the gathering

Longtime Stadia Team Member John Wasem Receives Stadia Vision Award

Mar 16, 2022

Stadia is pleased to celebrate John Wasem as the recipient of our 2022 Vision Award. This award recognizes a Stadia team member who best exemplifies Stadia’s church multiplication vision to accelerate church expansion worldwide so that “Every Child Has a Church.”

Stadia’s longest tenured employee, John has been part of the Stadia team since 2005, serving a variety of roles, currently as Director of Mission Advancement. Over his 40+ years of ministry, John has been a true pioneer of church planting. As minister of outreach at East 91st Christian Church in Indianapolis in the early 1980s, he crafted a plan for the church to start 20 churches in 20 years, a goal the church has far exceeded. John planted Suncrest Christian Church in St. John, Indiana (East 91st Street church plant no. 7) in 1994 and since then has taught, coached and championed hundreds of new church leaders. John and his bride of 49 years, Leslie, have three children and six grandchildren.

Through the Vision Award nomination process, the Stadia team described all the ways John reflects Stadia’s Values:

  • Relationships: John has deep, rich and real relationships with so many people across the country. People invest in Stadia and in John because of how he has managed these relationships over decades. He cares for people individually; he has coached who knows how many planters and if you know John, your life is better because of it.
  • Urgency: Have you seen this man’s calendar? People die and go to hell every day and I believe John uses all that he has and everything that he is to change someone’s eternity.
  • Impact: We talk about level one to five churches all the time with five being a church that multiplies so many times it can’t keep track of its daughters and granddaughters. I heard Doug Paul say that he doesn’t think there is a level five church in America. We should introduce him to Suncrest Church that is by far a level five church. Who started that church? John Wasem!
  • Children: I was never close to either of my granddads. If I could choose someone to be mine it would be John. John will leave a legacy of faith with anyone he meets. Who doesn’t have conversation with him and say, “I want know more,” “I want to learn more,” or “I want to spend more time with him”? He has been a great grandparent to so many children of God during his time of ministry.
  • Celebration: I know, I know John is not going to be the guy who is dancing because we planted more churches then we did last year. He is not the typical loud and enthusiastic person who will let the world know how proud and excited he is. But don’t get it twisted … he celebrates. He is always forwarding emails about what this church is doing or how this church is making a difference. I have been in so many rooms when John is bragging on what God has done at Stadia. It might look different, but he celebrates!!

When asked to comment about this recognition, John said he’s still looking for the words to express his gratitude. He says this is what best comes to mind: “In my 40 years of new church leadership, I’ve not experienced a more committed, strong, thorough, full-service, and innovative team than the staff, new church starters, partners and donors of Stadia Church Planting. To serve with Stadia for the past 18 years has been honor enough most certainly.”

Last year’s Vision Award Winner and Stadia’s Director of Household Partnerships, Andrea Wells, presented the award to John. Newly married, Andrea is a “bonus mom” for 3 children, which compels her even greater toward Stadia’s “every child” vision. “I am feeling the impact and urgency of our vision in new ways as I am building relationships with these 3 little humans,”she said. “I am deeply grateful for the vision God has given to Stadia and can’t wait until the day we celebrate each of our children choosing to follow Jesus. Every child on the planet does need a church.”

Janie Mehaffey

Janie Mehaffey


Champion of People. Advocate for Clarity. Celebrator of God’s work through starting thriving, growing, multiplying churches for the next generation. Janie serves the Stadia team to create a relationship-focused, high impact culture that moves us all toward a world where Every Child Has a Church. With over 30 years of experience, Janie has served as Communications Director of Traders Point Christian Church in Indianapolis and as a Communications Strategist with Fishhook, an innovative creative services company that consults with churches of all sizes across the country. She has worked with church planting teams in Manchester, CT, and Miami, FL, and a wide-spectrum of non-profit organizations, including Exponential Network, the American Diabetes Association and Kappa Delta Sorority. She and her husband, Matt, live in Pittsburgh, PA, with their two sons, who are originally from Taiwan.