Ginghamsburg Church welcomes future lead pastor

Rev. Dr. Chris Heckaman to arrive July 1

Staff report

Rev. Dr. Chris Heckaman

Rev. Dr. Chris Heckaman

Contributed photo

TIPP CITY — Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City, the fifth largest United Methodist Church in the U.S., is welcoming Rev. Dr. Chris Heckaman on July 1, 2016, as Executive Pastor of Ministries and chief of staff. In July 2017, Rev. Heckaman will then succeed long-time Senior Pastor Mike Slaughter as the lead pastor for Ginghamsburg.

Mike Slaughter has served as lead pastor and chief dreamer of Ginghamsburg Church since 1979. Under Mike’s leadership, Ginghamsburg Church has become known as an early innovator of small group ministry, the Church “media reformation” and cyber ministry. Since initiating The Sudan Project in January 2005, Ginghamsburg has invested nearly $8 million into sustainable humanitarian relief projects in Darfur, Sudan and South Sudan. Ginghamsburg has also raised $668,000 toward Imagine No Malaria, the first installments on a $1 million pledge. Locally, the New Path outreach arm of Ginghamsburg Church annually serves more than 58,000 people in surrounding communities via its food pantry, car, clothing and furniture ministries.

Mike is an ordained Elder within the United Methodist Church (UMC) and holds a Doctorate of Ministry. He was named the Foundation for Evangelism’s “Distinguished Evangelist” in 2003 and has twice received the Denman Evangelism Award from the Foundation in recognition of demonstrated leadership in promoting the United Methodist Church’s historic commitment to evangelism. In 2007, Olivet Nazarene University granted Mike the Reed Institute Lifetime Achievement Award, given in recognition of outstanding leadership. Mike was recognized as the Outstanding Doctor of Ministry Alumnus in October 2014 by United Theological Seminary. In May 2016, United Theological Seminary awarded Mike an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.

Chris Heckaman, a Piqua native, is an ordained Elder within the UMC as well, and holds a Doctorate of Ministry. He has served as Senior Pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church, Columbus, and Sidney First United Methodist Church in Sidney. He held the role of Miami Valley District Superintendent, West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church where he supervised 145 local congregations and over 170 appointed pastors in the Miami Valley District including Ginghamsburg Church and Pastor Mike Slaughter.

“In my years of journeying with Jesus, I’ve learned that when God’s perfect timing arrives – it really arrives,” shares Pastor Chris. “Years of hope, expectation and prayer are answered seemingly in a heartbeat. This incredible God opportunity to be the future lead pastor of Ginghamsburg Church and part of the Ginghamsburg movement is a perfect example.”

Pastor Chris and his wife Lisa have three children – son Seth is married to Nicole; daughter Katelyn is married to Jacob; and daughter Rachel is age 19. Katelyn and Jacob have blessed Chris and Lisa with two granddaughters Gracelynn and Kember. Rounding out the Heckaman family are dogs Stella and Bentley.

Lisa Heckaman serves as a spiritual director, or a trained spiritual companion that journeys alongside another as they prayerfully listen together for the Holy Spirit’s leading in life.

“Through our 21 years of ministry, my wife Lisa and I have taken this New Testament vision of what church is ‘most to be about’ that Ginghamsburg models with us wherever we have served,” shares Pastor Chris. “Now we are excited to actually be able to come ‘home’ to Ginghamsburg and join with you fully in reaching the world God loves.”

“Pastor Mike and Carolyn’s imprint will forever be part of Ginghamsburg,” continues Chris. “Our greatest testimony to the depth of their leadership will be demonstrated through our commitment and ability to carry the New Testament DNA that they have faithfully modeled since 1979 forward into future generations. Lisa and I are looking forward to experiencing with you God’s continuing greatness through this movement called Ginghamsburg Church.”

Pastors Mike and Chris will share preaching responsibilities on the weekend of June 25-26 at all worship celebration times for the Tipp City Campus. The community is invited to attend and join Pastor Chris and wife Lisa under the front lawn tent between worship celebrations for an informal reception. Pastors Mike and Chris will have a year to work together on a smooth and future-focused transition into Chris’ role as senior pastor in July 2017.

Tipp City Campus worship times are Saturday 5 and 6:30pm and Sunday 8:30, 10 and 11:30am.

Rev. Dr. Chris Heckaman Dr. Chris Heckaman Contributed photo
Rev. Dr. Chris Heckaman to arrive July 1

Staff report