical programs at the church, including four children’s choirs. Services often include songs ranging from contemporary to traditional hymns.
Hastings’ wife, Allison, is impressed with the willingness of the church’s membership to serve.
“People ask how they can become involved,” said Allison. “They want to help in any way they can.”
Young and old alike find a place at the church. A recent family game night brought people from ages 14 through 70 “to the table” in friendly competition during games of Memory, Headbanz and Connect 4.
Church membership also includes students from Misericordia University, who bring a renewed energy to the church and serve as role models to younger people.
Neither pastor believes insimply preaching a message, but in creating a dialogue with those they serve. Both are quick to use humor to build relationships and teach a lesson.
“Dick is very good at science experiments,” said Hastings, laughing. “And he uses them for good.”
In fact, Williams is skilled at utilizing a beaker and chemicals to make a spiritual point to youth during his children’s sermon. Recently, he demonstrated a container of red liquid becoming totally clear when an additional chemical was added to it, demonstrating the power of God’s forgiveness.
“When he’s addressing the children in the front of the church, all the adults are craning their heads to see what he’s doing,” said Hastings. “I think sometimes the adults learn as much from those spiritually-based experiments as the kids do.”
The church is truly family friendly with such activities as an autumn hay ride and “Election Day Café,” with proceeds going to the homeless, getting members out for fellowship with each other and building a sense of community.
The church campus, consisting of two buildings with multiple rooms, is usually bustling with activities throughout the week, from Bible studies to fellowship meals.
The church also sponsors a prayer chain which keeps members in tune with the needs and lives of others.
Looking toward the future, Hastings quotes his favorite scripture from the Old Testament Book of Jeremiah, “I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans for good, to give you a future and a hope.”
He believes part of his ministry is helping people find their unique plan.