Clergy Spotlight

Brian Miller

Senior Pastor, Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Montgomery

What brought you to the Ministry?

The Auburn Wesley Foundation. There’s more to the story, but it was at Wesley that I first began discerning a call to full-time, set-apart ministry.

If I had not been called to the Ministry, I would probably be a:

I would probably have moved toward my dream of being involved in sports journalism. During college, I worked in Media Relations for the Athletic Department at Auburn. Between college and seminary, I covered sports for stations in the Auburn-Opelika area.

Most people do not know that I can:  Begin 10 books before finishing 1.

In my free time I enjoy:   Christina and I have 4 children (Brasher, Phoebe, William, and Wesley). When I’m not doing work directly related to Aldersgate, I’m often at a band concert, school performance, game, or school honors assembly. I apparently also enjoy starting to read books.

One of my goals for our church and our district is to:

I hope that we could unite toward goals of serving, especially in Montgomery, in ways that show the reign of God in Jesus Christ

One of my most fond childhood memories of church involves:

My life changed when Raymond Knight, an African-American youth from the neighborhood around my nearly all-white church, became a part of the youth group, came to faith, and joined the church. Raymond and some friends started coming to youth because he wanted to play basketball in the gym before UMYF. After three years, he was a real leader among us. Raymond showed me what the church could be within a community that often seems divided. Dauphin Way United Methodist Church showed me that there is room for everyone at the table.

One of the best books I have read recently is:  Falling Upward by Richard Rohr

Something exciting going on at Aldersgate:  is our work to define a pathway for discipleship. I agree fully with Mike Breen who says that discipleship is the engine of the church. Our deepest effectiveness hinges on our ability to help one another move from faithlessness to lovers of God and neighbor in all that we do

What is one challenge you see for the Montgomery-Opelika District?

My hope is that every church would be engaged in discipleship in ways that affect their community and point toward the kingdom of God.

The most gratifying part of being a Methodist Minister is:   I am awed when I see the grace that changes lives become the grace that changes communities.

My favorite vacation destination is:  Seattle, Washington

 

Jack Stanley

Chaplain, U.S. Air Force, Currently Stationed in Oxford, England.

What brought you to the Ministry? my pa and grandpa were preachers. god didn't give me the choice!  my two brothers brought me into the Air Force.

If I had not been called to the Ministry, I would probably be a: lawyer. I was in the joint JD/MDiv program at Emory. Perhaps when I retire from the USAF I'll take the Florida Bar Exam

Something exiting going on at my Church is: the world truly is my parish in ways I only can wish you'd have time and interest to hear about. being here in Oxford, in the heart of where Wesley and Charles got their start is surreal.

Most people do not know that I can: speak fluent italian

In my free time I enjoy: golf, reading and writing

One of my most fond childhood memories of church involves: trips to the beach for bible camp.. the heat and the waves and the powerful preaching where the preacher really was the feature we all wanted to hear

One of the best books I have read recently is: Dietrich Bonhoffer

The most gratifying part of being a Methodist Minister is: making the world my parish. that I can be orthodox while worshipping next to a. "none" and be at peace with that and not threatened.

In 2-3 years, I hope our Church is: still orthodox while resetting the bar of connection to the catholic and bringing those "nones" back to the cross.

 

Tony Jeck

Associate Pastor and Director of Youth Ministries, Aldersgate United Methodist Church

What brought you to the Ministry?   Though I grew up in church, it was not until just before college that I began to take seriously the grace that God had long been holding out to me in Jesus.  As college began I started to volunteer teaching jr. high Sunday school at the church I attended.  It was through my experience of working with this young people that God called me into ministry.  

If I had not been called to the Ministry, I would probably be a teacher or college professor, though I would dream of being a professional baseball player. I do that second part anyway.  

