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hope for churches in stress

A Place to Mend

Seven years ago, Anthony Martin was released from a missions assignment in Jamaica. He felt a call to vocational ministry, but this disheartening setback caused him to question his calling.

In response to good counsel, Anthony pitched in as a lay worker in his home congregation. Amid this service, he was asked to preach once a month at Meckville (Pa.) Mennonite Church, a church that was nearly ready to close.

In time, both Anthony and Meckville Church began to mend. One Sunday of pulpit supply expanded to two each month. Finally, Anthony and the family were ready to serve every Sunday as pastor.

Anthony is bi-vocational, employed full-time at a hospital as a paramedic educator. He faithfully sets aside time for his wife and eight children. And for the work of the church, he relies on volunteers—anyone willing to help.

Volunteers may not yet be members, may have rough edges, or may have washed out at another church. It doesn’t matter. Anthony says, “People need to feel needed. They need to have a job to do.” At Meckville, people who have been neglected or rejected elsewhere are given a place to serve and heal (2 Cor. 12:9-10).

Meckville has become a church for people being restored--and attendance has surged to 70-80 on a typical Sunday. God has redeemed the hurt that Anthony and his family experienced to create a “safe place” for people who once felt unwelcome in church. Now they are glorifing God in a broken world.

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