During a series entitled “Church Characters,” I’m recalling some memorable people from decades of ministry.
This week’s blog culminates my articles on church characters. Each played a role in shaping my soul and informing my ministry. I decided to conclude the series by focusing on the biggest church character of all: ME!
I graduated seminary in May 1982. A month later the bishop appointed me as pastor-in-charge of Mount Carmel and Emory Chapel United Methodist Churches. The congregations outside Newnan, Georgia formed a two-point circuit in order to support a full-time minister.
I preached at Emory Chapel, the smaller of the two congregations, at 9:45 a.m. Then I sped to Mount Carmel for the 11:00 a.m. service. The larger church also held a weekly Sunday night service, which meant preparing two sermons weekly—and weakly!
The Mount Carmel members built a parsonage next door to the church. The 3/2 home served the needs of a single pastor. The congregation dismissed central heat and air as extravagant luxuries. A wood heater warmed the front part of the house. An attic fan sucked air down the hall during the summer.
I moved to town with all of my worldly possessions in the back of a friend’s pickup truck and my Honda Civic. A 19-inch TV with rabbit ears provided 3 channels of static-filled entertainment. I bought a microwave my first Christmas and felt like royalty.
Four suits composed my entire ensemble, and I wore one per Sunday on a monthly basis. I possessed two pairs of dress shoes and various colors of dress shirts. As a bachelor with no fashion sense, I owned an iron but no ironing board.
Reminiscing on those first years of ministry, I wince at my inexperience and callowness. However, the two congregations adopted me as their own. They treasured their role in raising “boy preachers” to maturity. The members assured me that I would serve great churches in the future. I assured them that I already served great churches in the present.
I am who I am today because of the people who mentored me in the past. Thanks be to God for church characters. Amen.
They mentored greatly and you received humbly! Thanks for your service to our Lord!
David S. Naglee Sent from my iPad
These church characters mentored you, but which one was honest enough to tell you to get a haircut? 😜
That might have been after my wedding day!
Bill, found an old email with the link to your blog; it has been a long time since I was last here! I wanted you to know that I remember when both your hair style and tie were in fashion! Good times! Wishing you and family the best Christmas!