For our May employee spotlight, we would like to introduce you to Wes. Wes is the Executive Director of Ministry and Community Relations. In his role, Wes brings a faith-based perspective to our employees and members. He is a crucial part of building a Christ-centered culture at Liberty, both internally and externally.
Wes started at Liberty HealthShare in June 2018. One of his favorite things about working at LHS is the opportunity to share God’s message daily. Recently, as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, Wes has started a weekly live prayer service on Wednesdays at noon on our Facebook page. In those services, Wes leads LHS staff and members in prayer for our members, employees, coronavirus victims, and those of us adjusting to the abrupt changes in our lives brought on by the pandemic.
He is excited to be able to share more about himself with members and others, so we had a chat with Wes to help you get to know him.
What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
I have been in ministry a long time and love serving God in the unique Liberty setting. We are a ministry, and it is a great privilege to write, speak and share the message and good news of the gospel. I love praying for people and helping them bear their burdens.
What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Ministry team at LHS?
Again, the opportunity to share the message daily. I participate in videos, live feed prayer times, devotional writing, and one-on-one conversations with and for people that are looking for help. Jesus is the best help I know.
When did you start in ministry? And why – what got you into it?
I was raised in a pastor’s home but never thought I would ever be brave enough to stand in front of people and do anything. When God called me, He made it clear that if I would follow, He would furnish the grace and power to do what He asked me to do. I’ve had many different ministry opportunities in my life and God has enabled me to do each one.
Tell us a little about your personal testimony.
I came to accept Christ as my Savior between my junior and senior years of high school. Later, after leaving Bible college before my junior year, God found me working in a meat-packing plant in Cincinnati and clearly called me to full-time ministry. I went back to school and finished my ministry degree. In my life I have pastored churches, been an editor of two magazines, a communications director for a denominational headquarters, as well as the director of institutional advancement for a Christian university. For three years I was the executive director for community services at a sheriff’s office. In all of these opportunities, God’s hand was clearly at work. That is my testimony.
How do you see God working in your life? At LHS?
A few years ago, I left full-time ministry to allow God to do more much-needed work in my life. I wasn’t sure I would ever do ministry full-time again. I still went to church and tried to serve Him through my local church, but it was time for God to do major spiritual work in me. When the call came to join the team at Liberty, it was God once again orchestrating my life. The timing was perfect and the opportunity was tailor-made given my background and heritage. I am closer to God right now and feel like I know Him better than I ever have, and I’ve known Him a long time.
How has your church handled services in light of the COVID-19 social distancing?
Online services like most churches. Drive-by prayer opportunities in the church parking lot and daily devotional/prayer times by mostly lay people daily during the week.
What kind of impact do you think online services are having on the church community? Some people think it may be an easy, less-intimidating way of attracting new people, while others worry about what’s lost without actual physical meetings. What are your thoughts?
I won’t take time to go into all of that, but I think there will be much to evaluate. The biggest questions will be, did we learn anything about ourselves, our mission, and how did we handle our own spiritual life? Those are big questions. My favorites are the churches that have rolled up their sleeves and worried more about serving others during this time than cool online ministry productions. I think God really likes it when our focus extends beyond our walls and a Sunday morning service.
What are three words you would use to describe LHS?
Christ-centered, affordable, effective
What’s your favorite scripture or quote?
I love the whole Bible. It’s always hard to pick a favorite. I’m afraid it changes every day. For a quote, a couple favorites would be:
“Nobody gets into heaven without a letter of reference from the poor.” ― James Forbes
“The litmus test of our love for God is our love of neighbor.” ― Brennan Manning
“We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession... Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
How are you coping with the Coronavirus quarantine? Have you started anything new that you think may become part of your long-term routine?
I have tried to find peace in God’s word. Not so much looking for answers as much as for the surety of His presence.
What advice do you have for people struggling with fear or stress from the uncertainty of the coronavirus situation?
A vibrant relationship with Christ. Fall in love with Jesus and His word. Live and love like Jesus.
What is your most memorable moment at LHS?
Watching God work in the lives of individuals and knowing that God used myself or someone else to be a part of His plan.
What are your favorite hobbies?
I play pickle ball, shoot guns and still serve as chaplain at the sheriff’s office. This involves work with SWAT as well.
Who makes up your family?
I am married to an amazing lady, Francene, and between us we have six children – three adults and three teenagers.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work? What are you passionate about?
I love to read, study and learn.
What is your dream vacation?
I never took vacations until recently and I have learned to love them. I enjoy cruises a lot. In a perfect world I would love to own a cabin in the woods to retreat to on a regular basis for rest, prayer and relaxing.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Wes a little better. He is one of many dedicated people in all areas of our staff who are working to help Liberty HealthShare members. Check back next month to get to know another member of our team!