Something exiting going on at my Church:  is our lay peoples faithful involvement with two wonderful ministries: The first is preparing and serving meals in downtown Montgomery with a ministry called Reality & Truth.  It was wonderful to see the way that God uses something simple but necessary, like the need to eat, to bring together people from all different walks of live to serve alongside each other, eat together, talk together, pray together.  It's the kind of gathering that Jesus is notorious for getting together.  The second is our laity's work with Family Promise.  Family Promise helps to open the doors of area churches to become homes for families who are going through difficult times or times of transition.  We host a few times a year, a week at a time.  Each time we host some 40 or 50 volunteers faithfully and with great joy turn Sunday School classrooms into bedrooms, go shopping, make meals, eat with our guests, stay over night with our guests and do laundry and then clean it all up again.  Recently the wonderful woman who was in large part responsible for bringing Family Promise to Aldersgate passed away.  Her name was Ann Loyal.  We continue to practice the hospitality of God, which Ann practiced and embodied so well.  It is a great blessing!  

Most people do not know that I can throw a pretty nasty curve ball... well at least I used to be able to. 

In my free time I enjoy reading and writing and being with my family.

One of my most fond childhood memories of church involves being with my family at the Easter Vigil service.  I grew up in the Catholic Church.  Though it was super long, I remember looking forward to it.  I remember the smells, the sense of awe, the music, the stained glass windows, people being baptized.  Even as a very young boy it taught me to celebrate Jesus' resurrection as the center and most decisive act of God on our behalf.  I will never get over that.   

One of the best books I have read recently is... Can I do more than one?  Top three this year: 

1. The Tangible Kingdom by Hugh Halter

2. Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright

3. Team of Rivals by Dorris Kearns Goodwin

The most gratifying part of being a Methodist Minister is having a story of free grace to share with all I meet - both with in the church and with out; to know that in whatever setting I find myself, God's grace has long gone before me and is at work.  It's a wonderful vocation to be the one who gets to call attention to that grace in school cafeterias eating lunch with youth, at hospital bedside as we pray, on Sunday mornings during worship.  I recently had the chance to be a part of the blessing of the pets service.  We did it on a Sunday morning, but not at our church building.  We went to our communities dog park and did it there.  It was a very Methodist thing to do, to be be able to offer God's blessing and care to those we met there.    

In 2-3 years, I hope our Church is finding ways to take more seriously John Wesley's sermon "The Catholic Spirit," that what binds us together is the joy of discovering God's love for us in Jesus and the common mission we've been given as those who are being sent, even as Jesus was sent.  Less concern for ourselves and personal preservation.  More concern for spending ourselves on that for which Jesus spent himself!  That's for 2-3 years and for 50-100 years.  Let's get that one right!

 

Keith Turner

Fort Davis UMC and Hurtsboro UMC

What brought you to the Ministry?   I felt the call to ministry but my father wanted me to go to the University of Tennessee and become an engineer.  I yielded to his advice and accident sent me to the hospital before I took my final exam to go to UT.  The accident caused me to miss the exam, and while in the hospital, God again revealed his call to me to the ministry.

If I had not been called to the Ministry, I would probably be a:  An entrepreneur.  I love the business world and have family involved in business all over the world.

Something exiting going on at my Church is:  God is working spiritually in the lives of the people at Hurtsboro, while we are growing by leaps and bounds at Fort Davis.  Currently we are in a building program because we have no more room for members and guests.

Most people do not know that I can:  Restore vintage automobiles

In my free time I enjoy:   Hunting and being in the outdoors.  I still get to our farm in Southern Illinois when we can

One of my most fond childhood memories of church involves:   We had a wonderful youth program at our church that literally transformed my life.  That church program made me look at my whole life differently, causing me to attend Mercer University.  At Mercer I found Rhonda Wall and married her...what a great decision that was!

One of the best books I have read recently is:  Messy Spirituality by Michael Yaconelli is still one of the best kept secrets in the christian world!  I read it once a year just to keep a proper perspective as I relate to the “real world”.

