Authentic faith a focus for Marble Hill church

Sunday, November 18, 2012
Dr. Timothy Miller is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Marble Hill, Mo. (Laura Simon)

Dr. Timothy Miller has worn a number of hats in his career. He's a military veteran, an industrial arts teacher, former university faculty member and a pastor. In this week's Ministry Focus, Miller shares about his career in ministry and information on First Baptist of Marble Hill, where he now serves as pastor.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

A: I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force immediately upon graduation from high school in 1970. I served 30 consecutive months in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. I began my professional life as an industrial arts teacher in 1977. I taught public school before joining the faculty at Southeast Missouri State University. I completed my doctoral studies in 1986 at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. I taught at Southeast for 27 years. I was the director of testing services when I retired in 2005. I am presently an industrial technology instructor at Jackson High School. I teach woodworking and computer aided drafting. I've been involved with the First Baptist of Marble Hill since May of this year. I accepted their call as pastor on Sept. 7.

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

A: I have been a Southern Baptist all of my adult life. My relationship with Jesus started when I was 8 years old. I have been actively involved with Kingdom work for over 39 years. Before I became a pastor, I was an adult Sunday school teacher, discipleship training teacher, director of evangelism explosion training and deacon at the First Baptist Church of Jackson for over 21 years. I've been involved in pastoral work for over 13 years.

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

A: I wish I could say, "I had a burning bush experience." However, most of the time God doesn't work that way. He uses that "still small voice" within us. In the gospel of Luke it says, "To whom much is given, much is required." I feel that I am one of those people to whom much has been given. My relationship with Jesus began early in life and as the years have progressed my understanding of commitment to serve him has increased. I realized a "need." When we realize a need, we pray that God will "send someone" to fulfill that need. In the sixth chapter of Isaiah we read, "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then said I, ‘Here am I; send me.'" (Isaiah 6:8)

I realized that God had been preparing me to meet this need. I could no longer say "send someone else." I had to say, "Here am I, send me."

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

A: The greatest blessing is being Christ's ambassador. The blessing you receive when you enter the hospital room of a Saint of God and realize that you have the privilege of representing our Lord at that point in time. It is an incredibly humbling experience and a tremendous blessing at the same time. Pastoral ministry is all about service and giving. You get to serve and give to the greatest people in the world, God's family. The greatest blessing is to know that we get to participate with God in his plan for the redemption of mankind. There is no greater work.

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

A: The greatest challenge I see is getting individuals to realize the spiritual need in their lives, especially young adults. We let all kinds of things take priority in our lives. Life is not about things, it's about relationships. The most important thing in a person's life is their personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Today's generation is unconcerned about spiritual matters. They don't have time for faith stuff. We know that unless people recognize there is problem or need in their life, they will never do anything about it.

Q: What upcoming events or sermon series do you have scheduled at First Baptist Church Marble Hill.

A: At the present time we are preaching through the Epistle of 1 John. This Sunday will be the third sermon in the series.

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

A: My favorite Bible verse is Titus 3:5: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."

It is my favorite verse because it clearly states that salvation is not by any works that we do. Too many people think that you get to go to heaven if your good deeds out weigh your bad ones. The truth is that only those who have a personal relationship with Jesus will spend eternity with him. We can't work our way there.

Q: What makes your church unique?

A: I don't know about uniqueness. We are into authenticity. Authentic biblical Christianity is what the world needs, and that is our mission. Our church is unique in its level of spiritual maturity. Many of our people have a high level of biblical knowledge; they are not novices in the faith.

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

A: Our No. 1 ministry is to provide individuals and families with opportunities for spiritual growth. While many churches have discontinued their Sunday night and Wednesday service opportunities, we have not. Our Sunday morning services are broadcast on KMHM FM 104.1 from 10:15 to 11 a.m. We have a licensed child care program to assist young families. We have men's Bible study and fellowship that meets on Saturday mornings. We conduct services at the local nursing home.

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