Charles Colson said, “The true mark of a Christian leader is trying to build up other people. Raise up other leaders!” When John Mueller joined SonLight Church eight years ago, he brought a vision for raising up leaders within the church who have a passion for the Angola, Indiana, community. That vision came to life in 2019 when Dawson McCoy became their first ministry resident.

While serving as SonLight’s family pastor and youth pastor, John Mueller mentored Dawson McCoy, then a high school freshman. Dawson had grown up attending SonLight with his parents. When he graduated from high school, Dawson headed to Grace College to prepare for ministry. While he was still a student at Grace, John approached Dawson about the resident program. In December, 2019, when he graduated from Grace with a degree in Biblical Studies and a minor in Youth Ministry, he already had leadership and ministry experience from his residency at SonLight.

The vision for SonLight’s residency program grew out of their desire to develop leaders from within the community. As church leaders identify and train people who grew up in Angola, John knows that SonLight’s ministry will continue to thrive. Since Dawson is their first resident, the program is being tailored to fit his needs for education and training. The program will provide valuable ministry experiences that a classroom or a textbook can’t offer. Dawson has already gained administrative training through his role as the children’s pastor, like scheduling volunteers and prepping for Sunday.

Dawson and John meet regularly for training and goal setting. One of his chief goals is continuing his education through the FEC Certificate of Theology. After FEC’s Annual Conference last year, they went through the Full Strength Network resources.