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

    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.  

    Related story
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    11/30/2010 4:00:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 1 comments

Gene Scarborough
Wow---I've seen the advertisements for the Play and even a car commercial, but had no idea Bob was "one of us!" This is grand.

We all have a place to exercise our "ministry of influence." In troubled times many of the hurts and pains get directed at innocent people who become the "scapegoat." Baptists are famous for "confessing the sins of others" rather than deal with their own problems.

Too many churches and pastors enter into conflict rather than "helping one another."

With Bob's help it is gratifying to know we can work through our problems. The real magic is to quit our drive for perfection and let ourselves be accepted "warts and all" by people who know us best. Even a divorce can be just a new beginning with the opportunity to do it better the next time.

None of us is perfect and thanks, Bob, for being real!!!!
11/30/2010 4:00:19 PM

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