From Pastor William D. Leitch

Tell me about a time you encountered God in your life!  Sometimes there are such unbelievable events in our lives that we think, “No one will believe this!”  Too many times, I believe that folks never share those strange events because it seems too trivial and that it really doesn’t count as an encounter with God.

Let me encourage you to tell your story because even the most bizarre stories can be conversation prompts that give you permission to speak of your faith.

Many of you have already heard my John 3:16 story, but if you have not, let me tell you how I use it:

My father bought a John Deere 316 around 1980.  He mowed three acres every week for about twenty years; then I inherited the tractor.  The bearings were worn, I was having charging problems, and I thought it would be a good idea to sell it and get a new tractor.

Then my neighbor asked me during his son’s high school graduation party, “Did you buy your tractor because you are a pastor?”  I responded, “Duh? What?”  He replied, “Because it’s a John 316!”

I never gave it a thought before.  My Dad and I never gave it a thought!  But now, I couldn’t sell my John 316.  I trouble shot the electrical problem and fixed that.  I replaced all the mower deck bearings.  This spring, it was time to clean and repaint the scratches and scuffs.

I pulled the fenders, hood, and side panels off.

I cleaned and scrubbed off all the built up dirt.  After painting the fenders, hood, and side panels with John Deere Green, I reinstalled them.  Thus, the resurrection of “John 316”!!!


So, what use is a silly story like this?  Well, I use it to start a conversation.  I call this a “Faith Flag”.  Many laugh because they know John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

Some hesitate, but give you “the look”.  You know “the look” – “Tell me more?”  Now you have permission to speak, and I tell them about the central belief of Christians, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

And that is all I do, unless they ask more or tell their faith story, then we go deeper into “Talking about Faith”.  Just to let you know how excited I am to teach people how to speak of faith, I actually finished this article 11 days before it was due.  Now I should check the AED in case Lynn Golen has a heart attack.


Church Information…Please remember that you can obtain church information from the monthly Lamplighter Newsletter, the Constant Contact emails you receive, on the church website (, on Facebook (, and postings on the church bulletin board.  Church Council Meeting minutes are posted on the bulletin board and sent out via Constant Contact.  We would like to see a better “open rate” when we send information to you via Constant Contact so that we know you are being informed of the activities that are occurring at the church.  If you have any other suggestions on how best to reach out to our parishioners, please see a Council member.


Camp Frederick Events…Saturday, June 8, 7:30 am, Camp Frederick’s 7th Annual Wilderness 5k Trail Run and 1 Mile Fun Walk.  Every dollar raised helps send kids to camp.  Registration opens at 7:30 am, race and fun walk begin at 9:00 am.  Cost:  5k timed race (pre-register $20; at event $25), fun walk (pre-register $10; at event $15).  The first 100 people to register for either event will receive a free T-shirt.  There will be awards for both male and female participants.  Register online at  If you have any questions about either event, please contact the camp office at the 6996 Millrock Rd., Rogers, OH  44455, phone:  330-227-3633, fax:  330-227-9005, or