Tag Archives: George Mason University

Forest Road UMC: “a wonderful opportunity”

After a thirty plus year hiatus I have once found myself again in the role of pastor. At the end of June I accepted a part-time appointment as pastor to the Forest Road United Methodist Church here in Lynchburg, Virginia. My long-time friend, Larry Davies, the District Superintendent here on the Lynchburg District suggested that serving the Forest Road congregation would be a “wonderful opportunity” for me to put into practice my mission ideas included in my first book, Getting Off Our Buts.

First, I have to admit I accepted the appointment as a favor to Larry, and I did so with more than a little trepidation. I wasn’t sure I could still be an effective pastor. A lot has changed in 30 years. And second, I knew I already had a fairly full plate. I am still appointed to Stop Hunger Now and I am now also an adjunct professor at George Mason University.

Fear often slows me down, which is what it is supposed to do, but I learned long ago never to let it stop me. And even though I knew I would have to walk a scheduling tightrope, I felt that if I was careful I could manage all my commitments. So I now once again find myself in the midst of active pastoral ministry.

And I have to admit something else. I am loving it. There’s definitely all the frustrations I remember from my early days in the pastoral ministry…but there is also the deep joy of seeing folks come alive to the gospel message. I love visiting with folks in their homes. And I am finding it fulfilling to again being in a position where I am daily called to demonstrate real servant leadership.

And even though I wouldn’t admit it to him, Larry was right. Forest Road United Methodist Church is indeed proving to be a “wonderful opportunity” to teach loving and caring folks how we can all get off our buts to make mission happen.

(Oh, and by the way, Getting Off Our Buts is now available on Amazon.)

my first lesson plan

Tomorrow is a big day for me. It’s the day I begin teaching at George Mason University. And yes, I am excited. GMU is now the largest university in Virginia, with an enrollment of over 34,000 students.

Teaching at the college level is something that I have wanted to do for a number of years. I have taught dozens of classes at various colleges and universities and I always walked away from those experiences wanting more. I always leave those classes wanting the chance to do more, to interact more deeply with the students. Now I have been given the opportunity to do exactly that.

So for the next 15 weeks I will be commuting up to Fairfax, VA every Wednesday to teach Sociology 352: Social Problems. Not surprisingly, the class will focus on global hunger.

I am not exactly excited about the drive, but I am thoroughly pumped about spending 3 hours a week engaging young people in learning about ending hunger. I have already been enjoying the challenge of learning to fully integrate the internet as a teaching tool.  (And I used the word “challenge” intentionally. Those that know me best know my abilities with electronic media)

But the reality is that this semester is a tremendous opportunity for both me and the students in the class. Together we get to figure out how our spirituality, our values and our lifestyles all merge together in the midst of a hungry world. And hopefully, by the time Christmas rolls around, we will all have learned how each of us can make a real and lasting difference in that world. I want us all to leave the class knowing that by working together we can end hunger in our lifetime.

At least that ‘s the lesson plan.