The most gratifying part of being a Methodist Minister is:  I have spent half of my ministry in the UMC.  It offers a different peace and allows the pastor to do the job of nurturing the church without the worry of being “tossed out” at the next business meeting.  As United Methodists we offer diversity without stereotypical attitudes.  Having spent 20 years in the Air Force as a chaplain allowed me to minister to many different faith groups.  I was able to open many doors because of my United Methodist endorsement.

In 2-3 years, I hope our Church is:  

It is my dream that Fort Davis will be able to be a charge of its own.  The people there have a heart and desire to grow and they are accepting to all who enter to worship. 

Hurtsboro is a strong church and I would love to see her regain her financial base.  We support several mission projects and have a loyalty to the Red Bird Mission in Kentucky.

 

 

Richard Rouse

Pastor, Hills Chapel UMC

What brought you to the Ministry?     My father was a minister but I did not want to be one.  I married and my wife was from a different tradition, I reexamined my Methodist tradition and could answer the critics of my Methodist heritage. In this period of doubt and self examination, I felt God’s call.
If I had not been called to the Ministry, I would probably be a:   I was a social worker and continued that profession and served as a lay speaker, and a local pastor.
Something exiting going on at my Church is:   a common goal of reaching out to others with Christian love and fellowship. It is present in every gathering.
Most people do not know that I can:  do a lot of different things. My father, even though he was an Elder under full appointment, knew how to do a lot of blue collar jobs. He was a mechanic, carpenter, electrician, Plumber,  well digger, welder, engineer,  heavy equipment operator, sawmill operator, farmer, cowboy, vet and all around handy man.  He built several churches, added on to a number, reworked parsonages, put in central air. Working with him , I learned how to do some of those things myself. We built our houses here in Crenshaw county, we did our on labor on all te tings we did.
In my free time I enjoy:   farming and gardening. I live on a old farmstead,  I bought the Rouse house place from my mother before she died, it is a 40 acre place along with my 40 acre place, big yards, pastures, pond , lot of upkeep. I have 4 school age grand children in my home of which I have custody, one playing football.
One of my most fond childhood memories of church involves:   Night services on the rural charges of my father’s ministry. The windows would be open, old hymns sung and the sounds of tree frogs and crickets, hanging is the summer night air.
One of the best books I have read recently is:    I have never been a big book reader, My profession as a social worker with the State required a lot of manual reading, I worked in 3 program areas, governed by thick manuals. They were up dated by revisions which came in regularly, changing policies etc. A person had to know them, had to read them. I use my books as reference books, Church history, doctrine, archeology. I have a large library, here at Horse Creek and over in the Rouse house.
The most gratifying part of being a Methodist Minister is:  being able to share the Word, songs of the faith and make the sacraments available to the community.
In 2-3 years, I hope our Church is: active in sharing the gospel.
 

Paul Ferrell

Wesley Memorial UMC

What brought you to the Ministry? I felt the calling to ministry at the age of 17.  I spoke with a pastor about it and he handed me a Good News New Testament and told me to come back after I had read it.  As a confused 17 year old I read it and  became even more confused.  I put it down and spent the next 30 years running and hiding from God.  As you know God is a persistent God.  After accidently dialing a wrong phone number, the person on the other end invited me to come visit their church.  I thought it was crazy, but the next Sunday morning I went to that church.  The experience was amazing.  God grabbed hold of me and said, you're not getting away this time.  My life was changed.  In the 20 years since that encounter I have loved every moment of service to my Lord and Savior. 

If I had not been called to the Ministry, I would probably be a:   Chef

Something exiting going on at my Church is:    Our small groups.  We have started studying the "Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations" in those groups and the excitement level is going up.  It is so enjoyable to see people excited about serving Christ. 

Most people do not know that I can:  Make some of the best hot salsa in the world. 

In my free time I enjoy:   Driving my Dodge Challenger and riding motorcycles with my son and brothers.   

One of my most fond childhood memories of church involves:   Singing very loud in the Christmas play so my mother could hear me.  She said I was the loudest and the only one she herd. 

