Ministry a family legacy for Cape pastor

Sunday, July 22, 2012
The Rev. Jeremy Clayton is pastor of Cape Community Church in Cape Girardeau. (Fred Lynch)

The Rev. Jeremy Clayton, senior pastor at Cape Community Church in Cape Girardeau, comes from a family of ministers. Having tried to model himself after these men in his ministry, Clayton said he's realized that God has called him to be himself, not someone else. Clayton shares more about his faith and Cape Community Church in this week's Ministry Focus.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

A: I am a native to the heartland. I was born in Herrin, Ill., and also lived a few years in Marion, Ill. This, however, has only been part of my story. I have actually lived in nine different states, including Missouri and Illinois. My wife, Dana, is a true Southern girl having grown up in Alabama. We have been married 11 years, and we have two children. Dana and I were unable to have children, so our beautiful boys are a result of the miracle of adoption. We have been blessed to work with many of the gifted and caring social workers here in Cape County. Outside of my love for people and my responsibilities as a pastor, I enjoy reading, playing golf and video games, motorcycles, watching and following college sports and spending time with my family.

Q: How long have you been a member of your faith?

A: Cape Community Church is a part of the Church of God based in Anderson, Ind. We are an evangelical church with a Wesleyan background. I have been associated with the Church of God all my life.

Q: Who or what inspired you to become a pastor?

A: Probably the main inspiration for my ministry is and always has been my dad. My dad went into ministry later in life (at age 40 to be exact). While my dad was always a wonderful, godly man, I witnessed firsthand what God can do with a life totally dependent upon him.

Q: What's the greatest blessing you've experienced in the ministry?

A: This is a difficult question because there are many joys in ministry. A pastor gets the privilege of sharing so many momentous occasions with the people he or she serves. Perhaps the greatest blessing I have experienced relates more to my own family like praying with my oldest son to receive Christ and baptizing him and my wife.

Q: What's the greatest challenge you've experienced in the ministry?

A: This also is a difficult question. The needs of people seem to grow every year, and it seems more and more of a challenge to meet all of these needs. Yet perhaps the challenge I would submit is a little more personal. Perhaps the greatest challenge I have experienced in my ministry is learning to be myself. Having a dad and uncle in ministry, early on I felt it necessary to model much of what I did after them. One of the greatest discoveries I have made is that God called me to be me.

Q: What upcoming events or sermon series do you have scheduled at Cape Community Church?

A: We have a yard sale scheduled for Aug. 10 and 11. All the proceeds go toward our annual mission's trip to Haiti (scheduled for the middle of October). In September, we are beginning a sermon series based on the book "Not a Fan" by Kyle Idleman. On Oct. 31, we will have our annual Fall Festival Heroes Unmasked for all children up to 12 years old. We have lots of fun, games, and the best part is this is a free event to the public.

Q: What's your favorite Bible verse and why?

A: "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:29-31) These verses remind me that all of us will fall, fail, and be overwhelmed and stressed out. But the good news is that when we depend on God, he will give us the strength we need. In fact, He will do more than lift us up; he will help us to soar.

Q: What makes your church unique?

A: We are a small, family-oriented church where you can know and be known by everyone. We love and care for each other, but we always enjoy adding new faces to our fellowship. Cape Community Church is a place where an individual or family can be a part of a church family by getting involved with a great group of people who love God and love people.

Q: What ongoing ministries does your church have that people might be interested in?

A: We have active children's and youth programs. In fact three of our teens and our youth director just returned from our International Youth Convention which took place this year in Denver, Col. We also have an active mission's department. As I stated earlier, we take an annual trip to Haiti. We are also looking into taking a trip to southern Mexico where one of our supported missionaries serves. Of course, these are just a sample.

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