How long have you been a Pastor? I have been a pastor for 5 years, all of which I have served as the Associate Pastor at Hickory FUMC. I was ordained as an elder at the 2016 Annual Conference at Lake Junaluska. I am excited to begin my 6th year serving as pastor at Murphy FUMC!
During seminary, I served as an intern in three different settings: Myers Park UMC in Charlotte, Gethsemane UMC north of Greensboro, and as a Hospital Chaplain Intern at Duke University Hospital. Prior to that I worked for one year as the Coordinator of Children and Youth Ministries at my home church, FUMC of Live Oak, FL. I’m thankful to have had experiences in churches of all different settings and sizes, with a variety of ministries and worship styles. Each experience has been a gift that has helped me grow in ministry.
Where are you from? I grew up in Live Oak, Florida, a small town just 15 minutes south of the Georgia border. A good bit of the activity and economy in Live Oak revolved around agriculture, and, of course, there were all the offices and opportunities it takes to make a county and town run. My wife, Lea, grew up in the same area, and we started dating when we were in high school. In high school, I played soccer and was in the marching band for a few years. After college, we moved to Durham, NC so I could attend seminary at Duke. Once you come to North Carolina, it’s hard to imagine leaving. We fell in love with Western NC, and believe the Western NC Conference of The UMC is full of strong ministries and visionary leadership. While in seminary, I changed from the Florida to the Western NC Conference, and since then NC has been home.
Are you married? Do you have children? I am! And we do! Lea and I have been married 8 years, and will celebrate our 9th anniversary on December 19. We have one son, Nathanael, who just had his first birthday this past April 6, which also happens to be Lea’s birthday! That’s right, Lea and Nathanael have the same birthday. Makes it easy for me to remember, right?
How old are you? Old enough to rent a car, but not old enough to run for President 🙂 I am 31 years old, and turning 32 on March 6.
What is your favorite Bible verse or story? Ruth. All of it. I love the book of Ruth because it is a story about people going to work, making a living and carving out a life. It’s about family and friendship. Ruth tells a story of loss and grief, as well as surprise and new life. It’s about fidelity and redemption. And God is in the midst of it all. Here are my favorite lines:
But Ruth said,
“Do not press me to leave you
or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
and your God my God.
Where you die, I will die—
there will I be buried.
May the Lord do thus and so to me,
and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!”
Ruth 1:16-17, NRSV
My other favorite places to turn in the Bible are Genesis, the Psalms, and the Gospel According to John.
Do you think there is room for humor in worship and ministry? Goodness yes! I don’t think we can get too far in faith or life without humor. The Bible is full of moments of irony and comedy, and there are places where I think writers expect we’ll laugh out loud. The Bible touches on every aspect of human emotion and experience. I believe God wants us to bring our whole, authentic selves to worship, not holding back any part of who we are–including our great joys and our sadnesses, and everything in between.
What kind of preacher are you? I love studying Scripture and being surprised by God, and I hope to share that journey when I preach. I like to tell stories, and I always try to say something true about God, and something that builds up the church. I think a sermon is part of the bigger conversation taking place in worship and throughout the week. The length of a sermon depends on what else is going on (it’s part of the larger conversation)–sometimes 10 minutes, sometimes closer to 18-20, but longer than that and I start to have a hard time holding my own attention.
I don’t have many recordings of sermons that you can watch or listen to, but here is a link to a sermon I delivered as the guest preacher at Plains UMC in Canton, NC the Sunday before Palm Sunday this past year:
I think this gives you a pretty good idea of who I am as a preacher.
What are your passions in ministry? I think ministry is simple: love God, love our neighbors as ourselves, and go and make disciples. It all comes down to the greatest commandments and the great commission. And everything in ministry is about relationships–with one another, with God, and with our community. It’s simple, but anyone who has been following Jesus for more than a day knows that “simple” isn’t the same as easy. We wholly depend on the strength and guidance of the Spirit.
I really enjoy preaching and teaching, dwelling in Scripture, and seeing where God’s story comes to life in our own stories. My two great passions in ministry are around schools and prisons/jails. Being involved in both are essential to me. I also get excited when it comes to looking at how we can be the church outside of the church building, how we can go to and be the church in the community we already call home.
I have loved getting to hear about the things God is doing at Murphy FUMC, and I can’t wait to join with you in ministry.
What are your hobbies? So much of mine and Lea’s life right now revolves around things we can do with Nathanael, which includes playing at parks and playgrounds. We also enjoy being outdoors, camping and hiking. We can’t wait to explore in and around Murphy. It also feels like now is the time to get a pair of kayaks so we can get on the river, and it’s time I dust off my fly-fishing rod. Of course, I wouldn’t turn down any help learning how to use it. I also enjoy reading, writing, and playing at woodworking. I look forward to poking around at the John C. Campbell Folk School. Lately I’ve been rediscovering the joys of baseball–mostly going to games, and being in the atmosphere.
Where did you go to school? I graduated from Florida Southern College with a bachelors degree in English. FSC is a small, United Methodist liberal arts college in Lakeland, FL. From there, I went to seminary at Duke Divinity School where I graduated with a Masters of Divinity. Once basketball season rolls around, now you know where our loyalties lie 🙂 Part of what I love about being United Methodist is how we talk about loving God with our heart and head. I’m a life-long learner, and I look forward to growing with you at Murphy FUMC.
When are you moving here? We will move in on Saturday, June 30. If you are around that day and want to help unload the truck, we would sure appreciate it. That next week we will be settling in at home and the church. The Conference builds in transition time for moving pastors, so my first “official” day in the office will be July 9 and my first Sunday preaching in worship will be July 15.
What are your priorities when you arrive? I learned an important mantra from a prison ministry I’ve been part of: “Listen, Listen, Love, Love”. My first priorities are to listen and love–to hear what God is up to at FUMC and in Murphy, and to join with you in loving God, one another, and our neighbor. From there, if we’re hanging out together with God, kingdom-building will happen.
What else? I’m sure you have other questions that I haven’t touched on. If you do, please comment below, and I’ll answer there, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find me on social media: on Facebook, I’m “Wil Posey”, and on Instagram and Twitter I’m @wilposey.
What about you? One of the first things I’ll be doing when we arrive in Murphy is listening and getting to know you. I’m really looking forward to that!