I am truly honored as pastor to be joining with and serving with Palmyra and Stokesburg United Methodist Churches. I look forward to experiencing what God has in store for us and I am excited for the possibilities. He has put us together for a reason.
Though I wasn't born yesterday(!) and I am closing in swiftly on retirement age, I am still a relatively new United Methodist minister. I have been called to preach and will do so until I cannot do so any longer, meaning I have no plans to retire from pastoring or ministry anytime soon, though at some point in the distant future I can see myself working as a part-time minister. Besides, my wife, Joanna, is 6 years younger than I and until she retires, I plan to continue to work full-time.
I grew up, basically, in Winston-Salem and Greensboro except for a four-year break in the mid-1960's when I lived near Chicago, IL. I graduated from Jackson Junior High and Ben L. Smith Senior High school in Greensboro. I went on to graduate from UNC-Greensboro with a B.S. in Mathematics and later I graduated from N.C. State with another B.S. in Computer Science. I then worked in the Silicon Valley area of California near San Jose for three years. I was then called to study theology and graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, with a Master of Divinity degree with a specialization in Pastoral Care and Counseling. More recently, I have earned an M.A. in Community Counseling from UNC-Charlotte and I have completed my coursework for my Doctor of Ministry degree from Hood Theological Seminary. I have to develop and implement my project and then write my professional paper on that project. I hope to complete this process in 3 years to receive my doctorate. I guess there is truth to what has been said of me, "Kevin, you have more degrees than a thermometer!" I would add that despite all my education, I have learned a lot!
I attended Southern Baptist (SBC) churches from before I was born. My parents were always very active in church and we went to church almost every time the doors were open and many times when they weren't. After graduating seminary, I served at two SBC churches until the mid-1990's. When I left the second church, God did not lead me to continue in pastoral ministry. The SBC had changed leadership in the late 1980's and early 1990's and I found I had much less in common with the new regime. About 15 years ago, I joined the United Methodist Church and have finally begun the process of seeking ordination as an Elder in the UMC. I found that, theologically, I have much more in common with the UMC teachings and practice than with the SBC. However, I sometimes get comments about my sermons like, "Some Baptist was coming out of you with that sermon, preacher!"
I am married to Joanna, who has a daughter, Grace, who lives in Winston-Salem. This year, on October 18, we will have been married 17 years. I have three children by a previous marriage, two of whom, Bethany and Nathan, live near Burlington and another, Micah, who lives in Columbia, SC. All are married and have children of their own, therefore I now have 8 grandchildren, 4 boys and 4 girls, the oldest is 9 1/2 and the youngest, at this writing, was just born 2 days ago! (7/2/2020)
We are selling our house and moving from Davie County where I was serving a 3-point charge (Bethel (Mocksville) - Cooleemee - Woodleaf) and will be living in the Stokesburg UMC parsonage in Walnut Cove. I began serving Woodleaf in 2017 as a part-time Lay Pastor and became a full-time local pastor in 2018 when Bethel and Cooleemee were added to the charge.
I sing and every once in a while, write songs. I know a little music theory and how to read music, but I am not a proficient instrumentalist. I enjoy woodworking types of projects, but don't really do serious carpentry or furniture building and finishing.
I enjoy discussing Christian theological concepts and especially like to contemplate the "hard sayings" of the Holy Bible. I don't have all the answers, but I like considering the questions and exploring the subjects and I know the One who does have all the answers. Maybe we can find some of the answers together! I appreciate joyful worship and communing with God through His son, Jesus Christ.
I look forward to worshiping our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, with you. Please join with us at Stokesburg or Palmyra Churches for worship. Let us work together to be and to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
In Christ's Service,
Kevin H. Jasper