It was not just another Friday night service at The Worship Center but it was the culmination of much thought, prayer, and go for it, that several pastors from across the Metropolitan Toledo, Southern Ohio, and Northeast Ohio, would gather together in a sagacious manner where minds over matter would yield great results.
The Worship Center at Collingwood and Bancroft streets, would host pastors from every Reformation imaginable. At the hands of the Host, Bishop Patricia McKinstry, reaching for the stars of one of the “Father’s in the Vineyard “ as her goal, it was very much achieved. She sought for a man and found Bishop J. D. Ellis of the Metropolitan College of Bishops, Cleveland, Ohio. His task was to wade through a contemplation of anticipatory responses to whose smarter than a millennial in “PASTORING IN THE 21st CENTURY CHURCH”. The irony of all of the anticipation that invaded the room seemed to have been housed more by Baby Boomers born in 1946-1964, who pastor, than Millennials who pastor born 1981-1997, or who may be in position to pastor, even though a few were present. The evening was designed to garner wisdom from a general who has seen transition after transition take place in the church, as well as to provide workable approaches with solutions for the complicated matters arising during one’s pastorate. As the evening progressed, it became evident that Bishop Ellis would topple subjects that pastors echoed as matters of the heart in their churches, through the clapping of hands, nodding of heads, and the burst of amens that erupted emphatically with a Yes Lord.
Bishop Ellis shared his past and how he evolved into the MOG that he is today. He spoke about about some of the highs and lows as a leader and how hearing the voice of God has to be the foundation for a pastor no matter the Generation. His examples of pastoring, co-pastoring, family involvement in ministry, homosexuality in the church, leading in integrity, mothering and fathering the youth while teaching them basic hygiene practices as a necessary tool, women in ministry, which he strongly supports, the electability of presidential candidates and his personal philosophical belief, which was tested by one attendee who later incited a negative response from the pastors causing Bishop Ellis to adamantly suggest he refrain from his thoughts and sharing them without being asked to upstage the purpose for the evening. In fact he told him to sit down and shut up, which brought a mixed bag of reactions and responses from the audiences. Not for nought, the evening ended on a great way to spend your Friday as ecumenically as possible. This exchange provided an interlude to what would take place on Saturday beginning at 1:00 with a dinner spread being prepared for Pastors, Clergy, and Spouses.
Saturday comes and the multi-purpose room is filled to the brim with clergy and spouses getting ready for a feast that would leave one breathless and of course full, after indulging in a menu that was exhaustive, from the minute one started with a barrage of salads, to a tasty hot dinner selection of 16 items and 3 meats, to homemade desserts that dared not leave you wanting for more. Minister Chris Byrd, Minister of Music at the Worship Center, provided a great reception for attendees to embrace the ambiance and food to come, through a musical repertoire listing the menu in song with garnered hosts parading through the hall behind him, who would make the dining experience equal to a 5 star studded dining restaurant.
What a prime introduction to fellowship for Pastors who rarely gather in such manner without the encounter of sadness or other serious matters. This gathering provided a well needed fellowship witnessed by those in attendance that ranged from as far as Houston, Tx., Columbus, Oh., Elyria, Oh., Fremont, Oh., Fostoria, Oh. and Detroit, Mi.
Koinonia, intimate spiritual communion, fellowship, and participation by a body of believers, was very much established, supported, and embraced at this dinner spread. Bishop Patricia McKinstry, host and brainchild of the services for the weekend, states that she had attended a fellowship at Dr. Blandine Walls church and met pastors at the meeting that she did not know and Pastor Francine Brown had offered a subject of Pastoring in the 21st Century Church. She grabbed hold to the idea and birthed this gathering. It was not designed to do anything, no agenda, no denominational attachments mentioned, just plain ole fellowship was the idea. Hats off and bless you Bishop McKinstry for a job well done. You did it!