Led By: Dr. David P. Melvin
Contact Email: email@example.com
Contact Phone: 309-579-2147
Greetings in the name of Christ! I am your newly appointed pastor, Rev. Dr. David Melvin. My family and I look forward to getting to know you all and helping lead Mossville UMC into fruitful ministry. Although it is difficult for us to leave our current church and home, we trust that God is leading us where he wants us to be. We hope that in Mossville we can find a warm and loving community that we can settle into for many years.
My wife, Kendra, and I are originally from small town southern Illinois. I grew up in Du Quoin, and Kendra is from Sparta. We spent many years in the St. Louis area and came to think of it as “home,” even as we moved around to far away places like Texas and Ohio. We have been married for 15 years in July, and we have two boys, Malachi (11) and Josiah (9), and a girl, Eleanor, due to arrive in the next few weeks. We also have an energetic yellow dog named Lily and a mostly-lazy-but-occasionally-playful cat named Rey.
I come from a professional academic background, and Kendra was a social worker for most of the past 12 years. For the past 8 years I have taught religious studies at numerous colleges, universities, and seminaries in Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, and Texas. I received my Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Baylor University, my M.Div. from Eden Theological Seminary, my M.A. in Jewish Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, and my B.A. in Biblical Studies/Biblical Languages from Evangel University. But alongside my academic career, I have always served in some form of ministry. I worked as a youth/young adults minister for 6 years during and after graduate school, before moving into pastoral ministry three years ago. My first pastorate was in Shipman and Dorchester, IL, where I served for two years. For the past year I have served as pastor (part-time) in Steeleville and Percy, IL, while I taught full-time at a local Christian college. While I never intended to spend only one year here, an unfortunate change in circumstances with my academic career necessitated a move. In short, the college where I served as a full-time professor is closing as a result of a severe financial and administrative crisis. But this isn’t really a “plan B.” Over the past three years, I have gradually come to sense that God is calling me to use my education and gifts more directly in the church. I am now shifting my primary focus from academia to local church ministry, although I do hope to always keep at least a toe in academia.
As a former Bible professor, my pastoral work has a very strong focus on biblical teaching, discipleship, and Christian education. My sermons are down to earth enough to keep most people interested, yet deep enough to make even those who know the Bible well feel like they are learning something. I find that my background as a professor gives me a very unique style and perspective that sets me apart from most pastors. I am experienced and comfortable with both traditional and contemporary worship, and my desire is to incorporate the best of both worlds—to translate the legacy of 2,000 years of Christian tradition into forms that speak to people today. At the same time, I find that it is often helpful to create some intentional dissonance with contemporary culture by retrieving ancient practices that break us out of our 21st century box.
On a more personal note, my biggest interest outside ministry and academics over the past few years has been karate. Malachi, Josiah, and I began taking karate classes about 3 years ago, and we really enjoy it. I am about to test for my black belt, and the boys are about to test for their brown belts. We are also all big St. Louis Cardinals fans, so let me apologize in advance to any Cubs fans in the church for all of the jabs I will work into my sermons. I’m a very good photographer, when I bother to use my fancy DSLR instead of my iPhone. My favorite subject is lightning and other severe weather. When I was in high school I was an amateur storm chaser, and I still do it on occasion, though not as avidly as I once did. But I also take photos of landscapes and people (I refuse to pay professionals for family portraits, because mine are at least as good). We travel a lot, partly because we have moved around the country several times, and partly because part of my work as a biblical scholar and professor has included speaking at conferences around the country and internationally. I have also been fortunate enough to participate in an archaeological excavation in Israel and also to spend a summer studying Hebrew in Israel (both of which I managed to get someone else to pay for).
As for the rest, I will leave it to meeting you all face to face in July and the months and years to come.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Dr. David P. Melvin