One of the best books I have read recently is:   Five Practices of Fruitful Congregation

The most gratifying part of being a Methodist Minister is:    Being a small part of someone coming to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  A Holy Communion table that is open to all.

In 2-3 years, I hope our Church is:    Growing in our family ministries, serving our community in the name of Jesus Christ, excited to be a servant of Christ and continuing to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of our community, country and world. 

 

Emily Kincaid

Aldersgate UMC, Associate Minister and Director of Christian Education

What brought you to the Ministry?
There were many factors that helped me discern my call to ministry. Those things include:
1) Growing up in the First United Methodist Church of Monroeville, AL
2) Pam Barnhardt was a mentor of mine who saw the call in me before I saw it in myself. She
encouraged me to take on responsibilities in the church that helped me grow and discern my
call.
3) The Duke Youth Academy for Christian Formation is a two week summer program for high
school juniors and seniors. The two weeks are essentially an intentional Christian community
of youth and adults from all over the country worshiping, playing, eating, praying, exploring
worship arts, and learning together. This program was a part of my life in 2001, and it forever
changed the way I approach my faith.
4) The professors at Huntingdon College, namely Rev. Dr. Frank Buckner and Rev. Dr. Jason
Borders
5) Rev. Dave Barkalow was the campus minister while I was at Huntingdon. He allowed me to
be a part of the campus ministry leadership team, which helped to further sharpen my call
and skills for ministry.
6) The professors, staff, and students of Duke Divinity School truly helped me clarify what it
means to be called to this “set apart” ministry in the church for God’s glory.

If I had not been called to the Ministry, I would probably be a:  Photographer, graphic artist, teacher, or counselor

Something exciting going on at my Church is:
We have a new young adult small group that began this fall. We are beginning our second 8-
week study together, and the group is really growing in friendship and Christian love. It is so
exciting to see young adults find a “home” who didn’t really have a place in the church two
months ago.

Most people do not know that I can: Paint, sew, and water ski (not all at the same time!)

In my free time I enjoy:   Reading fiction, walking outside, spending time with family and friends, traveling, being crafty and creative

One of my most fond childhood memories of church involves:  Church-wide family retreats at Blue Lake Camp

One of the best books I have read recently is:  Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud  A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans

The most gratifying part of being a Methodist Minister is:  Our connectional system and our grace-filled theology!

In 2-3 years, I hope our Church is:  

Involved in vital ministry to which God is calling us
Embracing God’s NOW and FUTURE for us

 

Ed Shirley

Pastor, Brundidge United Methodist Church

What brought you to the Ministry?

The great influence of my Christian parents brought me into ministry. Church was a very important part of our family’s life during my childhood. Gospel music played continuously throughout the house. We attended every Gospel singing at Lee High School auditorium in the 1970’s: The Happy Goodmans, the Inspirations, the Florida Boys, and all those powerful quartets in concert. It seemed that Gospel music was the great lure into the ministry for me.

If I had not been called to the Ministry, I would probably be a:  I would certainly be a law enforcement dispatcher and 911 operator, if I were not in full-time ministry. I worked in that area for a while and loved it. It is very satisfying playing a key part in helping people find help during emergencies.

Something exciting going on at my Church is:  The Evangelism Committee is meeting and doing something! Actually, a lot of things. Someone takes a pie to a visitor’s home. Conversations are filled with ideas about how we can connect with the community and improve our ministry for Christ.

Most people do not know that I can:  With the help of the Holy Spirit, compose songs. I only have about a dozen, but I never thought I would be able to write one. I have humorous songs like “Are You Gonna Fly or Are You Gonna Fry?” I have serious songs like “Bye Bye Bitterness Hello Holiness” based on Hebrews 12:15 (get rid of bitterness). I have two songs about circuit riders “Go Ride That Trail” and “Ride On.”

In my free time I enjoy:  Strumming the guitar and singing those old camp meeting songs and bluegrass Gospel songs. I create dramatic monologues and commit them to memory.

