When asked what his favorite part of WMC is, Jim immediately responds with, “Kids!” He and his wife Amy have a heart for children, and despite their struggles through infertility, God has allowed them to adopt, not once, but four times and to have the opportunity to influence all the children and families at WMC.
It’s only fitting that Jim and Amy came to WMC in 1994 after they were first invited to a children’s Christmas program. During that season of life, Jim worked with GTE/Verizon, Target, and been a stay-at-home dad. Now he invests his time in kids. “I love spending time with kids,” he says. “I love investing in them and teaching the Gospel to them.” He also plans events for children and comes alongside parents learning how to disciple their children.
When he isn’t working with children and their parents at WMC, Jim spends time with family and friends, watching the Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Reds, and Indiana Hoosiers. He also enjoys working on the house and yard. His kids are also a major focus of his time, as he watches his kids in whatever activity they compete. The family also loves Disney World and would go every year if they could it. For his sake, it’s probably for the better. He recounts one memory, “I was punched by Miss Piggy at Disney World when I mentioned I was craving pork chops.”
Jim loves that there is a focus on teaching the Word of God at WMC, and the friendships he and Amy have developed are evidence of God’s faithfulness as they have helped carry them through some dark chapters of their life. “From leading me to Amy when I had given up finding someone and turned it over to him, to getting us through infertility, to blessing us with the opportunity to adopt not once but 4 times, to so many other ways God came through for us, God is so good!” he explains. “Because of that, I know that whatever lays ahead, I will get through it because God will be walking through it with me.”
Raised in a Christian home, Gary committed his life to Christ as a boy, but it wasn’t until college that he turned over control of his life to the Lord after a couple of rebellious years. In the process of seeking the Lord’s direction in his life, he shifted from a rewarding corporate profession to full-time ministry in 2004.
With a bachelor’s degree in business from Indiana University, Gary spent eleven years in business and finance. He later earned a master’s degree in Christian Leadership from Liberty University.
He began attending WMC in 1988 in order to connect with other young adults and to grow through biblical teaching. One of those new friends happened to be his now wife Stephanie. They have three sons, Loren, Aaron, and Colin. As a family, they love hanging out together and going on family vacations. Gary especially loves hiking, playing sports, and coaching his sons. He is an avid fan of the Indiana Hoosiers, Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bears and Woodlan Warriors! Gary and Stephanie also enjoy traveling together and hope to eventually visit the Holy Land in order to walk where Jesus walked.
At WMC, Gary spends his time investing in leaders and the personal development of our adults. “There is nothing better than seeing someone take a ‘next step’ in their personal journey with Jesus,” he explained. “I love the diversity of ages, backgrounds, and styles represented in our church,” he added.
Bert is on a lifelong pursuit to know Christ and make Him known. After graduating from Asbury University with a Bible degree, he also completed two years of Seminary at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He planted a church in Kittanning, Pennsylvania and went on to become Chaplain, Special Assistant to the CEO and Director of Leadership and Church Ministries at the Christian Medical and Dental Associations. He later transitioned to a role as the president of GO InterNational, a short-term missions agency based out of Wilmore, Kentucky.
In December of 2014, the Lord led Bert to WMC. He loves preaching, teaching, and investing in the people of WMC. “I love our people,” he says. “We have some of the greatest people. I love our church’s heart to serve the Lord and our growing desire to be on mission.”
Bert and his wife Cheryl have been married since 1989, and they have three kids, Joshua, Allyson, and Aaron, all of whom are pursuing the Lord’s calling in unique ways. Joshua worked as the tour manager for the band “We Are Messengers” and currently works for a Fort Wayne based branding company, Allyson is teaching school in Honduras, and Aaron is attending Asbury University to pursue a career in film or television production.
As a book junkie, Bert loves to spend his time away from WMC hunting for good deals on great books. In addition to reading books, he has also written three of his own: “The Heart of Youth Ministry,” “Leadership Proverbs,” and the newest one, “Servant Leadership.”
