Nazarene churches get new direction
The Hanging Rock and Faith United Nazarene churches have a new pastor that will lead them in a new partnership with First Nazarene Church.
The goal is to facilitate a working team relationship between congregations that will allow them to pool their resources in order to make the biggest difference possible in the local community.
On Sunday, the Rev. Kirk Johnson was installed as the pastor of Hanging Rock and Faith United. He and his wife Katie and their two children, Khloe and Kaelyn, arrived in Ironton two weeks ago from Wyoming, Ill.
Johnson will team up with Rev. Rob Hale at First Nazarene Church to combine and share their respective congregations’ resources and develop joint projects.
The churches are not merging, but will instead be part of a multi site congregation, explained the Rev. Trevor Johnston, district superintendent for the central Ohio district for the Church of the Nazarene. He said the Church of the Nazarene has numerous multi site churches in central Ohio district but it is still a relatively new concept.
“Those three churches will be working together to combine efforts in terms of vision and ministry for the people of Ironton,” said Rev. Trevor Johnston. “We will still have facilities and the ministries at Hanging Rock and the facilities and ministries at Faith United. They will be working in harmony and in conjunction with the Ironton
First Nazarene Church.
“Our goal is to do something a little bit new and different at least for us. What we’re trying to do is take the whole idea of team to a new level. Instead of teaming up with people inside our churches to impact our community we’re trying to team up as churches and so we’re combining our strengths, we’re combining our resource, we’re coming our manpower all to make a difference throughout the Tri-State,” said Rev. Kirk Johnson.
At his previous Illinois church, Wyoming Church of the Nazarene, Rev. Kirk Johnson helped to facilitate partnerships with his church and churches of other denominations, working with a Baptist congregation to manage a pregnancy center and a Methodist Church to gather and distribute food to needy families during the holidays.
The opportunity to work with numerous Nazarene congregations in southern Ohio is what piqued his interest in moving here, he said. “I’m really about reaching out and trying to form this bigger network across denominational lines. We are all on the same team and if we are working together we can make a bigger impact on our community,” Rev. Kirk Johnson said.
He said he also believes the multi site model will allow the church to attract more members while providing more opportunities for current members.
On Sundays, a 9:30 a.m. service will be held at Hanging Rock followed by an 11 a.m. service at Hanging Rock. During the week a Wednesday night service will be held at Faith United and a Thursday night service at First Nazarene. Both begin at 7 p.m.
“We’re doing something new for Jesus and I’m a big believer that if you want Jesus to do something new in your life you have to give him something new to work with,” Rev. Kirk Johnson said.
For his family, something new is also a new home in a new location. Rev. Kirk Johnson said the family feels extremely welcomed into the community. “It feels as if we have come home,” he said, adding they are enjoying the landscape of hills and rock formations instead of one with mostly corn and soybean fields.
“We are just excited,” he said, noting the family has been thrilled to find the amenities of a large city in a place with such a small town feel.