One of my most fond childhood memories of church involves:  I remember how special Easter Sunday seemed. So much preparation was made for that single Sunday. Usually Mom would make my suit for that day. I mean pants with a matching coat that made little Eddie really look spiffy! And everybody looked like they jumped off the pages of the Sears and Roebuck Catalogue.

One of the best books I have read recently is:   I have truly enjoyed The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. People have abandoned the righteousness of God for a lot less today. This man could have safely remained in the United States, but he returned to Germany to help as many people as possible during Hitler’s horror. And Bonhoeffer died as he stood for God’s righteousness.

The most gratifying part of being a Methodist Minister is:  I am thankful for the connectional system. For the clergy and congregations there is support beyond the local church. This support and security helps me focus on serving Christ.

In 2-3 years, I hope our Church is:  I would love to see young families involved in our church. Children, youth, and young married people who want to come and be a part this church because they consider Brundidge United Methodist Church to be a valuable part of their lives.

 

Elizabeth Whatley

Pastor, Neal's Chapel United Methodist Church

What brought you to the Ministry? I came to the saving knowledge of Christ at the age of 28.  I had an overwhelming hunger for the Word of God and did all I could to learn more. Being raised Baptist, I did not think women should be in the pulpit until a women was appointed to my church.  I saw the gifts and graces that a women can bring to the pastorate. I knew then that I would discern my calling in ministry.

If I had not been called to the Ministry, I would probably be:  I was a registered Medical Technologist for 33 years before retiring from Auburn University to have more time for pastoral care of the congregation and continued spiritual growth.

Something exiting going on at my Church is:   Neal’s Chapel is an extremely giving church, caring for those in their community that need a bill paid, a bathroom door widened or whatever their need may be. We recently had an Auburn vs. Alabama for Community Hospice Care, and raised quite a bit of money and collected nonperishable food items.  By the way, Auburn blew the doors off Alabama. They also support the United Methodist Children’s home through the White Christmas offering to name a few.

Most people do not know that I can: juggle a little. I also play a 12 string guitar.

In my free time I enjoy: Spending time with my friends and family. Watching Auburn University baseball in person and football on TV.

One of my most fond childhood memories of church involves: I can’t say that I have one. I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition and can’t say I ever wanted to go to church. I do remember when all the churches in Auburn would get together and have a joint Christmas program. They were special and I enjoyed going to them.

One of the best books I have read recently is: Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson.

The most gratifying part of being a Methodist Minister is: Sharing Jesus Christ with others and seeing them grow spiritually.

In 2-3 years, I hope our Church is: continuing to grow and having to add an additional worship service.

 

Clayton Smith

Mt. Zion United Methodist Church

What brought you to the Ministry?   I began in Lay Speaking and wanted to preach full time.

If had not been called to the Ministry, I would probably be a:    Truck driver. I like being on the road and going to places I have never been.

Something exiting going on at my Church is:   I always enjoy our continuous efforts to offer hospitality to the community of Smiths Station

Most people do not know that I can:   Relate to the problems people face on an everyday basis.

In my free time I enjoy:  Camping, being outdoors, and watching as much football as time will allow.

One of my most fond childhood memories of church involves:  Good sermons.

One of the best books I have read recently is:  I don’t have as much time on my hands as I would like to for reading.

The most gratifying part of being a Methodist Minister is:  I enjoy preaching most of all.

In 2-3 years, I hope our Church is:  Still growing

 

George Mathison

Senior Pastor, Auburn United Methodist Church

What brought you to the Ministry?

I was raised in a strong Christian family. My grandfather, John Wesley Mathison, was a minister in this annual conference; my dad was a minister in this conference; and my brother, John Ed, also. Obviously, I was deeply influenced by their ministries, but I consider my decision to go into ministry to be very personal. I remember I reflected upon the possibility for several months, and then my dad led the music in revival services in the First United Methodist Church in Luverne, Alabama.  Dr. Charles Hildreth was the preacher, and Rev. Joe Bullington was the host pastor. That was perhaps one of the most meaningful weeks of my life. During that week, Rev. Bullington’s son, Joe Jr., and I both felt God’s call upon our lives to go into the ministry. I’ve always felt a special closeness to Joe because of our mutual and shared experience that week.

