In late 2019, Tim Wilmetti accepted the lead pastor position at Pataskala Grace Church, a Charis Fellowship congregation in central Ohio. Tim coming on staff was part of the second step of the revitalization process the church was undergoing through Assist Church Expansion, which was granted national ministry status at the August 31 online meeting of delegates from Charis Fellowship churches.
Prior to joining Pataskala Grace, Tim was pastoring at a United Methodist Church in Bluffton, Ohio. He was being mentored by Dan Allan, lead pastor at Grace Church in Ashland, Ohio, where Tim’s wife attended while growing up. Tim recognized the growing tension in the UMC denomination and was drawn to the Charis Fellowship’s commitment to Biblical truth. “I felt like this was a church that trusts the Bible, that believes it, and that will follow it.”
A core group of members and elders at Pataskala Grace voted to work with Assist Church Expansion after their previous pastor left. The organization works with Charis Fellowship churches in a variety of ways, such as church planting, restarts, and, in the case of Pataskala Grace, revitalization. In their revitalization process, they build the foundation of the church on five big rocks: unity, leadership, team, plan, and launch.
Assist came alongside both the elder board and the congregation to create unity throughout. Assist then began searching for a lead pastor. Tim spent months talking with Assist and the elders at Pataskala Grace, undergoing several rounds of interviews and preaching, before he was offered the position.
Assist continued to work with Pataskala Grace to help Tim create a vision team that would develop a fresh approach to ministry, starting with a purpose statement and list of values. Bart Blair, director of communications and coaching at Assist, mentored Tim through the process.
Bart said, “I’ve had the honor of working with Pataskala Grace since 2019 as they started their pastoral search. We identified Tim as the next leader for the church and I have coached him through a revitalization strategy over the past couple of years. Tim has proven himself to be a humble leader who, I believe, will be a great pastor for the Pataskala family, and also a contributing leader to our Fellowship as a whole. I’m thrilled for this church and their future.”
The fifth and final step in the revitalization plan was to relaunch. On Sunday, September 12, Pataskala Grace Church became the first Charis Fellowship church to complete the two-year program with Assist. They celebrated their launch with special elements during the service followed by an ice cream social.
“It’s been incredible having Assist help because you don’t feel like you’re trying to do this all on your own,” Tim said. He asked for prayer to see fruit of their labor and to see lives changed.