My picture (taken in May 2010)

A BIO OF THE PARSON

I was born in southern Alabama, but my family later moved to a small town called Graceville in northwest Florida when I began first grade, and I went on to complete all my formal primary and secondary education there. However, I still consider Alabama as my home state.

I have been married to my wife, Ellen, since 1981. We have two children, Amy and Joshua. Amy married her husband, Chris, in 2002, and gave birth to our only grandchildren, Makenzie, in 2004, and Connor, in 2007. Joshua finished high school in May 2004, and, due to some personal limitations, continues to live with us. I am as proud as any father would be of ALL their accomplishments and success in life.

I am also a conservative, Christian minister who retired as a chaplain from the Alabama Army National Guard (AL-ARNG) in February 2012, after nearly 31 years of combined active duty and reserve component service. Furthermore, I retired from active pastoral service with The United Methodist Church on 31 December 2011, in order to establish a new, non-denominational ministry which I believe God has instructed me to call Wellspring Ministries in Mobile, Alabama. I have detailed the origins of that ministerial work on that site, so I won't restate all those details here. Despite retiring from both the UMC and the AL-ARNG, I still have plenty of work to keep me occupied with my small independent Christian publishing business, Parson Place Press, and this new ministry for Wellspring. This means what little leisure time I have at the end of each day and each week, I must divide with my family (and other personal responsibilities) and my abiding pleasure of using computer technology and its practical application for serving Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. Therefore, my Parson Place ministry is part-time in addition to my regular, full-time ministry as a pastor and my part-time work as a Christian writer, editor, columnist, and publisher. Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in a day, so I frequently get behind on reading and replying to my email, because I'm either updating the Parson Place Web site or I'm working to publish a new book through my Christian publishing company, Parson Place Press, or I'm updating that Web site, or else I'm writing on my monthly column for Christian Computing Magazine in my limited spare time. Nevertheless, I usually respond to personal emails right away, while leaving all the miscellaneous newsletters, etc. for later review.

For hobbies, I enjoy fishing, gardening, writing, and, yes, using computers, though not necessarily in that order. I especially enjoy writing of any kind and creating Web pages. You can check out my Articles from the Parson pages to see what I mean. Everything on the Articles from the Parson page is personally authored by me, and you can also check out the Parson Place Software Creations page to see some of the programs I've personally created. I welcome your feedback.

I published my first book, Digital Evangelism: You Can Do It, Too!, in October 2004. However, I revised and expanded it and released the second edition in April 2011. It is available for sale at the Parson Place Press Bookstore and in other popular online bookstores such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and Cokesbury, just to name a few. Go to the Froogle Web site and type in the search term, "digital evangelism" and you'll find numerous links to other online stores that carry it, too. If you want to get it from your local Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, or Cokesbury branch, or any other bookstore, for that matter, you may need to ask them to order it for you. It is also available for ordering in the United Kingdom. Just give the book sellers the book's ISBN -- 978-0-9842163-2-1 -- to place an order from either Ingram Book Group, Spring Arbor, or Lightning Source in North America or the UK.

I have also updated my second book, A Time for Everything: the Kevin Zimmerman Story, in a second edition, and it was released in January 2012. It is available through these same outlets. Just give the book sellers the book's ISBN -- 978-0-9842163-6-9 -- to place an order from either Ingram Book Group, Spring Arbor, or Lightning Source in North America or the UK. You can also read all about the subject of the book, Mr. Kevin Zimmerman, at his Web site and blog.

I've now published my third book, Seven Keys to Effective Prayer, which I published in April 2012. You can obtain it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, etc., just as with my other books. You can also connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or my blog to keep up with the latest happenings in my life and ministry.

THE PARSON'S CREDENTIALS

If you're curious about how I got to where I am at this point in my life, here's a brief description. I completed my primary and secondary education and graduated high school in Graceville, Florida. I earned an Associate in Science degree from Wallace Community College in Dothan, Alabama, then I took a break from college to enlist in the U. S. Army and served three years as a chaplain assistant.

After my discharge from the Army, I was appointed to serve a two-church, United Methodist charge in the Dothan District of the Alabama/West Florida Conference. I also joined the Alabama Army National Guard (AL-ARNG) soon after my discharge from active duty. At the same time, I resumed my education and went on to complete a dual baccalaureate degree in history and English at Troy State University (now simply called Troy University) in Troy, Alabama. I next received my Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. I was ordained an elder in The United Methodist Church in 1991. I served a total of 12 years as a local parish minister in the Alabama/West Florida Conference, and as a member of the AL-ARNG, before being selected by the Army Chief of Chaplain's Office in 1996 to serve on active duty as an Army chaplain. However, after nine-and-one-half years on active duty as an Army chaplain, I developed a couple of health issues which prompted a medical board evaluation. Although I was ultimately found fit for duty, the process cost me my active duty career. I was twice passed over for promotion to the rank of Major (the grade of O-4), so I transitioned into the Army Reserve in 2006 in hopes of getting promoted there. After being lost in the shuffle of paperwork and not even being considered for promotion in 2006, a timely invitation from the State Chaplain of the AL-ARNG drew me back. In July 2006, I transferred back into the AL-ARNG in further hopes of being promoted and so I could drill a lot closer to home. I was having to drive 3.5 hours one way each month for drill, or battle assembly, as they call it in the USAR. I was finally promoted to Major in the AL-ARNG in 2007. As I mentioned above, I retired from the AL-ARNG with nearly 31 years of combined active duty and reserve component service as both enlisted and commissioned officer in February 2012. I can hardly believe how quickly my life has passed by these past three decades!

As I also mentioned above, I retired on 31 December 2011, from The United Methodist Church after 27.5 years of pastoral ministry, having served the final 4.5 of those 27.5 years as the full-time pastor of the Rosinton United Methodist Church in Robertsdale, Alabama. I believe God has directed me now to establish a fresh new pastoral ministry here in Mobile, AL, called Wellspring Ministries. While it is still very much in its infancy, very small and weak and completely focused on receiving more than it gives, I continue to stay in faith that God has a plan and that He will bring His plan to fruition in His own time.

You can stay posted on the latest news of my life and ministry either by checking back on this page periodically, or by subscribing to my low-volume professional email list. If you'd like to receive more frequent email communications from me via forwards of certain emails I deem pertinent and appropriate and direct personal updates, I invite you to send me an email request to join my personal email list.

MY STATEMENT OF FAITH

Perhaps you're wondering just what it is that I believe. Well, let me tell you anyway! :-)

I mentioned above that I am "a conservative, Christian minister." Let me tell you what I mean by each of those adjectives.

"Conservative" means I hold firmly to the Judeo-Christian principles and commandments stated in the Holy Bible, and I DON'T tolerate altering them in any way. I'm open to change in a lot of areas, but NOT by amending the Divinely revealed and written Word of God!

"Christian" means I adhere, as best I can in the weak flesh I inhabit, to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Holy Apostles He commissioned with spreading the Gospel throughout the earth. If they said it, I try to follow it and obey it. It's that simple. That doesn't mean I ignore anything in the Old Testament though. I believe it is as relevant as ever. In fact, much of the New Testament is a restatement of the Old Testament and a clarification of its application for us as Christians today.

"Minister" means I am a servant of Jesus Christ and of His Holy Church. Everything I do, I do for Him and them. That's basically all I can say about that one.

Well, I think that about covers the most important points of my faith. If you still have questions about what I believe, or if you're interested in my experiences as an Army chaplain or chaplain assistant, either in the Army National Guard, Army Reserve or the Regular Army, contact me directly for more information.