Sunday, May 3, 2020
An announcement from founding Pastors John & Danielle Freed of Waterline Church
To our Waterline Family,
Seven weeks ago, we were struggling with a major life-changing decision. As we’ve been in the “This Changes Everything” series, we have talked about how choices that are challenging bring anxiety, and this decision brought us a ton of anxiousness. Last year, we were invited to help the Great Lakes Region of the Wesleyan Church form a plan to raise up Christian entrepreneurial leaders who would launch life-giving churches across Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan. At the end of that journey with them, their leadership asked us to join their team in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and be their Directors of Church Multiplication. Obviously, this choice created a lot of anxiety in us, because it would require us to make some major changes in our lives, like stepping away from our leadership at Waterline, moving to Michigan, and trying something we could fail at.
Immediately we went to the Lord in prayer.
As we prayed, the Holy Spirit met us, He reminded us of the incredible 10-year journey He has led us on to launch a movement that is today, Waterline Church! We rejoiced and were so thankful for the way Waterline has raised up leaders, launched new ministries, loved our communities, and helped plant new churches throughout central Indiana! We felt so grateful, as we were reminded of how faithful and good the Lord had been and would be when we were obedient to His calling.
As we wrestled with this decision, the Lord gave us His peace. The anxiety we felt about stepping away from our role at Waterline, moving to Michigan, and starting this mission, caused us to focus on ourselves and our fears. But through prayer and a series of conversations and events, the Lord reminded us of our life-calling to reach people who are far from God and help them find life in a relationship with Jesus Christ. As long as we focused on loving God and loving others, the Lord felt closer; His presence calmed our anxiousness and allowed us to see HE would be with us, and HE would be for us. God revealed to us that taking this role would be a continuation of the work He had already called us to ten years ago in starting Waterline; helping multiple churches, pastors and leaders plant life-giving churches in a three-state region.
As an act of obedience in taking this next step, we offered our resignation to the Leadership Board of Waterline, and today, we ask our church family for your blessing. Over the next few weeks, we hope to have conversations with you, giving us a chance to express how much we love you, and to feel your blessing for God’s calling on our life. Hopefully, we will be able to be back together soon, in-person, to give hugs and say goodbye, or “see you later”. Our family wants to express our gratitude for you, by saying, thank you for being the church that Loves God and Loves Others, that is bringing life to every neighbor and neighborhood until God is first in every heart and every home.
We want to be open and transparent about the journey we have been on with the Lord in His calling and equipping us in our ministry and passions. We are transitioning to this new ministry out of obedience to a calling, not out of burn out, exhaustion, COVID-19, or any other reason that someone may wonder. This decision was not made quickly or lightly. We did not go looking for this change, the opportunity was brought to us, and we believe it was from God. We agonized over this decision, knowing it would be one of the most challenging and potentially painful transitions we will ever make.
Waterline Church has been on mission for ten years to Love God and Love Others, both through our Pendleton and Fishers Campuses-even around the world through technology. We are deeply thankful and feel a sense of expectancy alongside the sadness as God uses our amazing staff and leaders and church family to continue the mission God used us to get started ten years ago. We know that we will be leaving the church and mission in very capable hands and have faith that Waterline will be stronger and reach more and more people in the days and years to come. We would deeply covet your support and prayers both for Waterline Church and for our family as we begin this new journey.
We will of course still be in Indiana often and will hold Waterline very dear in our hearts, with deep gratefulness and gratitude for all Waterline has been and is becoming. All of you, who have poured your hearts and souls into this mission alongside us, you mean more to us than we’ll ever be able to express. The Apostle Paul’s words to the church he started in Philippi reflect our hearts and prayers for Waterline as well:
“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4 Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, 5 for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. 6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. 7 So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. 8 God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus. 9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ —for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” Philippians 1:3-11
Our transition will finalize sometime in June, and we would hope to be able to gather in person by then. The Waterline Church board has already been leading us into this change by seeking a new Lead Pastor, working with our District Superintendent, as well as helping lead the Directional Staff and seeking an Interim Pastor to help in the transition. The Waterline Board is available for any questions you may have for them about the transition. We are also available to answer questions, connect, and to express our love for you. We will have multiple opportunities to connect via Zoom, even this week. We look forward to “seeing” you and our hearts will continue in prayer and expectation of what God is going to do in and through Waterline Church in our communities.
Loving God and Loving Others,
John & Danielle Freed
Founding Pastors, Waterline Church
A response by the Local Board of Administration of Waterline Church
Good evening Waterline.
My name is Matt Myers. I’m on the Waterline Church Local Board of Administration and have been attending for 8 years. I first met John and Danielle 14 years ago when they were hired as Youth pastors at a prior church. They are great friends and pastors to many people and as you’ve just heard, God has called on them to expand their calling for church multiplication in a tri-state region helping other pastors plant churches. They have accepted a position with The Wesleyan Church in the Great Lakes Region based in Michigan and have resigned their pastoral positions with Waterline Church. While this comes as a shock to all of us with all sorts of emotions, we know God has uniquely gifted them with the skills required for this new position and it is a fantastic opportunity for them. They are taking a bold step of leaving here to follow God’s call to expanded territory. I mean, look, it better be awesome because yikes, they’re moving to Michigan!
Unfortunately, this great opportunity for them is also a big loss for Waterline. This is shocking news and I imagine you’ve already stopped listening to what I’m saying but I’d like to take a minute to remind everyone that Waterline Church is not John and Danielle Freed. Waterline is a movement of people loving God and loving others. Waterline is a culture of personal relationships and community outreach. Waterline is you and me in desperate need of Jesus, learning together to live more like Christ.
John and Danielle will always be part of our family. God gave them the Waterline vision and we as a church have grown to where we are today. I’m reminded of a Chris Tomlin song from several years ago called God of This City with lyrics “There is no one like our God. For greater things have yet to come And greater things are still to be done in this city.” We’re confident God still has big things in store for Waterline Church and are excited to see His work in action.
The Waterline board consists of myself, Bern Lytle, Susan Ferguson, and Roger Craft. We are actively working with our District Superintendent, Dr. Mark Gorvette to put transition plans in place including an effective date. We as a church board have met several times virtually to pray and work on these transition plans. We feel it is wise and necessary to first hire an interim pastor who will focus on providing a sense of stability for Waterline and fill the gap between John and the next full-time lead pastor. This will give us time to pray, listen to God, and ensure the right lead pastor is in place.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Please join us in praying for the Freed’s and their continued success. Pray for a stirring in someone out there who is being called to lead Waterline in the next season. Pray for God’s divine introduction to the new lead pastor and let’s thank God for what He has done with Waterline Church over the last 9 years and what He will continue to do in the future.
We’re sure you have questions. This is new and raw and you may find yourself going through various stages of grief. We’re scheduling an all-church Zoom meeting and you will receive information in an email coming out soon. In the meantime, if you have questions, feel free to reach out to any one of us on the board and we’re happy to answer what we can. Our contact information will be available in the upcoming email communication.
We love you Waterline. We’re in this together. Stay safe and healthy and we’ll see you soon.
Local Board Of Administration – Member At Large