Thursday, August 7, 2014
It doesn’t take much to make Scott Johnson happy.
Give him music, a mountain bike, his family and his faith. He’s got that now in his newest position, associate pastor at Belin Memorial United Methodist Church.
In a way, Johnson, 35, was born to pastor. He gave his first sermon as a 12-year-old, although he says he doesn’t recall the subject.
“It isn’t about what you say as much as it’s about obedience,” he said, a philosophy he carried with him into his adult life.
It’s also why he carries his music with him. “At the risk of a bad pun, music has been instrumental in my life,” he said. He plays acoustic guitar, piano and other instruments and he’s good enough to have put out some CDs.
As a younger man, he said he played Christian heavy metal music in secular venues.
But even then, he wasn’t heading toward the pulpit. When he graduated from Aynor High School, he was heading toward a career as a graphic designer and animator. And he was good, too. Some of his classmates went on to jobs with LucasFilms and Pixar.
Not Johnson, though. He had a different calling. “I had to move away to come home,” he said.
That homecoming kept him in the Grand Strand. As a student, he would send his Sundays pastoring three churches. “I’d drive from Andrews to Myrtle Beach,” he said.
Once he was ordained, his travel was cut back considerably and his path became more direct. “I have a job to do, and that’s to advance the kingdom of Jesus Christ.”
He does not take that responsibility lightly. He says he tries to “disciple” people, just as Jesus did. Jesus’ disciples went into the world following Jesus’ footsteps, and Johnson said he wants to see church members do the same.
He said it doesn’t matter if the church he pastors is large or small, his efforts – and othose of other pastors – are the same.
“There are only so many hours in the day,” he said, and then he praises the pastors of small churches.
“They’re the ones who answer the phones, fix the toilet, minister to the congregation, all without help,” he said, noting that even solo pastors especially need to make time for themselves.
He admits that it’s easier working with a larger church because of the staff, which shares some of the administrative tasks.
Being at a bigger church also provides additional opportunities. For instance, at Belin he and senior pastor Mike Alexander will share duties not only with the main services, but with a new project called the Harbor – a more modern way to worship, where jeans and T-shirts may outnumber dresses and slacks.
“At the core, it’s about being obedient to God,” he said, a mantra Johnson repeats often.
In a way, Johnson has practiced obedience, not only to God, but to his bishop, who asked him to make his last two moves, including the one to Belin.
He did not ask to come to the Inlet, but when he was asked to move, he did not decline. “I feel like I was sent to Union (his previous church), I have been sent to Belin.”