By: Rick Carder
Rising above in one’s ministry Calling stands an extraordinary individual. Rev. Marc Watkins is one of those extraordinary individuals. A graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) from 1991, Marc has displayed the exceptional servant-leadership principle of people first. “IWU gave us ample opportunities in the Ministry program to serve…professors taught us that ministry and people were a priority,” he said in a recent interview.
Serving as a pastor of local church community at Trinity Wesleyan Church in Kokomo, Indiana has enabled Pastor Marc to have intentional ministry with his broader Howard County community. His passion to serve is what motivates Marc. I have witnessed his service first-hand. He is a person of faith and practical hands-on ministry. I am impress by how Chaplain Marc decided to make his faith sacred duty. He goes beyond the Calling to duty that serves and ministers through his Chaplaincy role.
Devastation lined the neighborhoods where Chaplain Marc found himself ministering to families in the aftermath of tornadoes that threatened lives in a rare weather system on Wednesday. It was reminiscent of a storm system that left damaged businesses and homes just a few years ago. I called Chaplain Marc just last night to offer words of encouragement and my prayers just as the storms were passing overhead. Shocked by the news and pictures of damaged homes and the complete destruction of a local Starbucks building left the nation stunned by the impact of a reported F-3 tornado touching down in Kokomo.
I simply offered my support in a facebook post as well as encouraging others to join me in prayer for Chaplains that service during events such as this. “Thank you for your prayers,” commented Chaplain Marc. “I really appreciate this,” he added. In a later conversation offering assistance he added, “We are still assessing the damage and developing a list of ways people can help!” Delivering Chick-fil-A breakfast sandwiches was where I caught up with Chaplain Marc this morning. “I am trying to help by feeding our officers who are serving the community,” he shared. He shared with me pictures of the deviation from his vantage point and all I could say was, “Wow! I am praying for you.” He offered ideas of how people can participate in the clean up and assisting of families that have been displaced. “There are 500 residents in an apartment complex alone that have been forced to leave all their possessions behind because the building has been condemned due to the damage,” added Chaplain Marc. He shared that we all can do something either through the United Way, Salvation Army, or Red Cross. Donations are encouraged. Speaking about his own Church affiliation, The Wesleyan Church he mentioned, “We have partnered with the Crossroads District of the Wesleyan Church to help in the clean up.” He mentioned that simply donating basic hygiene products to Kokomo Urban Outreach can be very helpful.
Chaplain Marc has been serving as a Kokomo Police Chaplains since December, 2013. His service has impacted not only his local community but also those who serve as First Responders during crisis incidences. Our local police sacrifice daily. We need someone to care for those that serve on the front line of the community. Chaplain Marc has stood in that gap and has been involved in helping Kokomo Police Officers deal with the harsh realities of community emergencies as well as the tragedies of fellow fallen officers. Chaplain Marc was involved in the annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service in May of 2018. The memorial remembered two local officers killed in the line of duty. “Their lives have inspired us, and in their deaths, it calls us and compels us to a more compassionate resolve,” KPD chaplain Mark Watkins said during a prayer in the council chambers at city hall. In most recent days Kokomo residents were awakened with the news that Howard County Deputy Carl Koontz who was killed in the line of duty. Chaplain Marc was once again available to serve during this incredible loss.
Chaplain Marc stated that his goal is to provide compassionate ministries to people in our community. Whether they are First Responders or community residents, he hopes to provide emotional and spiritual support to people. He stated that First Responders are “emotionally and physically drained” as they serve after the devastating tornadoes. Chaplain Marc stated, “This is were the church can shine the brightest.”
Today, I call upon IWU Alumni and Friends to get involved in any way possible whether that means giving financial resources or time. I also offer to you an example of an IWU World Changer who didn’t turn away from the need but ran to assist his community. Thank you Pastor-Chaplain Marc Watkins for your service and compassion.
Pastor Marc is this week’s Pastor of the Week for his extraordinary heart of compassion during a time of crisis during the August 24, 2016 tornado.
Written by Rev. Rick Carder, Director of Alumni & Church Engagement at Indiana Wesleyan University.