For Janet, her role at WMC was an answer to prayer. When she was ready to retire from Lincoln Life after 41 years, she knew she would need to continue to work part-time. “I prayed that a position would open up at WMC,” she shared. Four months before her retirement date, she was approached about her current position. “I saw God's hand in providing this position. It validated my decision to retire when I did.”
Raised in the church, she was baptized as a baby, but she accepted Christ at church camp when she was in high school. She graduated from Woodlan High School in 1969 and was baptized again as an adult several years later.
It was shortly after high school that Janet began attending WMC with friends who had invited her, and she has been attending for over 40 years since. Her two favorite parts of WMC are the church’s focus on biblical teaching and the people who attend. Her heart for the people of WMC is evident when she talks about how she loves to serve by teaching 5th and 6th grade girls in Sunday school and cooking Wednesday night dinners and EPICS lunches.
Janet enjoys her time with her two sisters and one brother as well as her niece, two nephews, and three great-nephews. She also has two cats that keep her company and occasionally attempt to help with her sewing and crafting projects. She also enjoys making baskets.
Debbie recognizes that her life, in its entirety, is evidence of God’s faithful love. In 2005 her family stepped through our doors as new guests for the first time. While the experience exceeded their expectations, it was their daughter’s love of the youth ministry that persuaded them to stay. Debbie’s favorite part of WMC is that God’s Word is regularly taught with application to daily life. “I love interacting with people who love Jesus and want to share Him here and around the world,” she said.
Prior to being on staff at WMC, Debbie has had the opportunity to work in the office of a plastics factory in New Haven and the IPFW offices where she attended college. In addition to her role at WMC, she also continues her role as Office Manager of Knoblauch Construction.
While she isn’t at WMC, Debbie enjoys reading and spending time following around her grandkids many activities. She and her husband of 45 years, Keith, have two sons, a daughter, and six grandchildren.
“I can’t remember my life before the Lord,” Tina says, “and I wouldn’t want to ever live a day without his grace, love, strength and mercy.” The faith in Christ that Tina first experienced as a child is evident in her passionate work with children at WMC.
Tina joined the WMC community in 2011 when her family was looking for a church where they could be actively involved that was a little closer to home. Since then, she has joined the team and leads the elementary portion of our Children’s Ministry. “I love worshiping and singing praise songs with the kids,” she explains.
She wasn’t always in Children’s Ministry, however. She originally thought she would be going into the medical field, attending Bronson School of Nursing in Kalamazoo, MI, and Western Michigan University for a year and another at Lutheran College in Fort Wayne before deciding nursing was not where she was called. Her love for children didn’t wane, however. She had the chance to work in the Post-Partum Unit and Nursery at Parkview Hospital.
She also married her husband Tim, and together they have served in youth and children’s ministry for over 26 years, including volunteering their time to run a children’s ministry at their previous church for five years. They have also raised three children and have one grandson, all of whom they love having back home for dinner and movie nights.
When Tina is not hosting movie nights for her family or worshiping Jesus with children on Sundays, she can be found decorating her home, and she loves to host parties.
God’s leading has been consistent through all of the unexpected turns over the years, but it is clear that he has a plan that involves her love for children. “Faith is a lifelong journey with its mountaintop experiences and its valleys, yet through it all He is faithful!”
Born in Downey, California, a far cry from Woodburn, Indiana, where she is now, Tonya’s journey has taken her though many different churches and many different religions before she came to where she is today. It was through the MOPS program that she made many friends at WMC and was invited to attend church here.
“My favorite thing about WMC is the fellowship I find here,” she noted, “and I always feel welcome.”
Prior to her work on staff at WMC in 2011, Tonya attended Ball State University and has had a range of jobs including waitressing, the YMCA, and the post office. It was when her son was born that she stepped away from her work there. Along with her son, she and her husband of over 20 years, Donovan, have a daughter as well.
