Rev. Brian Burkholder
Other job experience: Former associate pastor in Atlanta; former missionary in Mexico City; former Central America co-director, with Baptist International Missions; former Broward campus pastor, New Testament Baptist Church
Education: Degree in theology from Baptist University of America, Atlanta; master's degree in ministry from Temple Baptist Seminary, Chattanooga, Tenn.; master's degree of arts in religion from Liberty University.
Personal: 48. Born in Canton, Ohio. Family: Married to Vickie, a piano teacher. Three children.
The church has been through some tough times - shifting neighborhood, changing pastors, falling rolls. How are you coping with that?
Our passion is to rebuild this ministry. We're up in just about every area: attendance, baptisms, giving. We had a special offering, just under $100,000.
How are you accomplishing that?
We're making a concerted effort to love people and care for them. We're doing a lot of home and hospital visitation. They've been without leadership for several years. Now there's a new leader, and there's excitement and vision. And it's like an avalanche: Once it starts, it builds.
Don't you feel some emotional whiplash as a pastor?
You have to believe God is in control. I had to deal with this 16 years ago, when our daughter Amber was born with cerebral palsy, severely mentally and physically disabled. We decided that God didn't make a mistake with Amber, that she was born in the way God intended. Whatever happens in life, we might not understand, but God's plan is perfect. That's given us a tool to minister to others.
How do you like to relax?
I enjoy golf and reading. I like to lift and run a bit. But I don't get to do any of those things as much as I'd like.
I a football fanatic. My favorite teams are the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Miami Dolphins.
"What About Bob?", with Bill Murray. It's so stupid, I laugh at it over and over.
Selah. I like their harmony. And they're former missionary kids. I can relate to that.
Do you have a hero?
My dad. He was a barber, then an engineer. He was consistent and godly as can be. I'd wake up in the morning and he'd be reading his Bible. He had more than 40 years of faithful marriage to my mom. And he hardly raised his voice or lost his temper.
What person in history would you like most to meet?
Some of the great missionaries of the past, like William Carey or David Livingstone. They left everything behind for the purpose of the gospel.
Your most memorable spiritual experience?
The privilege of leading my kids to Christ, and as a pastor being able to baptize them. My job is to spiritually influence lives, and to be able to do it with your own kids is something I'll cherish forever.
Something most people don't know about you?
Nobody would guess it, but at times I'm very shy. When I walk into a place where I'm not in my pastoral role, I want to stand in a corner. My wife has to push me forward.
Is there one thing you can't stand?
I'm not a patient person. If it takes forever to go somewhere, I get frustrated. Which is odd, because in Mexico City, it takes five hours to cross the city.
What's the most important thing you've ever learned?
It's something I'm still learning: the importance of depending on God. My parents raised me to believe in myself, and I'm a very confident person. But I'm learning on a daily basis the importance of depending on God.
James D. Davis
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