Pastor and his family welcome a new life and mission in Langley
October 29, 2011 · 3:17 PM
There’s a new pastor in town, but he wants to be just one of the guys.
His name is Dwight Ford and the folks at Christian & Missionary Alliance church in Langley have welcomed him and his family to their new home.
Now the community is invited to share that welcome at an installation service to be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 30 with representatives from the Alliance denominational offices officiating.
Rev. Ford was chosen after some scrutiny.
Alliance churches call their own ministers who invite the candidates to a series of interviews, after which the field is narrowed by a search committee chosen by the local church. Through their search for a senior pastor, committee members of the Langley church were happy to find Ford, who was the pastor for 26 years at an Alliance church in Bedford, NY.
During the search process, a weekend is planned to meet the candidates and their families.
“This past July, the Fords were presented to the Langley Alliance church and were accepted as a possible fit for the senior pastor position,” said CMA congregant and office assistant LeAnn Larsen.
“When the Fords agreed to come on staff, it was welcome news,” she added.
Larsen was excited by the choice and said members recognized something special in Ford.
“Pastor Dwight is a gifted communicator and enjoys leading people into an understanding of the Bible,” Larsen said.
One of the tenets of the Christian & Missionary Alliance is focused on mobilizing Christians in the work of foreign missionary efforts.
A personal goal of the new senior pastor is his involvement with Samaritan’s Purse International Relief, which states its mission as one that provides spiritual and physical aid to victims of war, poverty, natural disaster and disease.
“Dwight has been involved in the Samaritan’s Purse International and recently traveled with this organization to Vietnam and Hong Kong,” Larsen said.
More travels to the Far East will have to wait, however, while the Ford family gets settled in their new home.
Ford, who moved to the island with wife Lara and his three young children, said he is looking forward to getting to know the island community.
“Community” is a word he hangs on.
“That’s it,” Ford said, “community. New York really didn’t offer that. There was very little sense of community or connectedness. I missed that.”
But as with every new job and home, there is a sense of anticipation. Ford likened it to the butterflies one might feel on a first date.
“You want to put your best foot forward and at the same time still be authentic,” he said.
“The people at Langley CMA are so very welcoming. They make me feel right at home.”
One of the reasons Ford may have been chosen is his theological experience.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from Nyack College in New York; a master’s of social work from the Kent School at the University of Louisville; a Master of Divinity from the Alliance Theological Seminary, and also studied at the Holy Land Institute of Biblical Studies in Jerusalem, Israel.
He has already jumped into the fray with a series of Sunday talks with titles such as “The DNA of the Church” and “The Church You Don’t See.”
He was asked how a new pastor approaches a strange podium for the first time; as the new “rock star” of the church.
“My hope and prayer is that people will see the real me — not the pastor image — and still accept me, with all my fragility. When I was a kid I learned the song ... ‘Jesus Loves Me, This I Know.’ As I get older it has changed for me to ... ‘Jesus Knows Me, This I Love.’”
Ford sees himself as a regular guy. He said the best way he knows how to get his messages across to people is to remain humble. He said he doesn’t really feel like a rock star on the podium.
“I do ‘confessionary’ preaching,” he said.
“I use myself and the areas that I struggle with. People can then identify with me and not the podium.”
Ultimately, the goal of his ministry is communicating to others what he knows.
“My passion is to encourage believers to understand and personalize the love of God,” Ford said.
“I think having this as a solid foundation is the beginning of all else — ministry, relationship and true community.”