By: Noelle Beans
Dr. Jim “Umfundisi” Lo now serves as the interim pastor of Parkview Wesleyan Church in Chesterfield, IN. Here at Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU), Umf, as students lovingly call him, serves as the campus intercessor and a professor of intercultural studies. Dr. Lo received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from IWU. He has served the Lord in many capacities including missionary, professor, author and more.
Dr. Lo has been the interim pastor for the last three months at Parkview. Three weeks ago, he was asked to be the lead pastor for two years. Due to his positions at IWU, he could not commit to being the full-time pastor. The board then hatched a creative plan for Dr. Lo to continue to serve as the lead pastor, but to hire full-time assistant pastors. Reverend Jeremy and Ana Armiger (both Indiana Wesleyan graduates) have just filled that role.
As interim pastor, Dr. Lo has preached Sunday mornings, led Wednesday night bible study for adults and trained the church on how to do evangelism on Sunday nights. He has sought to get the church on board with the Great Commission. He is building off of the foundation previous pastors of Parkview have laid.
Through Dr. Lo’s time at Parkview, he has learned many things: “Being a pastor is more than just preaching, pastoring is a lot of work and very “fulfilling.” Prayer has to be the foundation of ministry; one must never lose focus of “the Great Commission.” What I am teaching students who are preparing for ministry at IWU needs to be both academically sound and practical. Pastoring and teaching at the same time helps me to better understand and empathize with the challenges that pastors face.”
Over a year ago, the former pastor of Parkview, Reverend Paul Trent, passed away from cancer. The church members at Parkview took up the slack while Rev. Trent was sick and have continued to be welcoming and helpful to Dr. Lo. In this way, he has seen the family of God. The first Sunday Dr. Lo preached, 43 attended, and on March 11th, 63 attended. Dr. Lo is aware that numbers do not always tell the full story, but he admits it has been nice to see the church attendance increase. Furthermore, Dr. Lo feels that what he is teaching students at IWU is even more practical since he is now “doing it.”
Written by Noelle Beans, a writer for the Alumni Center. Noelle is a freshman Nursing and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College.