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One Sunday in January 2009 I heard my name called. Seven months into my time with the congregation, I was accustomed to post-worship conversations in the pastor’s study but none of my previous meetings had prepared me for what was now afoot. I faced two teachers, one an elder, and one a friend and future member of the congregation, both women fiercely gifted for shaping young minds, and both in the grip of the Holy Spirit.
It had been a rough week at Westwood Elementary, a school struggling against the hounds of poverty, drugs, and hunger in the lives of many of the students’ families. The three of us were gathered together that day by a confluence of a student in crisis and the Spirit’s movement through the Word proclaimed.
This is an excerpt from an essay in Renew 52: 50+ Ideas to Revitalize Your Congregation from Leaders under 50. Download the e-book for free.
Michael D. McLaughlin is the pastor and head of staff of First Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, Miss. Michael is married to Lisa with whom he delights in their children Madeline, Sophia, and True. A graduate of the University of Tennessee and Columbia Theological Seminary, Michael’s interests include ministry, art, music, politics, social justice, the sciences, elephants, and mustache wax.
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