When she is not working at WMC, you will find her caring for her family.
Stephanie’s story is all about relationships. She has been a part of WMC since the third grade after being invited by friends. “My faith journey was always there but never firm’” she says. It took becoming tired of running through the motions for her to realize what she had was something she only understood in her head.
Having experienced the difference between having faith in her knowledge (head) and in her understanding (heart) helps her in working with the junior high students. She can share with kids how their faith can be real more than actions as they are in such a formative stage. “In my role, I get to do a lot of what I love,” she says. “The thing I enjoy the most, however, is being able to sit with any junior high kid and let them know what they are going through is important and real. Just because they are young doesn't mean what they are going through is dumb.”
Stephanie comes from a background of working with people in several service industry roles and working with children at Raise Up Christian Daycare in Harlan. She continues to work at the daycare part time while on staff at WMC.
“I have a wonderful family,” she explains when describing how supportive her parents and sisters have been in her faith journey. “And my favorite thing to do when I’m not at WMC is to just take time to hang out with friends. I enjoy being able to just sit with friends and talk about life and really walk through it with them. I feel encouraged and built up after a night of just relaxing with them.”
Her favorite thing about WMC is that there are so many opportunities to jump in and grow or serve. “Anywhere from infants to elders,” she encourages, “there are so many places to apply what the Lord gave you to offer.”
When asked about her favorite part of WMC, Bethany emphatically answered, “The people!” It was the recommendation from those in the Woodburn community that drew her family to attend in 2009, and she loves to continue serving with that same community. “After our first visit, we knew we had come to the right place,” she added. “Being part of the community of believers at WMC has given me an opportunity to continue to learn and grown in my faith.”
Professionally, Bethany is a CPA with a bachelor’s of science and master’s of accountancy from Bowling Green State University. Prior to coming on board with the WMC staff, she has held positions at a range of companies from Ernst & Young, one of the big accounting firms, to a local Ag co-op and an orthopedic company. Most recently, she has been a stay-at-home mom who does bookkeeping jobs on the side.
Since 2016, Bethany has served as the bookkeeper for WMC. “Although my role doesn’t fall into the ‘traditional’ idea of ministry,” she notes, “I love that I can do something I enjoy and something I am good at to further the work of the church.”
Bethany grew up in a Christ-centered home, and she accepted Christ as a child. Being a mom allows her to instill that same faith in her family. That family consists of her husband Greg and their four very active children. Most of the couple’s free time is spent watching the children’s many activities, which include dance, basketball, golf, softball, baseball, football, and volleyball. When they aren’t attending sports events, they enjoy traveling together and just relaxing at home with pizza and a movie.
If you were to catch her outside of WMC, besides spending time with her family, you’d likely find her reading a book. She also loves the beach, chocolate, and Ohio State football. On the other hand, you won’t find her spending much time with birds, or ever find her eating sushi.
Martin gave his life to Christ when he was 11, but he fell away in his teens. After recommitting his life to Christ in his early twenties, he married his wife Judy in 1977. They arrived at WMC in 1985 when they joined Martin’s parents for church and have been attending ever since.
After 35 years working at BF Goodrich, Martin joined the staff at WMC. His favorite part of the church is interacting with all of the people.
He and Judy have three sons and two grandsons. While he is not working at WMC, he enjoys spending time with his family, coaching baseball for his grandsons, and playing golf with his friends.
He also spends time investing in the youth. “I enjoy passing on life lessons that I have experienced so that maybe they won’t fall into the traps I did in my teens,” he explains.
While Justin acknowledged Jesus as his Savior when he was young, everything changed when he surrendered to his LORD. A natural leader, Justin came to recognize who he needed to be following. “The day that my heart truly surrendered to God’s plan for my life was the last day I held tightly to my dreams, my plans, and my hopes,” Justin remembers. “I wanted nothing other than the path God has been waiting for me to run down!”
