PANDORA PASTOR GETS CLOSER LOOK AT BLUFFTON
A three-day visit to Bluffton University was a learning experience for the Rev. Lynn Thompson.
Thompson, co-pastor of St. John Mennonite Church in Pandora, Ohio, was on campus Sept. 14-16 as part of Blufftonís Minister in Residence program. The Pittsburg, Texas, native spoke to multiple classes during his three-day stay and urged his listeners in the weekly chapel service to "Watch the Source," a message based upon Proverbs 4:20-27.
He says he learned a lot from his visit, primarily that he feels positively about Bluffton students and their desire to walk with the Lord. Bluffton has "a strong faith basis," adds Thompson, who recalls taking walks across campus and attending an occasional chapel service when he was administrator and, later, CEO of Mennonite Memorial Home in Bluffton for 17 years.
His road from the pulpit to business and back again has been a winding one, although he says that being a part of Godís ministry has always been on his heart.
Thompson wrestled throughout high school with the question of going into the ministry but, when he could not make a definite decision, he decided to major in accounting instead. He earned a bachelorís degree in business administration from Texas Christian University, where he also joined the Navigators, an interdenominational Christian group. "God kept pushing me toward the ministry. So I went to seminary," adds Thompson, who went on to earn a masterís degree in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary.
He began working at a church in Kansas but, interested in the family ministries area, he resigned and moved to Missouri. He then worked as a substitute teacher, even though the pay made it hard to support his family. "God provided for us in those times," says Thompson, who has four children with his wife, Liane.
After teaching for a few years, he began looking for other job opportunities, and his mother suggested the long-term care field. There, he found employers who, liking both his business and theology degrees, hired him and sent him to Ohio. Thompson originally went to Findlay and then moved to Arlington, where he fell in love, he says, with nearby Bluffton. Following his long tenure at the Mennonite Home, he became co-pastor at St. John Mennonite two years ago.
Why did he decide to go from pastor to CEO, then back to pastor? "The Lord," Thompson says simply with a laugh. "All this changing and moving around may not seem like a straight path," he explains, "but itís been Godís straight path for me."
Bluffton public relations, 9/24/10