Hawley reflects on 60 years of Midwest ministry
More than half a century later, Hawley, 82, has seen the body grow in Wisconsin to more than 50 congregations.
BLACK RIVER FALLS,WIS. — When Monroe and Julia Hawley moved to Wisconsin from Iowa in 1951, therewas only one church of Christ in the Milwaukee area — and about eight in theentire state.
More than half acentury later, Hawley, 82, has seen the body grow in Wisconsin to more than 50congregations.
This fall, at the42nd annual Midwest Preachers Retreat at Fall Hall Glen, home of WisconsinChristian Youth Camp, Hawley reflected on what he’s learned in ministry.
“I’ve learned youhave to take people where they are and work from there,” Hawley told about 100ministers and church leaders.
While most ministersshare a common body of knowledge, they can’t expect others to be on the samepage from the start, he said.
“It’s vital as wework with these people that we work with them to bring them to the place wherethey need to be,” he said.
Sounds simple enough.However, it wasn’t always that easy for Hawley, who delivered his first sermonat age 16 in Akron, Mich. The son of a preacher and school administrator,Hawley became a debater in high school and college. But appealing to someone’smind wasn’t the most effective way to win souls for Christ, he said.
“We need to be tryingto win hearts,” said Hawley, now a shepherd at the Southside church, Milwaukee.
Carl Frazier, whocame to Wisconsin in 1953, said Monroe and his wife have been “tremendousinfluences” on churches in Wisconsin.
“Monroe speaks forhimself. He’s not one to imitate others, and that’s one of the things I reallylike about him,” said Frazier, who retired last month from full-time preachingin LaCross, Wis.
Today, Hawley watchesefforts to bring closer ties between churches of Christ and independentChristian Churches.
“We have to bewilling to receive one another as fellow Christians — as brethren, not asstep-brethren or erring brethren,” Hawley said. “If a person has obeyed thegospel of Jesus Christ, they are my brother or sister.”