Justin recognized his passion for leadership while he was in a professional career path in operations management that led to promotions and moves for his family. He received his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics & Physics from Madonna University in 2005. From there he experienced what leadership meant in the workplace, including developing mentors he has even today. “I loved leading people, and I enjoyed optimizing how we did things to have maximum impact,” he recounts. “I learned quickly that leadership was less about power and titles and more about relationships and influence.”
In 2012, Justin and his wife Kyleigh and their children began to attend WMC. He had begun working with Youth for Christ in the area and felt led to be attending church with the people they were doing life with. “We were committed to doing church with the people God has placed in our circle, Justin explains, “and that place turned out to be WMC.”
Justin has worked with students at WMC since 2013, and it’s evident through his love for the youth ministry team and the culture they are building among the teens. His favorite part of his work is seeing students and leaders take the next step in their faith, trusting God and taking chances. “It is powerful to watch someone do what God has gifted them to do,” he adds, “watch the joy it brings them, and imagine the joy it gives our Heavenly Father.”
Outside of working with students, Justin loves spending time with his family. They enjoy board games, road trips, adventures in the woods, camping, bonfires, and just being outside.
If you need to know one thing about Gerald, it’s that he enjoys serving the Lord in any way possible.
As a graduate of Fort Wayne Bible College in 1945, Gerald has been serving in ministry as a pastor of various churches in the years since. He first came to WMC in 1966 as the Senior Pastor and retired in 1988. In 2002, he returned to staff as the Visitation Pastor. In his role at WMC, he enjoys meeting and showing care for people. “I appreciate the community that is WMC,” he noted.
When he isn’t serving the WMC community in his role, you can find Gerald working with wood or spending time with his ever-growing family. He is the proud father of three grown children who have all served in ministry, eight grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren.
Betsy grew up in a Christian home, but she made a personal decision to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior when she was 8 years old. After graduating high school in 1992, she went on to Huntington College and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in accounting four years later. Since then, she has worked in accounts receivables at Allen County Motors and in student accounts at Taylor University Fort Wayne before coming on staff at WMC.
Having grown up in the church, her family is what brought her to WMC, and she absolutely loves the people who attend and enjoys keeping the church clean and germ-free for WMC attendees.
When she’s not at WMC, she loves camping with her family (her husband of 17 years, Eric, and their son, Brady), and she loves to eat pizza. She aslo continues to pursue growth in her faith journey today through reading God’s Word and praying regularly in addition to attending WMC.
Sam’s favorite verse is Psalm 86:15, “But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” He is thankful for God’s love, faithfulness and mercy, and out of that flows his passion for worship within the church.
After graduating from Anderson University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, Sam has served in Worship Ministries since 1990 in various churches throughout Indiana and Ohio. In 2002, he became part of the WMC ministry team.
Now he passionately loves working with the people who are involved in worship ministries and share a similar heart to worship God saying, “I love their desire to honor Him!” he explained. “I love the variety of roles in worship ministry from leading worship to sharing the Gospel through the ministry of The Living Last Supper.”
Outside of WMC, Sam spends time with his wife and 2 daughters who are the joy of his life. He also enjoys computer coding, video editing, and computer IT.
Raised in a family who loved and served the Lord, Beverly’s life is a testament of praise, “My life has had its mountains and valleys, but this I will say: God is good, faithful, and true! He has been my Rock, my Joy, my Savior, my Redeemer, and my precious heavenly Father!”
She graduated from Millagan College in Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in Humanities, specializing in History & Literature and Elementary Education. After working as a 5th grade teacher in a Christian school, she worked for the libraries and as a substitute teacher before joining our staff.
In 1997, Beverly became the Ministries Coordinator at WMC, and she began attending regularly after that. Since then, she has changed roles to become the Church Secretary. “I love the people here,” Beverly explained. “They have been so kind and healing for me. I love being able to help those I work with and the church family.”
