Dana Moore: ‘The absolute joy of being used by God to bless others’

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Dana Moore has been pastor of Second Baptist Church in Corpus Christi nine years. From deep in the heart of one Texan, he shares his background and thoughts on church and ministry. To suggest a Baptist General Convention of Texas-affiliated minister to be featured in this column, or to apply to be featured yourself, click here.

Background

Where else have you served in ministry, and what were your positions there?

I have been pastor of Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Amarillo, Mustang Baptist Church in Pilot Point and New Salem Baptist Church in Lott.

Where did you grow up?

Houston

How did you come to faith in Christ?

The witness of my parents and Sunday school teachers was powerful on me as a young child. I believed what they taught me about salvation and told my parents I wanted to receive Jesus. My mother took me to talk to our pastor, Paul Stephens, and at the age of 6, I was terrified when I met him. He was larger than life to me. Bro. Paul wanted to wait to baptize me, but I was adamant about my belief. Eventually, he relented, and at 6 I was baptized.

Where were you educated, and what degrees did you receive?

Baylor University, bachelor of arts

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, master of divinity and doctor of philosophy

Ministry/church

Why do you feel called into ministry?

One Sunday, a deacon preached for the pastor while he was away. It surprised me as a youth to learn someone other than a minister could preach and thought how I might like to do that someday. Years later, as a junior in high school, I began to pray about what profession God would lead me to fulfill. Nothing interested me. Still, there was that memory of a deacon filling in years ago to preach for the pastor, which intrigued me. Was God using my desire to preach one sermon someday as way of calling me into the ministry?

I prayed all the more and began using 1 Timothy 3:1 in my prayers, “Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.” If God wanted me to be a pastor, then he needed to give me a desire to do so. Ever since then, God has consistently fueled the flames of desire to serve him as pastor of a local church.

What is your favorite aspect of ministry? Why?

Seeing disciples of Jesus developed, whether it’s one coming to faith for the first time or a long-time saint learning to see God more clearly. What really excites me in the whole process is passing along insight into the Bible and how that insight may be applied to life.

What one aspect of congregational life gives you the greatest joy?

I love hearing testimonies focusing on how Jesus is affecting people’s lives. These “Jesus stories” inspire and encourage me and the whole church. Whether they are ordinary or miraculous, it’s always a joy to hear how Jesus is impacting lives.

What one aspect of congregational life would you like to change?

The attitude that we’re good exactly as we are right now. The notion that there’s no need for improvement or change. In reality, none of us is so good that we only need some fine-tuning in our lives to achieve all that God wants us to be.

How has your ministry or your perspective on ministry changed?

Grace has grown in importance through the years. Being gracious has far exceeded the value of being certain, which I had in abundance when I was young.

How do you expect congregational life to change in the next 10 to 20 years?

My concern is that society is going to continue to drive change in the church instead of the church leading society to change.

What do you wish more lay people knew about ministry or, specifically, your ministry?

The absolute joy of being used by God to bless others. If more lay people had that experience, then more would get involved in ministry.

About Baptists

What would you change about the Baptist denomination—state, nation or local?

I would accelerate the effort in getting more minorities and women into leadership roles. Also, we need younger people to be more involved in all areas of Baptist work. It seems the value of cooperative work isn’t as valued as it once was, and only through cooperative efforts can great work be done.

About Dana

Who were/are your mentors, and how did/do they influence you?

Robert Cupps was called to be pastor of the church where I grew up about the same time I started my first pastorate. Robert gave me valuable guidance and insight into leading a local community of faith. Also, Dan Kent, my Old Testament adviser at Southwestern Seminary, quietly and humbly grew my thirst for studying God’s word in an academic environment.

What did you learn on the job you wish you learned in seminary?

The amount of time and effort a pastor must spend on administrative matters surprised me. Specifically, the amount of attention church buildings need still amazes me today.

If you could get one “do over” in ministry, what would it be, and why?

I wish I would have been a better listener. My tendency is toward being hyperactive, which works against listening to others naturally. It is something I still struggle with, and I wish I would have known much earlier the importance of giving my full attention to everyone I came into contact with.

To read other “Deep in the Hearts of Texans” columns, click here.


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