Two extraordinary church leaders who seek to personify Jesus Christ–one of them literally–were honored at Annual Conference with the Harry Denman Evangelism Award, an annual tribute to the spirit and example of its Methodist namesake.
The Rev. Maxime “Max” Jaouen, who received the Denman Clergy Award for Evangelism, has served Lansdale First UMC for 9 of his 33 years as an ordained United Methodist pastor. In that time 78 persons have joined the church by Profession of Faith.
“Pastor Max understands the Great Commission of Christ and lives it each day,” wrote Lay Leader Luann Ingram in her nomination. “He reminds the congregation that our church is a great ‘beacon of light’ in the community. He challenges (us) to not only minister to the local community through our works, but to be a witness of Jesus Christ.”
Ingram calls Jaouen a “consummate teacher” with an “amazing” grasp of Scripture. “Every sermon, every committee meeting, every pastoral visit is an opportunity for Max to teach the word of God….There is pure joy on his face and in his voice when offering this information to his listeners.” She credis him with inspiring “common folks in the congregation,” herself included, to become leaders and servants of Jesus Christ.
“Pastor Max has been an inspiration to young and old,” wrote Ingram. “His youthful attitude and spirit draw many young people to him. He loves to give and get hugs so every person of any age immediately feels his love and warmth.”
Similar affection was expressed for John Schadler, a lifelong member of Fairless Hills First UMC, who received the Denman Laity Award for Evangelism. “He conducts his life in a way that leads people to Christ and exemplifies dedicated Christian discipleship,” wrote his pastor, the Rev. Victoria L. Allen. “Presenting a quiet and unassuming demeanor, John zealously goes about the task of sharing the love of Christ through his faithful witness in ministry…giving his all diligently in devoted service to the church and community.”
Allen extolled Schadler’s enthusiastic, selfless involvement as a trustee, youth leader, lay equalizing delegate and member of the men’s ministry. He even convinced his own family and the youth of the church–to whom he is “a mentor and role model”–to become more involved in serving the church.
During special Holy Week reenactments, “John has become…our resident Jesus,” wrote Allen. “He portrays Jesus throughout the Easter season. John can be seen seated at the Last Supper, riding into Jerusalem, hanging from the cross and portraying the risen Lord during Easter Sunday worship.
“This past Easter week was extraordinarily special,” Allen recalled. “In the pulpit area, John hung from the cross with ‘blood’ dripping down his body. In stark contrast, on Easter Sunday he dressed as the risen Lord robed in white. During the sermon he quietly sat in front of the same cross, which was now adorned in white and gold draping, surrounded by flowers. In both services, when the preaching concluded, the spirit moved people to respond to the altar. Ten to 15 teenagers, along with a few adults, came forth to boldly reaffirm their commitment to Christ (depicted by John)….One senior adult stepped forward to hold Christ’s (John’s) hand.”
The Foundation for Evangelism has partnered with annual conferences for over 30 years to honor role models of evangelism with the Harry Denman Award, named for a renowned layman who led the Methodist Church’s global evangelism efforts from 1938 until he retired in 1965. Denman was a mentor and role model to Billy Graham and many other evangelists. The Eastern PA Conference award is presented annually by the conference’s Congregational Development Team.