SIDNEY — Connection Point Church has welcomed a new associate pastor, Chad Shepherd. The church felt it was time to hire an associate pastor because the church is growing and someone is needed to work closely with missions in the area and around the world.
Shepherd is married to Kellie Shepherd, who is a teacher. The couple has three children, Caleb, 16, Aleksandra, 13, and Sterling, 6.
“We’re a little bit of a unique family. Two of our kids are adopted. We usually forget which ones. We adopted Aleksandra from Russia and our daughter, Sterling, from China. There’s really a massive need in those countries. Now we’re a family. Kellie and I have been married 22 years in May,” said Shepherd.
The family recently returned from three years ministering to people in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
“We went on a one week mission trip with our church, at the time. It was mostly my wife’s idea. We were shocked by the poverty, the need, the attitudes of the people and the generosity that came from those who were truly poor. Over the next three years we started changing our lives, and we transitioned to Guatemala as full-time missionaries with a group known as Catalyst Resources International,” said Shepherd.
After their time in Guatemala, the family felt it was time to return stateside and await their next calling. That calling took the shape of an interview for the associate pastor position at Connection Point.
“Things were going pretty well, then God started stirring in our hearts a discontent. We prayed about it for a while, talked to some trusted mentors. My wife and I agreed to pray about it and come back in a couple of weeks. When we came back, she told me that she felt God had told her we were meant to be pastors, and He had used Guatemala as a training ground. We were where God wanted us to be. Now it was time to go back home to the states. I was having dreams with the same message. Within two weeks we had found someone to rent our house and sold most of our possessions and found people to cover the church,” said Shepherd.
As the associate pastor, Shepherd will have a variety of duties. He will primarily oversee missions. Missions, at Connection Point, have a variety of forms. He will deal with the support of missionaries overseas, church members who participate in missions, and the varied outreaches to the community.
“My first steps will be to be there as the congregation grows, to welcome new people and to help them meet us as individuals and helping them get connected with groups and meaningful activities that correspond with their gifts and passions,” said Shepherd, “Then we will grow those things into the community. Beyond that missions, not only in foreign countries but also in the community and the country.”
Alan Leach, pastor of Connection Point, is excited to welcome Shepherd on board. He feels that the church will be even more empowered to reach out to others.
“The growth we’ve had in the last 2 ½ years has doubled the congregation in size. Leadership and statistics say that when you get to 200 to 250, it’s all one pastor can handle and continue to move forward. We started talking about it probably about a year ago. We got a lot of applications, but Chad’s definitely rose to the surface because of what he had to offer. God moved in his heart and that of his family and they came here,” said Leach.
Shepherd graduated from Anderson University in Indiana with a degree in psychology. He will attain his seminary degree in May. Being in Guatemala, the majority of his classes were attended online, and he completed the coursework while working to build up a church.
“We did relief work and brought groups down to do relief work. I principled a school there and planted a church. We started with about 15 folks and grew it to a little over 150. We maintained it at that level with a goal of reaching out doing missions in the community there using the locals. We also led groups of teens who would come down on extended five week trips,” said Shepherd.
He also went through a three-year process called Leadership Forum through Anderson University.
“It was a really good process where we would be mentored along the way would take us through a track that may be Christian Ethics or planting a church or just different topics. Also, throughout that time, I had personal mentors. It was very practical and helpful in many ways,” said Shepherd.
Connection Point is located at 1510 Campbell Road, Sidney, and Sunday celebration is held at 10:15 a.m.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.