"The people of Cassville have been very welcoming and loving inside and outside the church," said Wheeler. "It is amazing how generous the community is. Some of the things that drew me to this position were the way my family and I were treated and the potential I see in the church to impact and serve the community."
Prior to accepting the minister's position in Cassville, Wheeler served as the associate minister at the First Christian Church in Thayer, Kan., for four years. In that position, he ministered to junior high school, high school and adult congregation members.
"We were first attracted to this position because my wife, Kara, and I love spending time outside," said Wheeler. "You can't beat the natural setting of Cassville."
After Wheeler accepted the position at First Christian Church on June 22, the Wheelers relocated to Cassville with their daughter, Gracie, at the end of July.
"We feel so welcomed and engaged by the people of the church," said Wheeler. "We feel we are already building a relationship with everyone. I think that anyone in the community could come to First Christian and feel the same way."
During First Christian's weekly services, Wheeler has been focusing on core values. At the end of September, he will begin a new series of sermons called "Must See TV."
"We will use the shows coming on television this fall and look at the underlying spiritual lessons," said Wheeler. "For instance, 'Heroes' is a good example of good versus evil and 'The Office' shows the importance and challenges of interpersonal relationships."
As he becomes more familiar with the Barry County area, Wheeler will look for ways that First Christian can continue to serve the local community, but his main focus will be on ministering to those attending the Cassville church.
"My principle responsibility is to teach the Word of God to the people of God, and to do that in a relative and challenging way that mirrors the Bible's two inherent qualities, truth and beauty," said Wheeler. "I want to speak of the Word of God in a way that stirs people to action. If I do that well, everything else takes care of itself."
Wheeler, who has a bachelor degree in Biblical literature from Ozark Christian College in Joplin, is currently completing a master's degree program through Lincoln Seminary School, of Lincoln, Ill.