“Dignifying the Demoralized” from Calhoun County and Beyond
Sitting in the church cafe surrounded by photos depicting different people and places around the globe, Dr. Lenny Luchetti, the lead pastor of Woodland Church in Battle Creek Michigan, explained that without a global missional focus in their church over the past decade, the photos were simply fading to the background — context forgotten.
Ian Swyers, director of operations at Global Partners (GP), recalls this scene from nine months ago, when meeting with Lenny, who at the time was only halfway through his first year at Woodland. Ian met with Lenny and Woodland’s outreach team to work through a process called Missional Coaching, which helps churches clarify their local and global engagement strategies.
After working to discern what Woodland felt called to pursue, Lenny said that they were able to come up with a plan to “dignify the demoralized” locally, nationally and globally.
Over the next few months, Lenny and his “Going Team” continued to pray and determine what global opportunities they wanted to support. They felt the Lord prompting them to explore the possibility of a partnership with the Wesleyan Church in South Asia, and to support a new GP missionary couple preparing to move to South Asia full-time.
It was just a year after working through Missional Coaching that Lenny and his wife Amy found themselves in South Asia, meeting church leaders face-to-face during the South Asia leadership conference, illustrating a significant prioritization of global missions.
While in South Asia, Lenny and Amy spent time with pastoral leaders from four South Asian countries, learning more about what life is like living where they experience persecution while surrounded by poverty.
“They face pastoral challenges that we in the West don’t have to endure,” Lenny explained. “We came away not only hurting for our South Asian brothers and sisters, but hopeful for the advance of God’s kingdom in that part of the world.”
Following this experience, Lenny said they feel convicted and inspired. South Asian pastoral leaders are devalued and persecuted in various ways, Lenny said, yet they are not deterred from the mission to share Christ.
“The church in South Asia is small but growing, full of vibrant joy and a sense of mission. We learned so much from their passionate commitment to make Jesus Christ famous,” he added.
Not only did the Luchettis get to spend time with South Asian leaders, they were also blessed to witness the ordination of a South Asian country’s first Wesleyan pastor. Obed was brought forward, commissioned in front of many, and blessed as he sets out to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As Lenny leads Woodland forward in their partnership with the Wesleyan Church of South Asia, he said they want a mutually beneficial partnership — one that is more like a friendship.
“Woodland’s mission is to gather, grow and go to see Jesus transform lives in Calhoun County and beyond. South Asia is our ‘beyond,’” he explained. “I want to pastor people at Woodland to become globally minded Christians who care about making Jesus famous not just locally but globally.”
Director of GP Communication and Asia Pacific Area Director, Ben Ward, said Woodland has historically been one of the most influential churches in the Wesleyan movement, as many leaders were discipled in Woodland.
“To see this church take bold, strategic steps toward engagement in South Asia is very exciting,” Ben said. “South Asia is a challenging place for North American churches to engage, because of the vast geographical distance and cultural differences. Woodland Church is stepping up to the challenge to engage in one of the most populated yet least reached areas of the world.”
We praise God for the ways in which He has prompted and inspired Lenny and Woodland Church’s hearts toward global missions. Partnerships like these are tremendously important as we all strive to play a part in what God is doing around the world.
If you or your church is interested in pursuing similar partnerships, please email us at email@example.com for more.