Success Secrets of Young Pastor
Many denominations are struggling to keep young people involved. One 25-year-old loves his church so much he has become a pastor for two congregations. He may be the youngest fulltime clergy person in his area, but his unique talents are bridging age and racial divides. Kim Riemland has his story.
(Locator: Cleveland, Ohio)
(Singing) “We need you to dwell among us, dwell among us.”
The Rev. William Brewer preaches, plays the organ and directs two choirs at Aldersgate United Methodist Church near Cleveland.
(Singing) “Can’t nobody do me like Jesus.”
The energetic 25-year-old actually leads two congregations.
Evelyn Goodson, Aldersgate United Methodist Church: “I’ve been a member here for 42 years. And we love him, everybody loves him.”
(Brewer in pulpit) “Jesus…”
Brewer’s other church is a cross-racial appointment at Maple Heights United Methodist – a 60-year-old church with many long-time members.
The Rev. William A. Brewer, Head Pastor, Maple Heights United Methodist Church: “The fact is that being a different race I think that you can bring a lot to the congregation, some different ideas of how to do ministries.”
Barbara Dark, Maple Heights United Methodist Church: “We all are excited to have young, new blood in the church.”
The Rev. William A. Brewer: “I think the biggest challenge I have at Maple Heights is helping the congregation to realize that we’re no longer living in the 1950’s.”
The neighborhoods around the church are now 60-percent African-American, mostly single–mother households.
The Rev. William A. Brewer: “My dream for Maple Heights is that they will be receptive to those who are in their community because they’re not traditional families.”
Brewer was raised by a single mother outside Washington D.C. He played piano and sang at age 3 and preached his first sermon at age 12.
Patrice Brewer, Wife: “He has a youthful presence, but he has an old soul.”
He grew up Roman Catholic, but became United Methodist after studying the denomination’s founder, John Wesley.
The Rev. William A. Brewer: “It felt as though his words were my words.”
His favorite Is Wesley’s sermon: “The Scripture Way To Salvation.”
The Rev. William A. Brewer: “The message is still relevant. I believe if The United Methodist Church could see things through the eyes of John Wesley, the way he did, more than 200 years ago … back then it was all about revival, all about revitalizing the community, bringing energy.”
Stephanie Thompson, Maple Heights United Methodist Church: “I think Rev. Brewer rocks! I think he has a lot of energy. But he’s also wise enough to be able to, like I said, culturally bridge.”
(Singing) “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…”
Brewer hopes his combination of old and new styles will attract others to the church he loves.
The Rev. William A. Brewer: “I pray that those persons who may be lost will find us – will find our church.”
To get in touch with pastor Brewer, contact Maple Heights United Methodist Church at 216-663-6868.
Posted: February 16, 2011