John Wernli, elder of Flint Hills Christian Church in Emporia, Kansas (KS).
I was born the middle child of seven children to a wonderful set of parents. We grew up on a dairy farm in Greenwood County in Kansas. Our father was one of several preachers at a country church. From my youth, I was taught the Scriptures. But during high school, my rebellion and slide into sin escalated. After graduation and upon beginning college, the Holy Spirit brought me under great condemnation for my sins. I realized the sins I committed offended a holy and just God. My personal sense of hell was gripping my spirit. In those times I came to understand that “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21). By the grace of God, I am born again from above and was given a changed heart.
The early days as a believer were challenging. I lacked the joy that I believed a Christian should have, and when I sinned, I often carried guilt. Through the reading of the Word and some powerful preaching of several national pastor/teachers, the Holy Spirit continued to grow me in Christ. I came to understood that I was justified (declared righteous) at my conversion and that God forgave all my sins through Christ and that I indeed was totally saved by this great grace alone. My joy increased as I understood this truth. And I began to understand that although I still sinned, God was sanctifying me, or taking me from a place of sin to a place of holiness; and that this is a lifelong process and part of the will of God.
I met my beautiful wife, Maria, in 1982, and we were married in March 1984. God has given us three dear children: Shanelle, Danae and Jonathan. By His loving favor, they all have come to understand the Gospel of Grace and are walking in the Lord.
Except for my first year out of college, I have been self-employed as an agricultural commodities broker, working with livestock and grain producers in the marketing of commodities.
Maria and I have been at Flint Hills since January 1987. In the early 1990s, I began to serve this flock as an elder. Maria and I have also had the privilege of serving the children and youth of our church. We have been blessed to be a part of this flock and are constantly encouraged by the high view that Flint Hills has for God and His Word. We look forward to continuing to serve together as ambassadors for Christ as we implore Lyon County and the surrounding areas to be reconciled to Christ.