On March 1, Rev. Lance Marshall will assume the role of Senior Associate Pastor at First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth. With Rev. Linda McDermott electing to move to three-quarter time status this past November, the day-to-day duties of Senior Associate Pastor will be assumed by Lance, while Linda continues in her role as Director of Worship and in her other capacities as associate pastor at First Church. No other changes in reporting or staff structure are planned at this time.
Part of the impetus for this promotion comes on the heels of the recent Focus First Leadership Summit, and the need for additional leadership as our church moves forward on the goals and areas of priorities identified during this process. The Focus First initiative, which Lance has spearheaded from its inception, seeks to build a two-year strategic plan created from answers to the questions, Who Are We? Who is Our Neighbor? and What is God Calling Us to Do Now? As Senior Associate Pastor, Lance’s continued role in leading this initiative and the implementation of specific plans and strategies for accomplishing its objectives will ensure that the results of this unique planning process will reach their fullest expression. With Lance as our Senior Associate Pastor, our church will have the advantage of another clergy member who shares with me the opportunity to maintain focus from the 50,000-foot view, rather than being primarily concerned with a single ministry area.
“I have seen this congregation go through numerous challenges over the past 20 years I have served here, and I think we have turned a significant corner in terms of the energy and enthusiasm for this church’s future,” says Rev. Linda McDermott. “Dr. Bruster has been a very successful stabilizer, instilling confidence in our leadership and opening the way for new and exciting ministries to be able to flourish. So, what a perfect time for an energetic, passionate pastor like Lance to take a major role in leading us into the goals that are coming out of our Focus First process. I am convinced our best days are yet to come!”
Dr. Mike Marshall, Associate Pastor of Leadership Development, agrees. “I am thrilled with this new role for Lance,” Mike says. “In my 33 years of ordained ministry, Lance is one of the most talented and committed pastors I’ve ever seen and had the opportunity to serve with — and he has a gear most of us don’t even have! Lance works very hard at what he does, and it has been so much fun to watch how he’s grown since those First 7th days — and how his leadership has already stretched throughout the congregation. My dream is that Lance will be serving this congregation for decades to come.”
“I am thrilled with this opportunity to help make sure we are all on the same page, pulling the same direction, and making solid progress toward the goals and values that came out of the Focus First planning process,” Lance says. “This is such an honor, and I deeply appreciate the support and encouragement I’ve gotten from Tim, Linda, Mike, and the rest of our clergy, staff, and congregation. With this new role I will really enjoy the opportunity to work alongside all our ministries, to get more involved across the board, and to help move our church forward toward its goals and dreams for the future.”
As Senior Associate Pastor, Lance will also work closely with me and the lay leadership to help ensure continuity of ministry, mission, values, and culture in our First Church faith community. Lance will continue to lead The Gathering services at 9:30 and 11:00 am. In addition, he will assume the role of lead preaching associate to deliver sermons and lead worship in other services when called upon. Lance is absolutely the right person for this job at this time in the life of our church. I so appreciate all the gifts and graces he brings to this role — along with the energy and enthusiasm he has for ministry and this church.
“I am just so incredibly happy to be here,” Lance adds. “My family is incredibly happy — we love Fort Worth and this faith community —and I’ve never felt more fulfilled in my work than during the time I’ve spent here at First Church. There’s just no other place I’d rather be!”
Lance joined the FUMCFW staff in July of 2013 to help our church explore new opportunities for ministry as a downtown church. Most recently, his development and leadership of The Gathering, which began February 9, 2016, has shown continued and dramatic growth and success, now offering two services each Sunday morning. Maxing out its current space in both locations (Wesley Hall at 9:30 am and Room 350 at 11:00 am), The Gathering now averages around 300 people each Sunday.
Dr. Tim Bruster