R.E. “Mickey” Moriarty was the pastor of Community Baptist Church in Ferris for 17 years before retiring in September 2020. 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.
Where else have you served in ministry, and what were your positions there?
• Forest Park Baptist Church, Fort Worth—youth director
• Eastover Baptist Church, Fort Worth—minister of music and youth
• Connell Baptist Church, Fort Worth—youth associate
• Western Park Baptist Church—minister of music and youth
• Lakewood Baptist Church, Dallas—associate pastor
• Hampton Road Baptist Church, DeSoto—pastor
• Bear Creek Baptist Church, Glenn Heights—pastor
• Grace Temple Baptist Church, Dallas—pastor
• First Baptist Church, Lancaster—pastor
Where did you grow up?
How did you come to faith in Christ?
During Vacation Bible School when I was 8 years old.
Where were you educated, and what degrees did you receive?
• East Texas State University and Texas Wesleyan University, Bachelor of Religion
• Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Master of Religious Education
• The University of America, Ph.D.
About ministry life
Why do you feel called into ministry?
I heard the voice of God.
What is your favorite aspect of ministry? Why?
Leading people to Christ, interaction with staff and people, developing disciples.
What one aspect of ministry gives you the greatest joy?
Seeing people become involved in bringing the lost to Christ, church growth and discipleship.
What one aspect of ministry would you like to change?
Probably to see more discipleship training for new Christians.
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How has your ministry or your perspective on ministry changed?
In my more than 45 years of ministry, I have seen change in worship styles, music, youth work and Sunday school—all of which were positive changes when mixed with the established worship styles. I like the new music, but it’s OK to mix in some of the old hymns.
My ministry changed with the coming of the video projector and the ability to put visuals into my messages. Video presentations drastically changed worship, because we now have the ability to put people on the screen—with pictures of mission trips, camps, outings of various kinds, etc.—who otherwise would just be a spectator, and everybody likes to see themselves on TV.
How do you expect ministry to change in the next 10 to 20 years?
I believe organized worship will continue to evolve over the next several years to new levels with the continuing progression of the digital age and new and exciting electronic devices to enhance the worship experience.
Name the three most significant challenges and/or influences facing your ministry.
1. Apathy and internal focus. I have been in ministry more than 40 years, and I’ve never seen church members more apathetic and focused internally.
2. Generational challenges. In many churches, it seems the older generation is determined to nix any new ideas or excitement from the younger generation.
3. Leadership development. We miss many opportunities in ministry, because we fail to have enough leaders trained and ready.
What do you wish more laypeople knew about ministry or, specifically, your ministry?
I wish they knew how hard and challenging it is and how much time it takes to run a vibrant church.
Why are you Baptist?
I am a Baptist because my parents raised me in a Southern Baptist church. In my later years, I discovered through study that the Baptist doctrine best fit what I believed based on God’s word.
There are many more complex reasons for my decision, such as the priesthood of the believer, water baptism by immersion, and the assurance of “once saved, always saved.” I like the fact all Baptist churches are autonomous in nature.
What are the key issues facing Baptists—denominationally and/or congregationally?
Apathy and pride of self in the congregation. Disagreement within the body. Lack of discipleship training. Secularism and widespread differences over the separation of church and state. The lack of evangelism in some local church bodies. Differences in tithing, which some now call stewardship.
What would you change about the Baptist denomination—state, nation or local?
I desire that we could be of one Spirit, as 1 Corinthians 12:13 says.
Who were/are your mentors, and how did/do they influence you?
There have been many mentors in my ministry, the first of which was Ira Bently, pastor at Connell Baptist Church in Fort Worth. He was my first pastor. I was saved under his ministry. Bently was very helpful during my seminary days and recommended me to my first church.
Then there was R.C. Campbell, pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Dallas, and the long-time president of Buckner Baptist Benevolences. He was my pastor when I felt the call to ministry.
Buel Crouch, pastor for 37 years at Grace Temple Baptist Church in Dallas was a great pastor. It was under his leadership that I learned what it really was to be a good pastor.
What did you learn on the job you wish you learned in seminary?
I learned how to handle people, and I’m not really sure that could be taught in a seminary class even if they wanted to.
What is the impact of ministry on your family?
For the most part, ministry has had a very positive effect on my family, but there have been times it kept me away from important family events as my girls were growing up. I missed one of my oldest daughter’s events when she was in high school, because I was on my way to Germany to take part in an evangelical crusade and then a mission trip to Liberia, Africa.
Other than the Bible, name some of your favorite books or authors, and explain why.
I like biographies: General Patton, General Eisenhower, President John Kennedy, President Nixon, President Ronald Regan, President Bush—both 41 and 43. Also, I enjoy fiction authors like John Grisham and Michael Crichton. I like biblical and inspirational writers like Charles Stanley, Robert Jeffress and Max Lucado.
What is your favorite Bible verse or passage? Why?
Romans 8:28-39 speaks of the eternal security and assurance of the believer.
Who is your favorite person in the Bible, other than Jesus? Why?
That’s a hard question. Maybe Peter. Possibly Andrew, because he brought Peter to Jesus. Could be Moses, Abraham or Joseph. Might be John, since he stayed while all the others ran and hid.
Name something about you that would surprise people who know you.
I am a huge Broadway musical fan. I love the lights of Broadway, Times Square and the Stage Deli, which is gone now.
If you could get one “do over” in ministry, what would it be, and why?
I would accept the call to the foreign mission field, and I would use my time more wisely.