Daily Reporter staff writer
GREENFIELD — Five loaves and two fish to feed 5,000 is a well-known story of divine math, but Dr. Doug Carter likes to also talk about a different example of mystical multiplication.
The missions leader points to Jesus’ investment in 12 men, entrusted with passing on the faith and developing new leaders who would do the same, as the model in world change and leadership development.
“Our Lord … invested most of his time in recruiting, training and equipping a team of leaders to whom he could hand the responsibility to make disciples in all nations,” Carter wrote in an email from China, where he recently traveled.
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Carter is executive director of EQUIP, an organization that works to develop Christian leaders, both through helping church leaders hone their skills and also offering leadership conferences for businesspeople.
“We focus on serving church leaders; however, the biblical leadership principles we teach work in every arena of life — church, family, marketplace, government, etc.,” Carter wrote. “These principles focus us on serving others, meeting needs and solving problems.”
Next week, he’ll bring his message of multiplication to Trinity Park United Methodist Church as keynote speaker of the church’s annual Mission Celebration.
Nancy Grimes, an organizer of the event, has had a passion for missions for many years, reaching back to the year she spent teaching in Burundi in East Africa before she was married. Now, she helps arrange the two-day lineup of speakers and musicians for the celebration.
Sometimes, there are perennial favorites invited back, Grimes said, and other times Mission Celebration planners seek a new voice such as Carter that they haven’t heard before.
“I am really, really excited about it,” Grimes said.
Carter is a former vice president of World Gospel mission and still serves on its board. He’s the author of “Big Picture People” and “Raising More than Money,” a book on effective mission-giving.
Lisette Lewis will spend time with children and youth at Mission Celebration. She has taught children of missionaries in Kenya for two years and will move later this year to Uganda, where she’ll work with Community Health Empowerment and offer educational support to home-schooling missionary families.
Food and music are also part of each year’s celebration. A Taste of Greenfield dinner kicks off the festivities Sept. 26, followed by that evening’s service, which features Carter and the music of Trinity Music Ministries of Van Wert, Ohio. The Minister’s Quartet will sing Sept. 27; lead singer Joe Rutledge is a Greenfield resident. A catered dinner will follow the 11:15 a.m. service Sept. 27, and Lewis will appear at a youth pizza party that evening.
Part of the celebration is the gathering on Sunday morning of Faith Promise commitments for the year, when members pledge their mission giving. The fund supports more than 50 projects. While there’s a Faith Promise goal each year, Grimes downplays it, saying she’s more interested in people coming and hearing about the work going on around the world.
Carter can tell stories of the work he has seen firsthand, such as a pastor in the Middle East who during the course of 12 years struggled to get his congregation of 90 people to grow. Carter said after attending EQUIP training, he learned how to develop other leaders around him and is now leading a church of more than 1,000, one that is starting other churches.
Though Carter points to Jesus and his disciples as a lesson in multiplication, he will also talk about the increase of loaves and fish.
“Based on the feeding of the 5,000, I will ask, ‘Are you an adviser or an investor?’ I will challenge Trinity Park to greater investment/involvement in serving the persecuted church around the world.”
Mission Celebration 2015
All events take place at Trinity Park United Methodist Church, 207 W. Park Ave. Baby-sitting is provided for all services.
6 p.m. — Taste of Greenfield, featuring special dishes from Greenfield-area restaurants, in the Ministry Center
7 p.m. — service in the Ministry Center with Dr. Doug Carter of EQUIP speaking and Trinity Music Ministries of Van Wert, Ohio, singing
7 p.m. — JAM (Jesus and Me) and Junior Worship in Room 11, featuring Lisette Lewis, missionary to Uganda
9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. — service with Dr. Doug Carter of EQUIP speaking and The Minister’s Quartet singing
10:15 a.m. — Sunday School
11:15 a.m. — JAM and Junior Worship in Room 11 with Lisette Lewis, missionary to Uganda
after 11:15 a.m. service — catered dinner in the Ministry Center with everything provided
6 to 8 p.m. — junior high and high school pizza party with Lisette Lewis in the Ministry Center