If I had not been called to the Ministry, I would probably be a:

Had God not called me into the ministry, I definitely would have gone into law. I remember I thought about a pre-law course of study in college and I seriously considered going to law school. I’m not sure what kind of lawyer I would have been, but had I not gone into the ministry, I probably would have become an attorney.

Something exiting going on at my Church is:

There are so many exciting ministries and events going on in our church, until it is very difficult to focus upon just one. I’m excited about our many mission trips. Earlier this year, my wife, Monteigne, and I went with several of our members to Nicaragua, and we spent a week there. We are sending out mission teams just about every month. I’m excited about the mission outreach of our church globally, but also, locally with our MERCY ministry (Methodist Emergency Relief) which helps hundreds of people each year in our community with their utility and rental bills. I’m excited about our Food Pantry which provides food for hundreds of needy families in Lee County. For example, over Thanksgiving week, we gave out over five hundred turkeys with all the trimmings.

Most people do not know that I can:

Most people do not know that I have a great interest in American history. In my undergraduate work, I majored in history, and over the years, history has been a fascinating subject for me to study. The truth of the matter is I probably have more books on the American Civil War and World War II in my library than I do books on theology. I have spent time walking the battlefields at Shiloh, Gettysburg, and many areas of Virginia. When I was in seminary at Emory, I studied the Civil War so intently until I could just about tell you where every battle took place, who the commanding generals were, and the outcome of the battles.

In my free time I enjoy:

In my free time I enjoy playing tennis. Tennis was very good to me as it provided a full scholarship for me to go to college, and it’s a sport that I carried with me to seminary, graduate school, and then into the ministry. My wife tells me that I am a better minister and a better husband when I play tennis. It has become a very important part of my life.

One of my most fond childhood memories of church involves:

One of my fondest childhood memories of church involves an experience that occurred when my dad was pastor of the First Methodist Church in Wetumpka. Now, I must be honest and say that I do not remember this, but I’ve had many people tell me about it. In Wetumpka, at that time, the parsonage was next door to the church. I was a little fella not quite one year of age, and my mother and dad and brother, John Ed, went to church next door. They left me at home in the care of a dear friend, and this dear friend went to sleep. My mother and dad told me that I loved Coca-Cola as a little baby boy. I knew where the Coca-Colas were in the refrigerator, but I did not know how to open them. I thought only one person could open a Coca-Cola, and that was my dad. They told me that while this dear friend was sleeping, I waddled to the refrigerator, got a Coca-Cola, proceeded to get the can opener, waddled down the big steps of the parsonage, crossed the yard, and entered the sanctuary. It was about 11:30 a.m. My little dog, Spot, was following close behind me. John Ed said that I then proceeded to walk down the aisle as my dad was beginning his sermon. I had on my little shorts, without a shirt, the Coca-Cola in one hand, the can opener in the other, and my little dog, Spot, was wagging his tail. My mother saw me, and my dad said that was the fastest he had ever seen her move. She grabbed Spot with one hand and me with the other, and took us out of the church. I’m not sure what happened after that, but I’ve got a good idea. 

One of the best books I have read recently is:

Two of the best books I have recently read are Bonhoffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas and Gone for Soldiers by Jeff Shaara. Perhaps these two books represent the balance in my academic quest.

The most gratifying part of being a Methodist Minister is:

The most gratifying part of being a Methodist minister is being able to share the love of Jesus with people, reach out to them in love, and show them that in Jesus Christ we do indeed find life (ζω?). The great mystery of my life is why God called me into the ministry to preach His unsearchable riches. Some glad day when I see Him face to face, I want to ask Him why He would call somebody as unworthy as me.

