Check back over the next few weeks as we get to know the Newsom family better, learn more about Les and hear about the decision making process that led to his nomination from our Pulpit Nominating Committee.
WEEK 6: Session Q&A
q&a – Whitney Reese & Elders: Doug Sanford, Toby Griggs, Lee Tyner, Ward Toler, Steve Redding & Clay Dabbs
Q1: How long have you known Les?
Clay: I met Les sometime in the early nineties at a youth function at FPC Clarksdale. I got to know him when he moved to RUF-Ole Miss around my senior year.
Doug: 20 years!
Toby: Les was preaching the first time Patti and I visited the church. Maybe 2000 or 2001.
Steve: About 5 yearsWard: Being an RUF Ole Miss “alum” I always kept up with who the RUF Ole Miss campus ministers were even after I graduated so I knew of Les when he came to Oxford. I can’t remember when I met him personally…I suppose it was 8 years ago when we moved to Oxford.
Lee: Since at least 1999, when both of our families moved to Oxford within about six months.
Q2: What are some strengths you think Les is bringing to the session?
Clay: Organization; vision; understanding the culture around us
Steve: Youth and long term vision for a large church.
Lee: New perspective. A lot of experience leading leaders. Les is also a consumer of a lot of what is being said and written in the evangelical world, and he sifts it for things that challenge us and help us.
Q3: What are you most excited about for Curt in his new role?
Doug: As we grow we must stay connected. Curt is uniquely gifted in this respect, not only in sharing the the beauty of growth in transparency but living it as well.
Ward: That Curt gets to keep on doing what he is so excellent at – and that is shepherding the members of Christ Pres and nonmembers in our Oxford community.
Toby: I think the church will have a new sail set. I truly believe that his call and his gifts will merge in his new role. It will not be work to him, only following close with the Lord.
Q4: We discussed this during our last congregational meeting (click here for audio from that meeting), but can you outline again what the transition will look like?
Clay: Curt will transition to his new role after Easter Sunday. For most of the congregation, this means that his primary role as the every Sunday preacher will end after Easter Sunday. He will certainly preach again at CPC, but this Easter Sunday will be his last Sunday as the regular preacher. If called, Les will start on July 1. In the meantime, Ed Hartman will help guide us through the transition period by preaching some (not all Sundays) and advising the Session and staff. Ed is an experienced pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson and has advised numerous sessions throughout the PCA.
Q5: If Curt had a tagline, what would it be?
Lee: That’s a tough one. So many choices. I think it would be a paraphrase of Ephesians 3:20 — “[He] is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” The Curt analogue for that verse is: “We are raising tomatoes when we could be raising Lazarus!”
Ward: The best fertilizer is a gardeners shadow.
Clay: Love Jesus, love people. Other Curt sayings: “if you are eating a bike, you have to start one bolt at a time”, “I have seen a four lane road”, “I’ve already told you more than I know”
Steve: Live like a believer, love the socks off everyone you see!
Q6: Any great practical jokes you can tell us about that you’ve pulled on Curt? Should Les be worried too?
Doug: The greatest joke was when all the little kids at the “welcome back” ice cream social were given t-shirts with Curt’s pic and some reference to his upcoming colonoscopy….Les beware
Ward: Lee Tyner and Johnny Barrett have many … one that comes to mind is the “Colonoscopies-R-Good” t-shirts that they got a number of kids to wear at an ice cream social back to school event as an encouragement for Curt to get the procedure.
Lee: Again, so many choices. Either the “Best Christmas Ever” rap video about Curt that we commissioned by the King Kobraz (remember “Feed Moncrief”?) or the “colonoscopy” series of jokes, all designed to pressure Curt to get a colonoscopy. Turns out he had several polyps, proving that humor saves lives. Les should be very worried.
Q7: What does looking like the kingdom mean to you?
Clay: It means being intentional about making CPC look like the Oxford/Lafayette community. This requires intentionality by the entire congregation and forces us to confront blind spots we have had in the past. We want to spread Christ’s love to the entire community.
Lee: That’s a great question. Scripture is clear that the ground is level at the foot of the cross, and that the world’s hierarchy and social structures are a part of the fall that Jesus is unwinding in redemption. So I hope and pray that we can realize some of that redemptive work in Oxford and at Christ Pres.
Doug: We are called to be connected…branches to a vine, bricks in a building, parts of one body with Christ as the head..fallen redeemed sinners leaning on and loving on one another!
Random Questions of the Week:
Who’s the funniest person in Session meetings?
Clay: Ward Toler
Doug: JB would take that prize
Ward: Johnny Barrett
Lee: I would have to say Johnny, but every now and them Toby really comes through.
What’s your favorite Shepherding group meal?
Clay: Breakfast for supper
Doug: SG meal….the Miconi Italian feast…we had a couple of memorable ones!
Toby: I’m telling you, Lillian Childress makes all kinds of desserts that just melt in your mouth.
Ward: Breakfast for supper
Lee: Breakfast for supper
What Olympic Event would you pay money to see Curt do?
Clay: 100m sprint (he was very fast as a younger man)
Doug: Pairs figure skating would certainly be interesting….
Toby: I suspect if you back up 30 years, young CP3 had game. I think probably decathlon.
Ward: Curling because it looks like something he could do once he had some practice and because I could see him obsessively studying the rules and strategies of the game.
Steve: 100 dash!!!
Lee: It’s in the Summer Olympics, but rhythmic gymnastics