David Moore has been a fixture
at the Baptist State Convention in one capacity or another for most of 36
And in his current assignment as consultant in pastoral ministries he
may be happier, more fulfilled and more effective than ever.
Moore, 63, started at the
Convention in 1974 in youth and campus ministries.
Baptist Student work was his
“deep first love” he said because BSU “had been a real influencer in my faith
Approaching age 40 in 1987
and dealing with the death of his sister in a car wreck and wondering “what
else” is out there, he left the Convention to become human resources director
for an electrical contractor in Raleigh.
While he called that an
“extraordinarily educating” experience, he eventually found it “not the place
where the full range of who I am could be utilized.”
He appreciated becoming the
de facto company chaplain, and was enriched by engaging people outside “the
comfortable family of faith.”
But in 1991 he returned to
the Convention in the office of Christian Life and Public Affairs, which at the
time had several professionals and support staff who helped North Carolina
Baptists “express their faith in the warp and woof of life.”
He later “hunkered down” in
senior adult work where he found “great joy” and “learned how to grow old,” in
the midst of those who were doing it well.
When the Convention was
developing leadership coaching, Moore was fully engaged, training coaches at
Hollifield Leadership Training Center.
That emphasis was scaled
back by a changing administration and when Wayne Oakes retired from the
pastoral ministries, Moore was tapped to nurture pastors through difficult
times of transition from forced separations.
His office “is a listening
post,” with an ear to churches having conflicts, or looking for a new pastor,
or which call and say, “Our pastor is up to something we don’t like; can you
come and fix it?”
Moore gets involved in
church conflict only by invitation and only if both pastor and congregation
agree. But if the hammer falls and a pastor is forced to leave, Moore has a
tool bag of helps: emergency financial assistance, a health retreat, a personal
ministry evaluation, and a job share system.
He said falling attendance,
income deficits and generational gaps are making churches “anxious and afraid.”
“Fear drives a lot of things
that people do,” Moore said.
Churches look for someone to
blame for their problems and the pastor becomes “the obvious and convenient
Ironically, he said, often
if growth follows a new pastor, the church discovers “they really didn’t want
to grow because of the change growth brings.”
Moore learns of six to eight
pastors a month who have been fired from their churches, and says “there are
probably more we don’t know about.”
Dealing with health
Using a medical analogy,
Moore says ultimately he wants to help healthy pastors and churches stay
healthy, rather than expending most of his energy in the emergency room. But if
someone is bleeding, the first task is to staunch the blood flow.
“Our deep desire is a more
aggressive, preventative movement toward health,” he said. “Not that we will
stop assisting people when they are wounded, but the greater movement for the
kingdom of God comes from a position of health.”
Moore would like pastors in
healthy situations to do some of the ministry evaluations and personal
assessments that he guides men through who have been terminated.
In termination situations,
these assessments are not done to assign fault, but to help the pastor and
family get a handle on where he is and where he needs to go in the future, to
“check the wind of God in your life and see how that’s blowing.”
“I wish we had the resources
so that every pastor – not as he’s getting fired – but 2-3-4 times in his
career would avail himself of this and assess leadership skills, gaps and his
“This is something I have
tons of energy about,” Moore said.
“This is not ‘take two of these at bedtime
and you’ll get better.’ This is intentionality.”
Moore’s office also helps churches
in the interim and offers a “sharing service” online that helps to match
potential pastors with churches looking for a pastor. He said half of the
churches using the service are from outside North Carolina.
Utilizing consultants, Moore
also offers conflict resolution services. Too often by the time a church or
pastor asks for help, the situation is beyond rescue. But when a church is
willing to try, Moore carefully matches it with a seasoned consultant. “It’s a
deeply congregational process,” he said.
“For churches that take the
risk of asking for assistance I take great hope in the fact they’re willing to
face into the reality in their church,” Moore said.
Too many though think it
“unchristian to say we have conflict” so they neglect healthy choices.
Moore freely admits the
Baptist State Convention is “not the answer giver.” Instead, his office is a
“connector of resources” and “a place that invites people into discussion and
dialog, prayer and a place of deep discernment to discover ‘What do we need?
How do we get there?’”
‘A Christmas Carol’
One of the constant joys in
Moore’s life is his 13-year run as Bob Cratchit in the enormously popular
production of “A Christmas Carol” in Raleigh. With rehearsals and nine sold out
shows in Raleigh’s — and this year in Durham’s — premier venues, the show
occupies most nights for 10 weeks each year.
Moore’s character is Tiny
Tim’s father, the abused bookkeeper for Scrooge himself. Moore finds in the
story great gospel themes of redemption, changed lives and second chances.
And it is all very personal
He joined the cast five
years before he started playing Bob Cratchit as he was going through the pain
of a divorce.
“There is so much in the
show that is healing,” he said.
“For me it is a story within
a story. Scrooge got a second chance. There was redemption, a look at the past,
present and future. It’s a story about transformation.”
In the first years of his
being in the show he met a cast member named Carol, to whom he has now been
married for 12 years.
He continues to be involved
in the production because “I live in the memory of what happened to me,” he
“It’s a ritual…in the context of the One who gave us that redemption.”
As a minister he has done
both weddings and funerals for members of his stage family.
He carries all of who he is
into whatever situation he finds himself.
Being a magnetic gospel
person, others are drawn to him for conversations about faith, about the
meaning of life and about their own wounds and hopes.
“It’s a great place to live
out your faith and to bear witness,” he said.