By: Katherine Arch
Reverend Chris Arch is recognized as the “Pastor of the Week” for the week of March 16, 2016. “Pastor of the Week” (PotW) is a renewed tradition honored by the Office of Alumni and Church Engagement which appreciates local pastors for their service and faith.
Pastor Chris Arch did not attend Indiana Wesleyan University, but his connection to Marion is strong. He
was not only born in Marion, Indiana, but he also became a Christian and was discipled by local residents Ed and Merilee Velazquez during his later high school years in this town.
When Arch attended Indiana State University, he worked toward a history degree, planning to attend Law School. During his junior year, while attending an InterVarsity meeting, he sensed that God was calling him to pursue a life of ministry. Later that year, Arch heard Dr. McQuilken speak at a mission’s conference at Ball State University, he was intrigued by the speaker and
his talk about the need for overseas missions. Later, he looked up Dr. McQuilken and discovered that he was the president of Columbia International University- a seminary that was only ten miles from his parent’s home in Lexington, South Carolina. When Arch graduated from Indiana State, he enrolled at Columbia International University with the intention of pursuing ministry as an InterVarsity worker.
God had other plans. Partway through his first year at CIU, Arch’s academic advisor suggested he enroll in an Evangelistic Preaching class. Arch countered that he had no plans to be a preaching pastor and that he would, therefore, not need the class.“I remember him laughing and telling me he didn’t care what I thought, I would enroll in the class,” recalled Arch. Despite his protests, Arch enrolled and discovered that he immensely enjoyed preaching. The following summer, he was offered a pastoral internship in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Arch met his wife, Carol Hackmann, while he was attending CIU. Shortly after graduation, the two married and accepted a position as pastor of a small, Wesleyan church in Columbia, South Carolina. They stayed there for several years, helping it grow and expand under the Lord’s direction. In the winter of 1997, the board members of Good News Bible Church called Rev. Arch asking him if he would consider applying for the position of senior pastor. Around this time, several positive changes took place in his church, Arch felt this was God’s leading that he could pass on his role as lead pastor- God had the church under control.
“I applied and was offered the job as Head Pastor of Good News Bible Church,” stated Arch, “We prayed about it and it felt right.” In January of 1997, Chris and Carol Arch packed up their three children and moved from Columbia, South Carolina to Iowa City, Iowa. The church had previously been pastored by Arch’s father-in-law, but, he mentioned, the transition was very smooth. Quickly, he became involved in growing and leading the community which he had been given.
“Over the past nineteen years at Good News Bible Church, we have seen it change considerably. When I took the position, the church was predominately a white, middle-class, homeschooling community. During my time here, God gave us the opportunity to purchase and renovate the first permanent church building Good News has had. This physical move into our new building has opened many new possibilities for ministry.” Arch mentioned that before Good News had their current building that they met in a rental facility. When they were able to change locations the makeup of the church body also shifted.
“Our church is now a distinct mixture of African-American, Caucasian, and African individuals. We are excited to see this growth, but we contend that while we are excited to see our church grow in diversity, our church’s primary mission remains the same, to preach the Gospel to all people.”
Pastor Arch is the father of five children, David, Katherine, Joseph, Mary and Daniel. Katherine is a student writer for the Alumni Association and a graduating senior. Although he did not attend IWU himself, Pastor Arch has appreciated strengthening ties with Indiana Wesleyan and the Marion community over the past four years.
Written by Katherine Arch, Story Teller for Alumni Relations. Katherine Arch is a Senior English major at Indiana Wesleyan, and a member of the Track and Cross Country teams. She is passionate about sharing people’s stories and celebrating their unique divine potential in written form. Katherine also operates a website called “Join the Ranch” at jointheranch.weebly.com. It is about pursuing God’s purpose for her life and vocation.