Winona Lake (IN) Grace Brethren Church has announced that, by congregation voting completed this past weekend, the church will be going to a “Pastoral Leadership Team” concept in which a team of pastors will report to the Board of Overseers and will be led by a Lead Pastor. The church has voted to call Bruce Barlow (pictured), who has been serving as Associate Pastor, to the role of Lead Pastor.
In addition to existing full-time pastoral staff of Dave Rank (music and worship) and Tim Wright (youth), the Overseers have asked several individuals to consider serving in additional pastoral staff positions and have interviewed these men. Discussion times with them will be offered and a confirmation vote will be held July 2-16.
Bruce Barlow was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the oldest of five sons. The family moved to Worthington, Ohio, for high school years and Bruce responded to the gospel through the testimony of his best friend and trusted Jesus Christ as Savior just prior to starting his senior year of high school. He became involved in the youth group at the Worthington Grace Brethren Church under the influence of Youth Pastor Don Willett.
Barlow attended Grace College from 1974-1978, majoring in Biblical Languages and Biblical Studies. During college, he was involved in student government and concert choir.
Barlow married Christi Coldren of Columbus, Ohio, in 1976. They have two adult children: Hillary Sweatland (23) of Kapolei, HI, and Trent Barlow (19), a sophomore at Methodist College in Fayetteville, NC. Bruce and Christi began attending WLGBC in 1976 and served as volunteer youth staff under Youth Pastor Dave Hobert during their college years.
Barlow then served as Associate Pastor of the Grace Brethren Church in Martinsburg, PA, from 1978-1984, under senior pastor Bill Snell.
The Barlows moved back to Winona Lake in 1984 to serve at Grace College and resumed attendance at WLGBC. Bruce was Associate Dean (1984-1990) and Dean of Students (1990-1992) at Grace College.
He joined the staff of Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church as Associate Pastor in 1992, working with Senior Pastor John Teevan. Teevan concluded his 16-year ministry at WLGBC at the end of May, and in August he will become director of the prison extension ministry at Grace College. As part of his community outreach involvement, Barlow is assistant football coach at Warsaw (IN) High School.
It is interesting to note that all five of the Barlow brothers are actively serving in Grace Brethren Churches. Rick is active in the GBC of Columbus, Ohio; Rob is an Associate Pastor at Ashland, OH, GBC; Tom serves with GBIM in London, England; and Jim serves with the leadership of the Alexandria (VA) Grace Brethren Church.