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First United Methodist Pastor Wade Harman

WADE HARMAN

FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH GRAPELAND

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

This is a series of reports the Messenger will be doing each Sunday about local Pastors in our area. To see the full interview, check out the video at the end of this article. The Messenger would like to thank Cutshaw Chevrolet in Grapeland for sponsoring this week’s edition of Sunday Sitdown.

Wade Harman has been the Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Grapeland for three years. He has been preaching for 19 years.

What is your goal now at your church?

“Things are finally a little more normal than they have been for some time (after COVID). We’ve lost some members, some of them very dear to our church and to our community. We have gained some new members. It’s time to take a look and say, ‘Who are we? What are we about? What has God called us to do as a body of Christ? And where is He at work in our community?And where does He want us to come and join Him there?’ And I think that’s the mean deal with Evangelism; not say we’re here doing this, God bless us in our efforts. He may bless us, but He may do much more if we look where God is at work in our community? We want to join God where He is at. That’s what I see as one of the biggest challenges for churches.

What is the most difficult thing about being a preacher?

“It wouldn’t have stopped me, but there were some things I didn’t see coming going into the ministry. Not being able to visit family on the weekends. It can take a toll on your family, and family is important to me.”

What do you think God wants from each of us?

“Just what He told His disciples. Take up your cross and follow Me. When you start unpacking that there’s a whole lot to that. That means living a life of repentance. To truly follow Him. That means growing in a relationship with Him. Reading the Bible, prayer. Being a part of your faith community. Serving Him, and then reaching out to others. All of that builds up together. To follow Him.”

What can be done do to get more young people involved in church? 

“It is an issue, and I think it’s an issue for a lot of churches. When we say ‘young people,’ for me that’s people 30 and younger, not just high school. The church today is not what it was 40 or 50 years ago. Before, you opened the door and people came to church. Now it’s not the same. But if we take a look at what Jesus did, He built relationships outside of the church. And that is what the church really needs to do. We need to be building relationships not just with the Christian community, but find ways where we can be in relationships with people who don’t go to church. Especially with our teenagers, which is a great need. This is something that has been burdening me for the last six or twelve months. There are many who are hurting. And the consequences of that – alcoholism, drugs, even suicide. We need to build relationships with our youth and adults that are outside of our church family.”

 Do you have a favorite verse or passage from the Bible?

“The one that means the most to me comes from Psalm 51. Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me. That’s something we need every day. Because we stumble, we fall. Some days maybe we just stub our toe. Some days we may fall completely on our face. Face plant right on the pavement. We need that on a continual basis. Just create in me a clean heart.”

What will you say to or ask God when you meet Him?

“I actually expect when I come face to face with God, that’s not going to matter. We all have a lot of those questions. God says, ‘You probably already know the answer to that. Search your heart and you already know the answer to those earthly questions.’ There may be some theological questions; how does the Father, Son and Holy Spirit work? When we see God, we are going to be so overwhelmed with his glory that all of our questions will pale.”

Greg Ritchie can be reached at greg@messenger-news.com

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