PERRY -- I think a theme for our church would be from Colossians 1:28, said Parker Agnew, pastor of Perry Presbyterian Church. We proclaim Jesus. We want people to know Christ and understand the Gospel, to see our society and world changed by the Gospel. Thats been the heart of the church in the time Ive been here and throughout its history.
Agnew said Perry Presbyterians history stretches back to the late 1800s when a Methodist church let Perry Presbyterian founders start meetings in its basement. He said the church soon had its own building in downtown Perry and by the early 1900s moved to its current location on Second Street.
He said Perry Presbyterian began as part of a Southeastern Presbyterian denomination that became the Presbyterian Church USA when Northern and Southern groups came together. In 1974, the church became part of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), which he said is a more conservative denomination.
Agnew said he first came to the church as youth pastor after graduating seminary in 1988 at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Miss. He served until 1991, when he moved to churches in Mississippi and Alabama.
He said in 2001 he returned to Perry Presbyterian to speak at a family life conference, which led to his being called back as youth and family pastor. It was in 2009 he became lead pastor.
Agnew and his wife, Anne, have two married daughters.
Having been youth pastor here and being here as many years as I have, its been fun seeing the generations coming through -- seeing children born, getting married, having their own babies, he said. Having taken so many on ministry trips and then seeing their children go on them, its all been wonderful from a pastoral point of view. The folks here have been instrumental in helping to disciple our girls as well, so it works both ways. Its been a fun experience for us. I hope the church would say that, too.
Agnew said he initially found it difficult to leave student and youth ministry to become a lead pastor. He said he has always enjoyed working with young people, including time he spent as a Campus Crusade staff member at Georgia Southern College from 1980 to 1982.
I still love being involved with students, he said. If youre pastor, you still get to be involved with them and pray for them. Ministry is all about relationships, whether its youth ministry or adult ministry. I dont have the relationship I want with everyone, but I do the best I can.
For Agnew, that ongoing connection with young people even includes occasional practical jokes.
We just have fun, and they sure dont mind messing with me, either, he said. I guess it helps them know Im accessible and that their pastor is just a real person who loves Jesus. Relationship in ministry is everything.
Agnew said whether its youth or adult ministry, his focus is still on the means of grace through preaching and teaching Gods word and the sacraments, baptism and the Lords supper, which he said are not magical but visual representations of Gods word and what God has done for man.
Contact Michael W. Pannell at firstname.lastname@example.org.