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Moore finds healing in ministry, on stage
Norman Jameson, BR Editor
November 30, 2010
7 MIN READ TIME

Moore finds healing in ministry, on stage

Moore finds healing in ministry, on stage
Norman Jameson, BR Editor
November 30, 2010

David Moore has been a fixture

at the Baptist State Convention in one capacity or another for most of 36

years.

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

development.”

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.

Listening post

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.”

Photo courtesy of ‘A Christmas Carol’

David Moore not only works at the Baptist State Convention but has spent the last 13 years as Bob Cratchit in a Raleigh production of “A Christmas Carol.”

“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

target.”

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

personal life.”

“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.”

Other services

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

to him.

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

said.

“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.

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