In 2-3 years, I hope our Church is:

I sincerely believe that at Auburn United Methodist Church, over these next two-and-a-half years, will be the greatest years our church has ever experienced. Never has there been within me such a burning desire to proclaim the good news of the gospel as there is now. Being able to work with the greatest staff in Methodism, I am so excited about the future in every realm of ministry. We will begin our twenty-fourth year at this great university church in 2014, and I look forward to sharing God’s love in this growing community and seeing lives changed.

 

Allen Newton

Senior Pastor, St. James United Methodist Church

What brought you to the Ministry?   My father Doug Newton was a UMC pastor in the Alabama – West Florida Conference, he is still serving as a retired supply pastor in Choctaw Beach, Florida. My Grandfather, Seth Grandberry was also a pastor in the Mississippi Conference all his life. I grew up in the church and in the workings of UM ministry. It wasn’t until after the summer of my freshman year at Huntingdon College that I begin to feel a definite calling. I was serving at Frazer UMC in Montgomery as summer youth intern and was then invited to stay on that fall as Jr. High Youth Minister. Through being actively involved in ministry with others God began to bring clarity to the call He had for me to full time Christian service.
If I had not been called to the Ministry, I would probably be a: landscape Architect. I worked in landscaping during my high school years and loved it.
Something exiting going on at my Church is: God’s presence is so real in our worship and we are seeing people’s hearts turn to God’s love and grace.  We are also seeing many of our young folks stepping into full time Christian service.  This year our staff decided to partner with Georgia Washington Middle School and serve the needs of the teachers and students. It has been so wonderful to see the relationships formed and the deep appreciation the teachers have expressed in feeling supported.
In my free time I enjoy:  Golf, hunting and fishing.

One of my most fond childhood memories of church involves:  Being involved in our church youth group and going to Blue Lake camp every summer.
One of the best books I have read recently is:  American Saint: Francis Asbury & the Methodists
The most gratifying part of being a Methodist Minister is:  Getting to see God’s grace unfold in the lives of people.

In 2-3 years, I hope our Church is:   Debt free and making a definite difference in our community.


 

Glen Pugh

Senior Pastor, Aldersgate United Methodist Church

What brought you to the Ministry?   Truly a call from God.  Since I did not really have a strong connection to the church growing up, becoming a part of the United Methodist Church was really an act of God.  As a young adult I shopped for a church and chose to be United Methodist because of its solid doctrine and the richness of the faith.  I was beginning to sense a call into ministry and I knew that I needed to be in a denomination that I could actually live out my faith with authenticity.

If I had not been called to the Ministry, I would probably be a:  I am not really sure I could do anything else. I enjoy being outdoors and I specifically enjoy the beach. I may have attempted to find a vocation outdoors. I really have no idea what that would be!

Something exiting going on at my Church is:  The continued emphasis on missions and the great way Aldersgate reaches out to others. I am particularly excited about the ministries of Family Promise and the Young Adult outreach taking place at Aldersgate.

Most people do not know that I can: Scuba Dive

In my free time I enjoy: running, kayaking, fishing, hunting, and camping

One of my most fond childhood memories of church involves: The only memory from my loose connection to the church that sticks out to me was the persistence of my Sunday School teacher and his desire to make church and Sunday School a good experience.  He set a great example for what being faithful should look like.

One of the best books I have read recently is: Necessary Endings

The most gratifying part of being a Methodist Minister is: the great people of our denomination, coupled with the solid doctrine and theology.  There is a great spirit among most of the people called Methodist. There is never a dull moment.  Life is exciting and is filled with challenges and opportunities.

In 2-3 years, I hope our Church is: flourishing, living into its identity and reaching more people in this community.

 

Rusty Hutson

Lead Pastor, Cornerstone Church

What brought you to the Ministry?  I was greatly influenced by my pastors John Ed Mathison and Earl Andrews. They were both an important part of God’s call on my life. Also at the time I realized my call to ministry I was at a crossroads in my career. I just began pursuing a passion in my heart to serve the Lord with my whole life. Through prayer and studying the life of the apostle Paul I realized that I wanted to give my life to leading people to know and serve Jesus. No other career would be sufficient for me.

