‘All the issues of the teen years began to be transformed’
BY VICTOR T. MCCULLOUGH
As far back as I can remember in life, I have known and experienced the love and acceptance of family and the faith and strength of the Church.
As a boy of 5, I watched my daddy sing in the choir, count the money as the church treasurer, and encourage the saints at Lambuth Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas, and he took me with him to visit the sick and homebound. My mother led uplifting solos, prayed riveting prayers, and led the Women’s Society of Christian Service. At home after worship, she prepared the best Sunday dinners ever; usually family members and friends from all over the city showed up.
I was a drug baby — my parents constantly “drug” me with them to church and family engagements. I learned and valued early in life the importance of honoring God through caring about and serving others. I grew up in a positive and affirming African-American faith community.
For me, the Bible was one of my first textbooks. Reading the stories, enacting the characters, and winning Bible drills in Sunday School were part of my introduction to both essential faith principles and my own cultural heritage. The church’s role in affirming my humanity, intelligence, spirituality, and destiny as having significance in the world convinced me that the church was not merely my rock but also could be a catalyst for changing the world.
Daddy died when I was 8. It took a strong mother, devoted aunts and uncles, a close community, a faithful and relevant church, and the hand of God to keep me on the straight and narrow. I can recall feeling wounded, angry and strong-willed, and often defiant during my teen years; I am not proud of that. Yet the Word of God and the faith and love of church and family still held me, still shaped my identity and worldview through the storms of those adolescent years.
Then as a student at the University of Texas at Arlington, I got involved in campus ministry. God used the young people in that ministry to pour God’s joy and peace into my soul. I gave my faith fully to Jesus Christ and decided to live my life for his glory.
Life became different. All the issues of the teen years began to be transformed.
Less than a year after my decision to follow Jesus, I was invited to Canada to be part of an organization called Young Christians for Global Justice. About six months after that experience, I went to San Antonio to a gathering, called “Journey Inward/ Journey Outward,” to talk about missions and reflect theologically.
Those two events began giving shape to a framework to act on my passion for personal and social holiness/justice.
That passion is unchanged by time. My desire is to share the love of God as revealed most redemptive in Jesus Christ and to help love, lead, and disciple the Church in a manner that resembles the cross of Christ: that lifts God’s people upward in worship and outward in love and service to humankind.
I am blessed to have served churches in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma for 30 years. Now it is a privilege to be given the opportunity to serve as superintendent of the Heartland District. I am humble yet confident in the grace of God to accomplish the mission of Christ’s Church.