In addition to her church family, God has blessed her with six children, four of whom she will see in Heaven. Now, in addition to her two daughters, she has a son-in-law and a granddaughter. Beverly goes on to add, “Five years ago, the Lord brought my current husband into my life, filling it with love, healing, and new adventures.”
Outside of her time at WMC, she enjoys traveling and seeing the beauty of God’s world, or sometimes just taking a moment to sit on the deck with her husband to enjoy the beauty of nature.
Even though Shiloh did not grow up in the church, God placed people in her life who guided her in the right direction. In her late 20s, He finally broke through to her heart, filling her mind with truth. After attending several churches in those first several years, she and her husband were introduced to WMC through the MOPS group and have been at home ever since.
Prior to her role on staff at WMC, Shiloh was a stay-at-home-mom and worked with adults suffering from various psychological disorders with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from BGSU. Her role allows her to continue to have flexibility to spend time with her husband Nick and her daughters, Malia and Mylie, when the girls are not in school.
The people at WMC are Shiloh’s favorite part of our ministry. “Our church feels like a family despite the large congregation,” she explained. “There are so many great ministries that take place in our building and to me, we are not just here to clean the church, but to take the burden of cleaning off those who are providing the countless ministries so they can focus on the people.”
When she’s not at WMC, she loves to bake, read, visit the theater, and volunteer in the Children's Ministry where she dresses up as Rosie to help teach the kids about Jesus.
Greg comes from a broken family, but that’s not where his story ends. “Jesus took my life and put it back together,” he shares. “By His grace, He has enabled me to be more than I could ever be on my own. He has given me a wonderful wife and family and helped me overcome my weaknesses.”
Greg and his wife, Brenda, have been married for over 40 years. Their family includes their two children and their spouses and four grandchildren. In 1992, the solid youth program and Biblical teaching brought their family to WMC. “This church preaches and teaches the Word of God, the Bible. That is huge for us,” he explains.
His favorite part of his role at WMC is being able to share God’s Word and praying for those in need. “Over time, the caring relationships become part of our lives, like a big family,” he adds. “It has been a great place to serve and grow.”
Greg has had a couple of stops on the road to being a pastor. He has a Journeyman’s Card for Tool and Die, Respiratory Therapy training, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Pastoral Ministries from Summit Christian College. He has been in manufacturing support for tool and die, in physical therapy, and in an orthopedic operating room. He also served as an associate pastor at Westwood Fellowship for 3 years.
Outside of his time with WMC, Greg enjoys spending time with his family, target shooting, and jogging. He’s even finished three full marathons.
Jodie would describe her growth in the Lord as a gradual incline. “Slow and steady,” she explains, “He knows how to push me, but to do it in a way I need to see Him show up!”
She graduated from Ball State University with a B.S. in Elementary Education and previously worked at ITT in the Media Department.
WMC has been a part of Jodie’s life since she was a small girl. She served in a variety of ways, worked at a Custodian for a brief time, and even met her husband here when they were in fifth grade. “He threw gum in my hair, and it was love!”
Understanding its effect firsthand, it is no surprise that the fact that there are generations of families who serve and have faithfully attended WMC for years has special meaning for Jodie. Her favorite part, however, is that that everything WMC does week after week is Biblically based. “There is nothing more amazing to me than watching a 2-year-old struggle going to class blossom into a 5-year-old worshipping and telling me Bible stories,” she explains. “I know that I have done my job then. And the hugs from them are pretty great, too!”
Jodie and her husband Adam have been married since 2005 and have two boys, Landin and Eli, and are licensed foster parents waiting for God to place another child in their care. Her husband and boys are her favorite people, and her dream would be to travel through all 50 states with them in an RV due to her ever-present case of wanderlust and her love of being outdoors. She loves to run, go four-wheeling, canoe, and shoot bows. She also loves to read and go thrift shopping.