If I had not been called to the Ministry, I would probably be : in the advertising/marketing business.

Something exiting going on at my Church is:  Our missional moves out into our community. We’ve added 2 new sites, one in a school in Auburn and the other in a restaurant/bar in downtown Opelika. Each of the sites is reaching people in very tangible ways with the love of Jesus Christ.

Most people do not know that I can: Juggle

In my free time I enjoy: Golf, hunting, fishing, being with my family.

One of my most fond childhood memories of church involves: Being in the youth choir (I had no musical ability) in order to be with my girlfriend Becky who is now my wife of 24 years.

One of the best books I have read recently is: Secular: Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and Christian: Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley

The most gratifying part of being a Methodist Minister is: The privilege of serving in this global Kingdom movement of Christianity. Sometimes I still can’t believe God chose me.

In 2-3 years, I hope our Church is: Continuing to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

 

Lori Ann Shelton-Puckett

Bradford's Chapel United Methodist Church

What brought you to the Ministry?  God called me at a very young age.  Growing up in North Carolina, I always thought I would attend seminary at Duke.  My mother remarried and we moved to Louisiana.  I married my high school sweetheart who went into the Air Force.  I waited until he retired from the Air Force, and my daughter was grown before stepping out into the role I am currently in, but I (we) have always been in ministry in some capacity.

If I had not been called to the Ministry, I would probably be a: I cannot imagine myself in any other role to be honest.  The closest thing would be a writer, but everything I write is ministry focused.
Something existing going on at my Church is:  People who had left are coming back, and new people are coming each week.  God is moving in a mighty way and people are becoming hungry for God’s presence.
Most people do not know that I can: write short stories and poetry, paint, sew, do flower arranging, and organize just about anything.
In my free time I enjoy: I haven’t had much free time since becoming a “part-time” pastor.  There is no such animal!  I like to spend Wednesday mornings playing my flute at the House of Prayer in Montgomery, and Friday evenings at the Healing Rooms of Montgomery.  I also enjoy writing.
One of my most fond childhood memories of church involves: singing in Children’s Choir.
One of the best books I have read recently is: Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World.
The most gratifying part of being a Methodist Minister is: Having people tell me that the message really spoke to them personally. 
In 2-3 years, I hope our Church is: so on fire for God that we become a beacon of His light for a lost and dying world.  I hope we become known as a praying church; where God’s presence can be tangibly felt.  I pray we get outside our walls and become ministers to the community through evangelism, and meeting the needs of others.  I also pray we will have to begin building a new building due to growth.

 

Tim Thompson

Senior Pastor at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church

What brought you to the Ministry?    There were many influences that opened me to hear God’s call: my parents, some close friends, Bishop Mack Stokes, and Bishop Paul Duffy.

If I had not been called to the Ministry, I would probably be an Attorney.

Something exciting going on at my Church is two major initiatives.  We are involved with the deaf community in Haiti.  We have built a church for the deaf, raised up a deaf pastor, built 150 homes, and working on building a school.  Our next initiative in Haiti will be partnering with others to combat the child slavery issue in Haiti.  Our other main project is in a Montgomery neighborhood.  We are in partnership with the neighborhood association; purchasing homes, training people in home ownership, teaching people how to break free of poverty, developing holistic, spiritual, economic, and relational ministry in the neighborhood.

In my free time I enjoy golf, hunting, gardening, sporting events, collecting old baseball cards.

One of my most fond childhood memories of church involves sitting with my parents in church.  Their influence on my spiritual journey was immense.

One of the best books I have read recently is There are several including Church is a Team Sport by Jim Putnam and Followership by Leonard Sweet.

The most gratifying part of being a Methodist Minister is pointing people to Jesus

In 2-3 years, I hope our Church is creating compelling connections to Christ through having 5000 people in small groups, having compelling mission work outside our walls, and leveraging technology as a means of reaching an unchurched generation for Jesus.