TIPP CITY — For nearly 40 years, Rev. Mike Slaughter led the growth of Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church from a tiny country church to a multi-campus congregation focused on local and international ministry.
This weekend, he will preach his final services as lead pastor at Ginghamsburg.
Slaughter is stepping back from the helm after 38 years at Ginghamsburg and 45 years as a pastor. When he and his wife Carolyn arrived at Ginghamsburg in 1979, it was a huge change of pace from the Cincinnati churches he was used to.
“It was at first a real shock to come to that little, tiny, virtually two-room country church,” Slaughter recalled.
Under his leadership, Ginghamsburg grew from a congregation of 90 with a $27,000 annual budget, to a multi-campus church of 4,300 attendees with campuses in Dayton and Trotwood. Another location is planned for The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek.
“Everything came out of that $27,000 — my salary and everything,” he said. “It’s kind of amazing what’s happened in 38 years.”
In the past few decades, Ginghamsburg and its attendees have launched a number of non-profits that offer help to nearly 50,000 people in Miami and Montgomery counties each year.
“I fell into a group of people who believed God, not just believed in God, and believed in what God could do,” Slaughter said.
New Path Ministries, Inc. provides assistance with food, housing, medical care and more, operating food pantries, a medical ministry, and a program that provides vehicles to households without any transportation. New Path also operates The Gleaning Place, Anna’s Closet and J.J.’s Furniture, as well as a GED program and another that offers financial assistance and household goods to those leaving the criminal justice system for a new life in society.
Another non-profit, New Creation Counseling Center, offers licensed Christian counseling and psychiatric services. Dreambuilders-Clubhouse trains teens to provide after-school tutoring and mentoring for children from at-risk communities. Joshua Recovery Ministry operates five houses that provide recovery programs, as well as a place to live, for men struggling with addiction.
Ginghamsburg’s focus is not just local, but national and international as well, Slaughter said.
Mission teams began serving in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Groups from Ginghamsburg have continued rebuilding efforts for families impacted by the 2016 flooding in the Baton Rouge area.
The church has also raised more than $8 million that has been invested in schools, sustainable agriculture and safe water projects in Sudan and South Sudan.
“There’s always a lot going on,” Slaughter said.
Slaughter travels widely, speaking at conferences and seminars, including Oslo, Norway, last week. He is also the author of 17 books.
“It’s not really fair to the church for me to be gone during the week and here the majority of the time on weekends,” Slaughter added.
While Slaughter won’t be lead pastor anymore, he isn’t planning on staying away. He will continue to train and consult with church leaders after relinquishing his role.
“It’s not like I’m retiring, I’m going to really focus on my global ministry and a big part of that is training younger pastors,” he said. “I’ll speak a few times a year and the rest of my time will be given to the global work that I do.”
Slaughter added that he is very excited about the church’s new lead pastor, Chris Heckaman, a Piqua native.
In addition to working with future generations of pastors, Slaughter said he is also looking forward to spending more time with his two children and six grandchildren.
To honor Rev. Slaughter and his wife, the church is planning a reception for Friday, June 23, from 6:30-9 p.m. on the front lawn of the Tipp City Campus, 6759 S. County Road 25-A.
He will preach his final services as lead pastor in The Avenue building on the Tipp City Campus, on Saturday, June 24 at 5 p.m. and for 6:30 p.m. recovery community worship, as well as at 8:30, 10 and 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 25.
“It went quick. One day, you’re 27 and suddenly, you’re 65,” Slaughter said. “But it’s been an amazing time.”
Reach Cecilia Fox at email@example.com.