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Marion Christian Fellowship adds associate pastor

Joseph Raber of Shipshewana recently joined the pastoral team at Marion Christian Fellowship. He was licensed and installed as associate pastor at Marion on November 19. The church is located 4½ miles west of Howe on CR 450W.

Pastors Ron and Char Roth spoke of the church’s recent addition. “We are very happy to have Joseph on board as part of the pastoral team,” they said. “He will be an awesome addition to help in sharing the load as he focuses on his calling here at Marion.”

“Our focus has been and always will be to share the good news of Jesus Christ in our community of faith and out into the world. For the past 20 years, 12 here at Marion, we have and will continue to walk with and shepherd God’s people, as we preach the Gospel’s good news of salvation and the enormous love of our Lord and Savior! We look forward to the future as Joseph joins the Pastoral Ministry Team here at Marion Christian Fellowship,” Pastor Roth said.

In looking toward the future, Pastor Raber said, “My goal in ministry is to bring people to a better, fuller understanding of the gospel of grace. To bring to light the unending glory of God in all of the work that I do. I want to lift up Christ and say, ‘Look, look, look,’ and have people see.”

“My vision for the church is a community of folks who care for and disciple one another. Where the Gospel is what draws people together and defines the community of believers at this local church of Marion Christian Fellowship. That we might love each other to a better understanding of Christ and his finished work as we strive to be conformed to his image and grow up into Christ who is the head,” he stated.

Pastor Raber attended Indiana Wesleyan University with the intention of becoming a doctor. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in biology and a Master’s degree in biology from IPFW.

But while Pastor Raber was striving with every intention of becoming a medical doctor, God had other plans for him. “It became clear that this was not something I was to pursue. I finished my degree and prayed and waited for what God would lead me to. I began teaching at Clinton Christian School, while at the same time beginning to teach Sunday School at church,” he said.

“I think the church saw the call on me before I heard it myself,” he explained further. “As I began to sense the call myself, I began to pray and after much prayer found that I have an overwhelming desire to preach the Gospel. I think that is what it means to be a pastor, to preach the Gospel and shepherd the people.

“This is not a way that I would have chosen for myself t10 years ago, but I can see how God’s way is much better than mine. I have a deep love for the people of God, especially in this church. A love that drives me to desire a deeper understanding of God, His Son Jesus and the Gospel for every person. I want to have an understanding of the Gospel that shapes every area of their lives. My greatest desire in life is to be faithful to God, to preach the Gospel and see people changed by the power of God, knowing that it is not anything that I do, but what God does that changes people.”

While Pastor Raber currently serves as associate pastor at Marion, he continues to teach full time at Clinton Christian School in Goshen and will continue to do so until his responsibilities increase further at church.

Pastor Raber met Melissa Mast in elementary school. They grew up friends and were married on June 12, 2010. They have three children, Addy, 5, Lucas, 3, and Asher, 1.

Melissa Raber confided that she herself felt the call to ministry at an early age, but that call has led her to other areas of service. She serves on the Marion Worship Team, planning events, and volunteering and encouraging where or when needed. 

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in nursing from Indiana Wesleyan University. She practices nursing one day a week at Parkview LaGrange Hospital.