A YMCA under construction in Fort Wayne has invited St. Joseph United Methodist Church to launch a worshiping community in its new facility, which opens later this year. The church, under the leadership of Rev. Russ Abel, has tapped its associate pastor, Jason Morris, to lead the project. The Cabinet appointed Pastor Morris to the church last summer with the specific purpose of planting the new congregation.
There are other communities, such as Dayton, Ohio, in which similar relationships have developed between YMCAs and United Methodist churches, but we believe this is the first in Indiana.
The idea began years ago, when St. Joseph UMC voted to purchase 29 acres of land just a quarter of a mile east of the church’s landlocked property. Rather than relocate the entire church to this larger site, which they named Praise Park, the church caught a vision of becoming a church with multiple locations, including Praise Park.
A few years ago, the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne decided to purchase land for a new location and the land chosen just happened to be adjacent to Praise Park. After ongoing conversations, the Y and St. Joseph agreed to enter into a partnership. The Y invited the church to launch a new weekly worship service in its new facility. The church, on the other hand, invited the Y to use its acres of recreational fields at Praise Park. And now Pastor Morris and St. Joseph have the opportunity to serve not only the estimated 8,000-10,000 new Y members who will be frequenting the Y’s new location, but also to serve the yet-to-be-reached population living nearby who would never be attracted to St. Joseph’s original facility.
God clearly had something beautiful in mind years ago for that part of Fort Wayne. What future does God have in mind for your church and community?