Elder Spotlight | Joel Lagan

Joel Lagan has been attending Wintonbury quite literally since the day he was born. Today, Joel and Shannon, his wife of 10 years,  are raising their three children at Wintonbury. Joel and Shannon are both active members of our community, sharing their many gifts in a variety of ways. As part of our ongoing Spotlight series, we asked Joel a few questions to help you get to know him better. His answers (with just a wee bit of editing on my part) are below:

Joel Lagan.jpg

Where did you grow up? 
Simsbury, CT

Where do you live now?
Windsor, CT

What do you like most about New England? 
I love crisp air of the autumn and the cold quiet after the snow falls in wintertime. 

Married? Kids?
Married to Shannon Lagan
Kids: Charlotte “Charli” (7), Annalie (3), Julian (8 mos)

Describe yourself if five words or less?
Transparent, Prideful, Sincere, Broken, Optimistic

Profession outside the home?
I work for an asset management firm in Hartford.

Entrepreneurship, Development Economics, History, Geography and

Favorite books (besides the Bible)?
The Calling, by Os Guinness, 
Small is Beautiful; Economics as if People Mattered, by E.F. Schumacher
Thinking Fast & Slow, by Daniel Kahnemann

Favorite TV shows?
Psych, The Office, The Amazing Race,  White Collar

Favorite foods?
All breakfast foods

Favorite sports team?
Irish Rugby National Team

Pet Peeve?
When people use propositions to end sentences with

How did you end up at Wintonbury?
I was born here and we haven’t been told to leave yet.

When did you first join the Wintonbury Elder Board? 
January 2017

Do you have a specific role on the board? 
Just one of the team

What, if any, other ministry(ies) do you serve in at Wintonbury?
Missions Team

What is your role/title?
Just one of the team

What, specifically, do you do?
As far as the Missions Team involvement, I help the team discern how to best fulfill the great commission by sending and supporting missionaries globally. For me specifically, that looks like encouraging and shepherding our missionaries, evaluating new candidates and championing their engagement in our church body. Related to my role on the Elder Board, I recently compared it to plumbing. The pipes are not the most visible part of a home, but when you need a fresh glass of water to be refreshed, when life gets dirty and you need to take a shower and get cleaned off or when some waste needs to be removed from the home... you really need the plumbing to be working. Although every analogy is imperfect, I think the heart of the elders at Wintonbury is to do everything possible to make sure the church is equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. Insomuch as our mission as a church is "Following Jesus together, wherever he leads", then we need to make sure that it's actually happening and remove any obstacles to accomplishing that goal.  

What do you like most about serving in this way?
I’m often talking to people about using their gifts and finding their sweetspot in the Kingdom (often outside the church context). My gifts tend to be encouragement, leadership and apostle. That means that I tend to come alongside people and encourage them in finding their callings. The apostolic gifting means that I’m always look to expand the frontier of the Church (capital C)… I’m the guy that wants to find the well-trodden paths… and then diverge from them, into the woods and create a new one. I’m using my strengths on the Elder Board or on the Missions Team and I get a lot of satisfaction by helping lead others into that type of experience. Frankly, it doesn’t happen a lot because we all have a lot of brokenness and we spend time just trying to control, compensate or cover it up. Sadly, at most churches, probably including ours, the well-trodden path often means we are not transparent about our issues or willing to dedicate ourselves radically to getting healed. However, when someone is open about their brokenness and driven to find a way to get healing, man oh man, that gets me fist-pumping!

How have you seen or experienced God at work in this ministry?
I’m thankful to belong to a church where it is safe to be open about our issues and find healing. Even though I grew up at Wintonbury and my story of faith doesn’t include visibly running away from God, I spent a lot of time hiding the realities of my sin from others. I’ve experienced this dramatic transformation personally (ask my wife and friends). Both on the Elder Board, and on the Missions Team, I’ve seen our Father work on people’s hearts and transform their lives, giving them a calling that causes them to come alive. That is super cool. There is so much for me to learn from others in the global Church. I get really excited about what God is going to do in and through all of us. Maybe I’m just a stereotypical millennial that has overwhelming FOMO (fear of missing out) but I want to stay involved and engaged. If I just show up on a Sunday, and that’s it, I think I’m going to miss the ebb and flow of the Spirit of God at work in our midst. I’ll fail to catch the nuance of the epic narrative of God’s love for His bride, the global Church; where saints are asked to Follow Jesus together, wherever He leads.

Wow! Wasn't that great? We hope you enjoyed getting to know more about Joel. Say 'hello' to him on a Sunday mornings. He'd love to get to know you better, too!