First United Methodist Church on Main Street is welcoming a new pastor this weekend. Rev. James Johnson will preach his first sermon before the local congregation this Sunday, June 30.
“Many faithful pastors have served this church,” said Johnson. “I’m happy to be here and continue that service.”
The son of a Pentecostal evangelist who comes from a family of pastors, Johnson received his calling at the age of 4 and has spent 11 years in the Methodist ministry.
“I made my way to First United Methodist Church. It was the right place for me and my family,” said Johnson, speaking of his wife, Carol, and their daughter, Grace. “Carol is the band director at Avery Trace Middle School in Cookeville. Grace wants to be an entomologist when she grows up. For now, she loves T-ball and riding her bicycle.”
This Sunday’s sermon will be titled “Acting Out” from Acts 2:42.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer, which is my theme for my practice in the ministry,” said Johnson. “No matter which church you are, Acts is the basics. That’s where I like to start before we go anywhere else.”
Acts 2:42 teaches us the ministry is more than what happens in church, says Johnson.
“It’s not just enough for us to know our faith. We need to share our faith with others,” he said. “Our fellowship shouldn’t just be within the walls. To break bread is an understanding of God’s grace and that we break bread, with not only Methodists, but we share bread and break bread with all people as Christ did with all people. If we don’t have a solid prayer life and if we don’t understand what it means to be in conversation with God, it makes it very hard to be a disciple.”
Johnson has no plans to begin making changes or to immediately start new programs.
“What I hope to do in the coming weeks and months is listen to the story of the people in McMinnville,” he said. “That way I can support and with creative imagination be able to think about what would best fit the needs of this town. When you are sent to a church, you aren’t just sent to the church. You are sent to be a person of the community. When the community is strengthened, your church is strengthened.”
Contemporary service is held at 8 a.m. in the Outreach Building, Sunday School is at 9:30 a.m. Traditional service is held at 10:30 a.m., and Spanish-speaking service is Saturday nights at 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome.