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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Pastor’s passion is helping others succeed

  • When David Case was a little boy sitting in the pews of the United Methodist church in McPherson, a thought was placed in his head.
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  • When David Case was a little boy sitting in the pews of the United Methodist church in McPherson, a thought was placed in his head.
    The pastor said he had met men who had struggled but had been able to change their lives and become successful ministers.
    That statement sparked in him the idea that the ministry could be transformative not only for those who answered the call, but for those lives the minister touched.
    Today at age 55, Case, who is celebrating 25 years at Crossroads Assembly of God Church, has a passion for sewing seeds of hope in lives of people who struggle.
    Case said in many cases, the church refers people who struggle to professionals, which is good. However, Case takes a different tack.
    “But I buy into Larry Crabb’s philosophy, which is what people desperately need is a friend who is safe, who can connect with them as a human being and minister the love of God to them,” he said. “I think that is a greater role than the church wants to take on in today’s world.”
    Seven years ago, Case founded the Omega Project, a residential program that helps men improve their lives, many of which have substance-abuse problems.
    Today, Omega has five residential homes in McPherson and has ministered to more than 250 men.
    This has come from a program Case never imagined he would lead and almost never got off the ground.
    Despite a solid church background, Case did not immediately gravitate toward the ministry.
    Although he had soaked up as much math and science as he could in high school, he quickly became bored with those courses in college. He graduated from Wichita State University with a degree in English.
    Case spent three years teaching English at Salina South High School. Being the new teacher on the block, Case was assigned the lower-level English courses for noncollege bond students. He had a large number of students from St. Francis boy’s home and non-English speaking Vietnamese and Cambodia children who had newly immigrated to the region.
    Case recalled one boy in particular who came to his class as a ninth grader. The boy had been passed between his mother and father, and neither parent seemed to want him. The teen was reading at a first-grade level, and Case feared he had no hope of graduating high school.
    Case and a team of teachers and staff worked with the student to build his skills. He not only learned to read, but earned his diploma.
    “To see him work instilled a hope in me in impossible turnarounds,” he said.
    Case said working with the youth at Salina South laid an important foundation for Case’s ministry at Crossroads and his missions work with the Omega Project.
    Page 2 of 3 - Case moved to Dallas for his Biblical training at Christ for Nations.
    Upon returning to McPherson, he was expecting to spend six months and then travel to far-off countries to do missions work.
    However, Case was offered the lead pastor position at Crossroads. He spent the next years teaching, writing and being highly involved in the local community.
    Case’s mother, Doris, encouraged Case to teach at Elyria Christian School during the school’s infancy.
    Case taught a variety of subjects and worked for near no salary in order to help the school get off the ground.
    His passion to help people who struggled was channeled into intensive retreats and workshops. He also used his background in English to craft 10 books, some of which have been translated into other languages. He also has traveled to Mexico, Peru, Honduras, Argentina, India and the Philippines, carrying his passion and mission to help people grow in the faith.
    Case was right about his involvement in missions work, but his opportunity came closer to home.
    The Omega Project came about by chance. Case had two men in his congregation who were urging him to open a halfway house in McPherson. A man he was ministering to in jail also was pleading with him to open a residential home to help him recover. Case met with representatives from another halfway house. About the same time, a local landlord had a home become available for the program’s use.
    “At some point saying no would have been disobedient to God,” he said.
    Today, the Omega Project has five houses with space for 30 men. The program typically runs at capacity with constant calls coming in asking to admit more men to program.
    However, there was a time when Case was not sure the program would be able to continue. About five months into the program, he went to the landlord, Charles Loges, and told him the program couldn’t pay its rent and was going to have to shut down.
    Loges said if he didn’t get his money, it would be fine. The program needed to continue.
    “That really was a huge turning point,” Case said. “Because from that point on we started seeing a greater turnaround and much greater success.”
    Case said he tries to engage everyone within his ministry on a personal level without judgment. He said too often religion’s approach is vertical — “I know right and let me tell you what is right and you come to where I am.”
    Case said, “What I believe is that we are all sold into the slavery of sin, which means I come to you as a fellow traveler and struggler, and I come from a much more horizontal approach.”
    Page 3 of 3 - He said he has had some of the most success by asking the men in the Omega Project to teach him.
    Although helping others has become Case’s passion, it also can be his curse.
    Case works 70 to 80 hours a week. His wife, Kelly, has to step in to try to reign in his schedule.
    “It has been a crazy ride,” Kelly said. “We have had our ups and downs, but the church has been good to us.”
    The program has its share of men who don’t make it through the program for various reasons. In the beginning, he mourned the loss of those men like the loss of family members. He said it used to keep him up at night.
    Today he realizes that he is sowing seeds.
    “I am like a farmer,” he said. “I sow the seeds, and I don’t know where they will grow or when they will grow. I know now that just because someone walks away from the program does not mean that they are out to stay.”
    Omega is working to begin a program for women, and Case has been in talks about expanding the program to other communities.
    “My life is given to the son of God,” he said. “I will do what he directs me to do. I don’t have an agenda. I don’t know what that will look like.
    “I know I have a passion in the area to see people’s lives change. I will teach and write. I will leave the outcome to God. I will follow God one day at a time.”
    For those wishing to join in celebrating Case’s tenure with Crossroads, there will be a 25 Year Reunion barbecue and games at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Lakeside Park. Bring lawn chairs, food, drink and tableware. The event will be moved to the church at 1064 14th Ave. if it rains.
    A celebratory worship will be at 10 a.m. Sunday at Crossroads Church followed by a fellowship meal.
    For more information, contact Jillian Seller at 620-755-3149.

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