H7 Story: 20 Years of Faithful Ministry at FCC

by BethAnne Liebert
(Total Reading Time: 5 min 11 sec)
Scott and Dagny… surprise! You had no idea that this week’s blog post would be about you. I hope that the Pulse promo wasn’t too cheesy but I had to work in soccer somehow. ;-) I know this may be uncomfortable but please, sit back, relax, and let us tell you how incredibly grateful we are for your 20 years of faithful ministry to First Christian Church. (Total Reading Time: 5 min 11 sec)
I remember Dagny telling me that back when you did fall in love on that soccer field, you both had a heart to Help People Find and Follow Jesus. She just thought you’d pursue that calling overseas but your heart, Scott, was incredibly burdened by the spiritually lost in America, particularly in the Bible Belt, a place where faith is a mile wide but an inch deep. Little did you know that this joint evangelistic calling would lead your family to what you affectionally call “G’Vegas: God’s country.” We are so glad that it did!
When the elders called you in 2003 to serve as FCC’s youth pastor, you demonstrated the same Kingdom vision and drive that you do today. Bill Richards, a former elder, recalls you jumping right in to decorate the youth house to represent each of the local high schools. How prescient (see, your love of big words is rubbing off), considering that 20 years later, FCC would actually be holding services in two of those high schools with an active presence in a third!

But perhaps the story that best tells of your tenure as youth pastor is that of Hunter Snelson, a 6th grade boy from a broken home living across the street for whom you prayed without ceasing. “Scott cared for me like the father that should have but didn’t,” Hunter told me. He fondly recounted the transformation that occurred after countless hours of sacrificial investment, saying “He took my personal growth seriously.” He is just one of many who treasure your role as a spiritual father and mentor. Your compassion and care (yours too, Dagny) continues to this day, as is evident in how FCC has become a respite home, of sorts, for those who have been hurt in ministry. Travis Chapman, Student Dir, speaks for many on staff when he told me that you have been “… the pastor [he] desperately needed while in ministry.”

One of the reasons you were chosen as lead pastor in 2008, Bill also remembers, was because of your “overwhelming commitment to the Lord and to the ministry of the local church.” Anyone who spends any amount of time with either of you quickly knows of your deep love for the local church and belief that it is the biblical pattern for the hope of the world. You whole heartedly believe that the church is meant “… to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…” (Ephesians 4:12, ESV). You continually push us beyond our comfort zone, some of us kicking and screaming, so that we are not just consumers but are, instead, Christians using our gifts and talents for God’s Kingdom Mission and not for our own. This push, for me, has been used by God to sanctify my faith in ways I never previously realized I needed. Thank you.

Tommy Staggs, Afton Campus Pastor, told me that when asked why they have chosen FCC as their church home, a common theme heard in people’s response is two-fold: your unapologetic dedication to preaching the Word of God as well as the culture of friendliness. The first reason is most evident in your exegetical preaching. Every Sunday we are reminded that FCC is “straight up Bible” because it is the “Word that does the work.” Scripture is meant to shape us and to be the lens from which we filter the world and our experiences, not the other way around.
Regarding the second reason, do you know how many times people are amazed that you remember their names, even after one visit?! Your intentionality at connecting is one thing Chris Oakes, Life Groups Dir, and his family appreciate greatly. “Although we had different backgrounds, Scott quickly found common ground with us, and he and Dagny invited us to join what was happening at FCC. Our whole family has been blessed by their acceptance and faithfulness and challenge to excellence in ministry.” Their experience has been repeated by so many others. If you were to feel there is a down side to our multisite strategy, I am guessing it is that you are unable to do this with each and every guest and member. But, you try!

One other common theme heard is the refrain “It is so refreshing to be at a church where the leadership is vulnerable with their sin struggles.” Thank you for leading with vulnerability and encouraging staff and ministry leaders to do the same. This has caused FCC to become known as the church that welcomes the broken so that they can find healing through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Through re:gen and re|engage, in Life Group, on Sunday mornings, over coffee, dinner, and even conversations in parking lots, you both are willing to share the story of how God has and continues to redeem your brokenness, empowering you to live the new life you have in Christ, all for His glory.

After talking with staff, elders, and friends, there’s so much more that could be said: your love for your wife and children and desire to shepherd them well; your gift at seeing the potential in people and dedication to helping them find their right fit so they can thrive as ministry leaders; your perseverance through seasons of difficulty and trial; your indefatigable vision for Kingdom impact in our community through The Hope Center, Catalyst, schools, and multisite strategy; your passion to raise up men of God because they are the key to a family’s faith; the way you include people to just about everything; the fact that you are serious and intense but also extremely fun and love to laugh (case in point, you connected with our kids over Brian Regan!); the way you feel deeply; your intense drive for improvement that drives some of us crazy but always ends up being for our good (parenthetically comma however, I, and others, have learned to trust and submit to these changes because we know your motivation is to grow God’s Kingdom); your insatiable love of learning… The list could go on but, enough about you.
Dagny, thank you for partnering with Scott in his love for the local church and for FCC, in particular. You know him better than anyone, are his biggest supporter, and demonstrate well what God intended when He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18, ESV). Your role in his ministry is invaluable. But you also have your own. You are intentional with friendships at work so that you can point them to Jesus Christ. At FCC, you actively serve as a Kids Min Leader where you are known for your servant’s heart. Charity Damrau, Kids Min Dir, is thankful that you “… care so deeply about each child’s relationship with Christ,” going above and beyond to shepherd the hearts of Kids Min volunteers and kids alike.
You are also a wonderful example of a godly woman who loves Christ first, then her husband, and then her children. Your good friend, Amanda Schubert, affirms this by saying: “Her love for and relationship with God brings her both peace and steadiness. Through that relationship, she loves, cares for, and encourages her husband and children.” Those who know you attest to the truth of that statement!

In addition, Dagny, you have the spiritual gift of encouragement. A text here, a note there, at just the right time, thanking women for their ministry or gently reminding them of who they are in Christ is something I, and others, have treasured. Amanda is right again when she says you are “… full of wisdom and perseverance and of course, keeps everyone laughing!” Seriously, to leave your presence is to leave feeling encouraged and hopeful.

Ok. It’s time to wrap this up. I’ll end with this sentiment from Nathan Dickerson, another of your long term mentees, because he says it so well: “Scott and Dagny do so much that goes unseen, and they like it that way. They don’t want the glory, because they believe it belongs to God, and it does! So, let it be to God’s glory that we rejoice in their service to individuals, the local church, and the community at large. Praise God for their leading out of Biblical sacrifice for the sake of God’s Kingdom in Greene County and FCC. God is good for using sinners like the Wakefields to make His righteousness known.

Yes, indeed, God is good. May “… you remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose…” (Acts 11:23, ESV) and continue Helping us Find and Follow Jesus for many years to come!
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