TIPP CITY — Ginghamsburg Church, the fifth largest United Methodist Church in the U.S., will welcome the Rev. Dr. Chris Heckaman on July 1, as executive pastor of ministries and chief of staff. In July 2017, Heckaman will succeed longtime Senior Pastor Mike Slaughter as the lead pastor for Ginghamsburg. Slaughter has served as lead pastor and chief dreamer of Ginghamsburg Church since 1979.
Heckaman, a Piqua native, is an ordained elder within the UMC and holds a doctorate of ministry. He has served as senior pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church, Columbus, and Sidney First United Methodist Church in Sidney. He held the role of Miami Valley District Superintendent, West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, where he supervised 145 local congregations and over 170 appointed pastors in the Miami Valley District, including Ginghamsburg Church and Slaughter.
“In my years of journeying with Jesus, I’ve learned that when God’s perfect timing arrives, it really arrives,” said Heckaman.
“Years of hope, expectation and prayer are answered seemingly in a heartbeat. This incredible God opportunity to be the future lead pastor of Ginghamsburg Church and part of the Ginghamsburg movement is a perfect example.”
Heckaman and his wife Lisa have three children. Son Seth is married to Nicole; daughter Katelyn is married to Jacob; and daughter Rachel is 19 years old. Katelyn and Jacob have blessed the Heckamans with two granddaughters, Gracelynn and Kember. Rounding out the Heckaman family are dogs Stella and Bentley.
Lisa Heckaman serves as a spiritual director, or a trained spiritual companion that journeys alongside another as they prayerfully listen together for the Holy Spirit’s leading in life.
“Through our 21 years of ministry, my wife Lisa and I have taken this New Testament vision of what church is ‘most to be about’ that Ginghamsburg models with us wherever we have served,” shared Heckaman. “Now we are excited to actually be able to come ‘home’ to Ginghamsburg and join with you fully in reaching the world God loves.”
“Pastor Mike and Carolyn’s imprint will forever be part of Ginghamsburg,” continued Heckaman. “Our greatest testimony to the depth of their leadership will be demonstrated through our commitment and ability to carry the New Testament DNA that they have faithfully modeled since 1979 forward into future generations. Lisa and I are looking forward to experiencing with you God’s continuing greatness through this movement called Ginghamsburg Church.”
Heckaman and Slaughter will have a year to work together on a smooth and future-focused transition into Chris’ role as senior pastor in July 2017.
Tipp City Campus of Ginghamsburg Church is located at 6759 S. County Road 2A. Worship times are Saturday at 5 and 6:30 p.m., and Sunday at 8:30, 10 and 11:30 a.m.