I believe that my greatest gifts are in the areas of preaching, worship planning and leadership, and pastoral care. I believe that God is calling me to a church that understands worship to be at the center of its life and where worship leads to the love of neighbor as self. For me, the hour that is spent in worship each week is the most important hour of the week, and I approach my work from this perspective. I treasure the time spent researching and writing sermons, planning worship, etc. I strive to make worship relevant so that worshipers may take what they hear and experience on Sunday morning and draw upon it during the week or even much later. I write my sermons with those who will be listening to me in mind. What are they experiencing in their own lives? What are we as a congregation experiencing in our community, nation, or world, and what word might I be able to share that would be helpful in the midst of all that? Of course, I discovered a long time ago that the sermons I preach to myself are the ones that reach the most people. When I start talking to other people, I find that I miss everybody!
As a pastor, it has been a great privilege for me to be involved in people’s lives when they have been at their best or worst. To sit beside the bedside of one who is ill, to baptize a son or daughter of members, to officiate at a wedding ceremony, to stand with a family to send a loved on off on the final journey home, or to hold the hand of a member as they pass from this life to next is indeed a privilege beyond words. However, for me, pastoral care takes place around a dinner table, in the hallway, or even bumping into one another at the grocery store. More often than not, I have found that the best pastoral care I have offered has been when I have offered the “ministry of presence” to another.
I strive to be a servant leader who provides the environment, the means, the vision, and the enthusiasm so that we can fulfill what the Spirit has in store of us. In doing that, I seek to point beyond myself to the One who continuously challenges us to take His saving love, forgiveness, and hope to a needy world. I am energized by others and by working with others.
I believe that pastoral leadership begins by building meaningful relationships with others. Therefore, I am passionate about being a caring and involved presence in people's lives. Such relationships allow us to grow together in Christ and empower us to use our gifts in His service. I love that about ministry. I want to know the people I serve with, and I want them to know me. I have always believed that if a pastor is a stranger to her/his people, they cannot be effective. Please never come into the church building without stopping to say hello. I would be most unhappy if my work was to be done in isolation from others.
Larry and I both look forward to coming to Baltimore, getting to know the dedicated and faithful members and friends of First and Franklin Church, and working together to bring about a part of God’s kingdom in our corner of the world. I look forward to being in ministry together with all of you and to experience how the Holy Spirit will stir the deep well of faithfulness at First and Franklin and then pour us out anew into a future filled with hope.