I love to share some of the awesome things going on in and around our local churches! This is an excerpt of an article from the ajc on a local church not far from my home. Hope you enjoy and to God give all honor and glory!
(Read the complete article here:Ball Ground United Methodist Church | ajc.com.)
“To be the hands and feet of Christ to make disciples Here, There, and Everywhere.”
The church, which began in 1870, saw a decline in membership over the years. In 2001, the little brick church was sold to a Baptist congregation and members, under the leadership of the Rev. Ash McEuen, embarked on a plan to grow the congregation – which had dwindled to seven active members. When McEuen and his family left in 2006, the church had outgrown two temporary buildings and constructed a new church on nine acres.
(Jared) Lathem admits that he’s spent a good part of his adult life running from the call to preach. As the son of Dr. Warren Lathem, an influential and well-known Methodist minister, the young man wanted to establish his own identity.
He majored in media communications at Asbury University, thinking he would go to Hollywood to make movies.
“I had run as far away from God as I could possibly go. I was not a healthy person spiritually, emotionally or physically. I wrestled with God, had a knock-down, drag-out fight with God. I knew God had called me to ministry at an early age, but I had run from it for so long. In Venezuela, I was surrounded with the church, which was on fire, and I surrendered to the call.”
He returned home to become pastor at Ball Ground UMC, only a few miles from his home. He’s served there for three years as a part-time local pastor while he continues his seminary education.
A family tragedy also played a role in shaping the young pastor’s future. Lathem’s brother, Ray, was killed in a plane crash in 1996. Jared was 19 at the time.
Lathem explains that Ray also answered a call to ministry after years of running from it. In 1996, Ray went to Venezuela with Hispanic leaders of Mt. Pisgah UMC to explore possibilities for ministry there. On the way back, his plane crashed and he was killed.
A few years after Ray’s death, the senior Lathem began exploring ministry in Venezuela. In 2002, he began the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela, a seminary that provides an undergraduate theology degree to pastors and lay leaders in that country. During a visit to Venezuela, Jared met Lim, who later became his wife.
“It’s pretty amazing how God has redeemed such a horrible accident. My dad started a seminary there, and it continues to grow. The United Methodist church is exploding there. And I met my wife. It’s an amazing testimony to God that even in the midst of what looks like hell itself, God is present.”
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