Pastors prep for new starts

CNJ staff photo: Tony Gutierrez Rev. Margot Thompson, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church, moved to Clovis from Espanola in June. Ministry is a second career for Thompson, who was a teacher in California.

By Tony Gutierrez: CNJ staff writer

The Rev. Margot Thompson spent her first night in Clovis at Plains Regional Medical Center with appendicitis.

In an odd way, her ordeal helped her transition to a new community, she said, as her new parishioners at Trinity United Methodist Church rallied to her aid.

She said it reminded her of the first Methodist ministers who would go from town to town and how members of the community would take care of them.

Thompson, who arrived in Clovis in June from Espanola, said it’s hard to start over.

“You send cards and letters to the people you know for a while, you keep on going, and get acquainted with new people,” Thompson said.

For Thompson, 58, the ministry is a second career.

“When I decided to go to seminary, it was a big step,” said Thompson, who previously worked as a teacher and graphic artist. “I said, ‘If I start this, I’m not going to stop.’”

The Rev. Larry Tittle took over West 21st Street Church of Christ in March.

“Some ministers go to a church and stay 20 years or longer and that’s a good thing if the Lord wants them to be there,” said Tittle, who has been in ministry in paid and volunteer capacities since the 1970s.

Tittle, 55, served in Texas and Lovington before coming to Clovis. Tittle said family considerations are important when deciding to move to a new community.

“The minister has to take extra care and concern of his family; just because he’s a minister doesn’t mean he can ignore his family,” Tittle said. “Our children did relatively little moving around. That’s important to the life of a minister’s family.”

While there is an attachment to a previous minister, Tittle said the new minister’s role is to build on that foundation.

“There is an attachment to the individual who’d been here before,” Tittle said. “Your approach to ministry may be slightly or totally different from the way he approached ministry. Paul told the Corinthians there are some who plant, some who water, but He does the increase, so we can build on each other and turn it over to God.”

Tyler Hicks, 27, student ministries pastor at Central Baptist Church, moved to Clovis three weeks ago.

Hicks entered the ministry after spending three summers interning at Central Baptist. The Rev. Derek Osburn, Central Baptist’s associate pastor, was Hicks’ youth pastor in Denver City, Texas.

“He’s (Osburn) so busy doing what he does now as the associate pastor, that he’ll help me if I need him, but he’s not over my shoulder,” said Hicks, who graduated from the seminary in May.

Hicks said his wife, Haley, and family have been supportive of his ministry career. Haley works with girls in the church, he said.

“She (Haley) prays for me a lot and she helps me think through things,” Hicks said. “She lets me preach my sermons to her before I preach and offers feedback.”