A Moment for Mission
“Speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts; always give thanks to God … for everything.” —Ephesians 5:19-20, CEB
Although Donald Cox felt a call to ministry for many years, he said, “I avoided it by making deals with God.”
He earned an engineering degree from the University of Louisville in Kentucky. When his children were young, he began attending church regularly. He did odd jobs around the church, drove the church van and taught Sunday school. Eventually, he was invited to preach at a church that could not afford a pastor.
“After the second Sunday,” he remembers, “I felt peace. I knew what God was calling me to do.”
His senior pastor, the Rev. Mike Gibbons, recommended the Appalachian Local Pastors School, supported by the United Methodist Ministerial Education Fund. Founded 30 years ago, the school began with seven students. Today, yearly attendance is approximately 100 local pastors from 18 annual conferences of The United Methodist Church. ALPS is an extension school of the Emory University Course of Study School. It is approved by the Division of Ordained Ministry of The United Methodist Church.
“ALPS has been a blessing in my life,” he said. “The fellowship sets it apart. We shared so much about each other, our relationships with our congregations and God that we became family.”
“I hope people can see God working in and through my actions,” he said.
Thank you for supporting the Ministerial Education Fund.
Loving God, thank you for your many blessings. We praise you with “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” and are grateful for your servants in ministry. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost — Eternal God, our time in this life is limited, and our days are numbered. Yet you have reminded us that if we are wise and use that time well, you have an eternity waiting for us that is beyond our imagining. Help us to focus on what we have, and what we can share, and how the gifts we offer this day can bless others until we are joined with them and your children give you their thanks and gratitude for the rest of eternity. In Christ, we pray. Amen. (Ephesians 5:15-20)
Raised in a conservative denomination that restricted women’s leadership roles, Sarah Fotopulos worked in church administration at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Nixa, Missouri, before realizing God had more for her to do. “I would not have recognized or followed the call,” she said, “if it weren’t for faithful men and women who helped me realize God was calling me deeper into waters I never dreamed existed.
“I told God I had no idea what he was up to or how it was going to work because I had a family at home and a job I liked. Doors began opening, conversations started happening, and I went to the senior pastor with the crazy idea I was called into pastoral ministry. All of a sudden it became real.”
The Appalachian Local Pastors School, made possible by Ministerial Education Fund support, fit Sarah’s schedule and lifestyle. “Once I attended ALPS,” she said, “I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.”
Thank you for sharing through the Ministerial Education Fund.
Barbara Dunlap-Berg, freelance writer and editor, retired from UMCom