Sunday, February 07, 2010

Zach & Becca Coffin--Spring Lake Michigan

Zach & Becca Coffin are a double-header couple that graduated in 2007—almost three years ago. I had each in numerous classes before they found each other and had them both in one class after they became a couple. Zach was a life-long Baptist and Becca was a Wesleyan from southern Ohio. They are one of those couples professors hope will find each other—and sometimes we “help” make that happen.

When Zach was a student he worked faithfull with the youth at a local Baptist church of 1200. I watched his wise approach to ministry even when he was a student and things didn’t go well in his church. The church of 1200 faced troubles that are not worthy of mentioning here but as a result its attendance dropped to 800 people, then to 600—it was not a pretty sight. As the church crumbled they turned to Zach to lead the children’s ministry then he became the interim youth pastor for a year holding things together. After he graduated the church eventually split.

Upon graduation Zach and his new wife Becca went south—to an independent Presbyterian-ish Community Church that was facing even worse complications that are beyond mentioning here. Yet as youth pastor he led the ministry from 15 to 50 in the following 2 ½ years. Zach and I emailed often while he was building a youth ministry in a “difficult situation.” Zach always had such a delightful attitude—never judgmental, never critical, and always took the long view for the sake of the church—not his own “career.”

So when I heard this fall that Zach and Becca were going to Spring Lake Wesleyan church in Michigan I knew they had got a winner. How well things turned out! Here was a mature guy getting a job at mature church. I like Spring Lake church almost as much as I like Zach and Becca! At Spring Lake Zach is th Pastor of Student Ministry and runs all middle school and high school ministries—about 150 students. He has two other paid staff members and about 40 volunteer leaders helping him. Zach is in a sense the “senior pastor of student ministries.”

About half of the students I teach are Wesleyans. The other half includes Methodists, Baptists, Nazarenes, Independents, Brethren, and even an occasional Roman Catholic. It is OK with me when these students return to their home denomination to serve and minister. But I am always delighted when a Baptist or Nazarene graduate winds up becoming a Wesleyan. I hope that’s not naughty of me but I admit it. I don’t try to “convert” them (Zach will testify to that) but when it happens I am always tickled inside.

Zach and Becca faced some pretty difficult ministry situations—situations that cold have made them quit or give up. But they persevered and kept pouring their time into their ministry and didn’t let the messy church situation deflate their motivation. They are examples to me and my students that they might not get an ideal church situation when they graduate… they might even get a really messy one… but here’s Zach and Becca’s take on it all: “We might find ourselves somewhere really messy but we can never find ourselves someplace where we can’t be used.” God has consistently used this couple who Love God and each other. I expect to hear lots more about them in the future. I’m Proud of Zach and Becca Coffin!

For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 1 Thessalonians 2:19 (NIV)

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