One couple’s positive experience with The Wesleyan Church in Greeley, Colorado, years ago left such an impression on them that they have since explored the possibility of planting a church.
For the past several years, Larry and Pam Neuschwanger made their home, raised their family and pursued a banking career in Wray, Colorado, which is located in northeast Colorado near the state line. While they became involved in a local church there, something was missing. Their ache for a gathering that honored God’s Word and demonstrated a passion for the lost led them to Wesleyan Community Church in Bird City, Kansas, located about an hour from Wray. As the Neuschwangers grew in their faith, they sensed God asking them to possibly plant a church. Although initially hesitant because they felt ill-equipped, the idea was born in their hearts.
Doors continued to open for the Neuschwangers. Through the leadership of Rev. Dan Carson and the church board, Wesleyan Community became a sending church, sponsoring Cornerstone Ministry in Wray. (A sending church is an innovative way for a church in one district to sponsor a gathering in another judicatory.)
Cornerstone meets in a community center on Saturday evenings and operates under the authority and auspice of Bird City’s Wesleyan Community Church. Sunday school classes have just been added to Saturdays, held before each service. A recent report indicated that Cornerstone has averaged 19 since its first gathering on September 23, 2017. The Neuschwangers faithfully lead the church together alongside two other couples–all as volunteers. Currently, Cornerstone does not have a pastor, but the people have a hunger to gather to worship, pray, serve and bring the message of hope and holiness to the 2,400 people who call Wray, Colorado, home.
Since the Neuschwangers stepped out in faith to plant a church as laypersons, they’ve seen God at work in beautiful ways. A couple who had been worshipping in a Jehovah Witness church placed their faith in Jesus after Larry shared the gospel with the husband. Others in this small congregation of believers have been obedient to tell others about Christ and have seen those folks form a relationship with Jesus.
“We are very small, but we have such a joy in the congregation,” said Larry. “Seeing people come to Christ and them having a genuine desire to grow is rewarding.” The former banker simply wants to be a part of Jesus changing lives in Wray.
“Even though we felt like God would not choose ‘us’ to start a church, we feel that if the only reason he had us start this church was so one person would come to faith it was all worth it,” said Larry. The couple has full support from the Kansas District.
“Because the mission of God matters, the Kansas District is grateful to the openness of the Mountain Plains District to allow us to work with a church in western Kansas so that a new missional, disciple-making presence can establish a Wesleyan presence in a new zip code in eastern Colorado,” said Rev. Ed Rotz, Kansas District superintendent.