Pastor Zack Working felt a call to ministry in sixth grade as he led a group of church-going friends in Sunday School at their local church. He described himself as “impressionable,” though, and after listening to the opinions of his peers, he decided to run far and fast from the Call. “It (the Call to ministry) just wasn’t appealing to me at that time in my life. I was much more athletically-driven, so I chose to focus on that,” said Working.
Working, originally being from Huntington, Indiana, attended Mt. Etna United Methodist Church as a child and teenager. He was influenced greatly by the cycle of leadership that came through the church during his young adult years. He saw relationships crumble and situations being mishandled and decided that church wasn’t where he belonged, so he continued to run from God’s calling.
He decided to attend IPFW to study Elementary Education. “I had decided that Elementary Education was a noble career. God would let me do that and not be mad that I wasn’t in Ministry. I tried to justify by saying that it was a ministry to the students at school, but He knew I wouldn’t do it,” stated Working. His planned degree began to not work out, things started to go poorly, and Working attempted to study a few different majors next, but said, “Everything was just falling apart. It seemed I was losing my identity. I didn’t know who I was. I was listening to my friends and those around me, and I was still aware of what God was telling me to do.”
Eventually, Working got the point of attempting suicide. In the midst of preparing for the act, his dad came home early from work. Working said he couldn’t recall any other time in his entire life where his dad came home early from his job. “He usually got home later than expected, because he was always helping others and getting extra things done,” Working said.
Working was at an extremely low point in his life. A few days later, a friend’s grandmother invited him to church, and there he met Carla, who was attending IWU, and would soon become his wife. Life didn’t magically become smooth, though. The pastor of the church, Tom DeFries, invited Working to play bass on the worship team. “I wasn’t very good, but he let me play,” Working said laughing. “He just loved me. He shared the love of Christ with me, and by doing that, it really convicted me,” he stated.
Eventually, he came to the realization that he couldn’t run from his calling anymore. He decided to pursue ministry at IWU, and at this point, he was three years into his teaching degree. However, he started completely over with ministry, all while removing himself from the poor influences in his life. DeFries asked Working to be the lay leader of the church, and Working observed the fruitfulness that came from overcoming obstacles within the church.
Working married his wife, Carla, after she graduated from IWU. She took a position at a church in Elwood, then went to Wesley Seminary. This would begin their journey of listening to God’s call. After being in Elwood for five years, they listened to a Calling to move to Morley Wesleyan Church in Canton, New York. The church had only 20 people attending when they arrived, but by the time they left, the church had grown immensely and had started to influence the community that surrounded it.
Working and his young family took a second call a few years later to move to Ellington Wesleyan Church in Connecticut, where only 7 people attended when they arrived. Now, they have received a call to move home. The family currently resides in Lafontaine, Indiana and Working and his wife, Carla co-pastor Lincolnville United Methodist Church, which is south of Wabash. They work to externalize the church. His main goal with each church he pastors is help the church become the bride of Christ. “I really feel one of the things I have learned in my experience, and I think the reason God took me away from here, from home originally, is that for so long, I was the one being influenced. God really taught me in my experiences how to be the influencer for Him. I really envision that for this church and all the churches I am at.”
Working’s purpose is to teach the church not to be influenced by the culture, but to instead influence the community around it. He said, “We, as pastors, are meant to do something more than minister on a weekly basis, but we are really meant to influence the lives of the people that are attending, so that when they go out, they can be influencers.” His life verse is Acts 20:24, which states, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
He believes his greatest joy in ministry is seeing the journey of those coming to know Christ.
Zack and Carla Working continue to be God’s light within and outside of the church, and are always willing to follow wherever He decides to lead them.
We congratulation co-pastors, Zack and Carla as this week’s Pastor of the Week (potw).
Emily, student writer, presents the POTW mug!
Written by Emily Lehner, a writer for the Alumni Center and a sophomore Writing major at IWU. She is active on the cross country and track teams. She is passionate about using her writing skills to share the good news of Christ with others and writes often on her personal blog at www.emilylehner.wordpress.com.