Speaking on the ministry of all, Rev. Steve Pinnell began his story by explaining how he got to where he is, noting upfront that it was winding road.
Pinnell was officially installed as Mark Twain District Superintendent on October 23 at Macon UMC. The music was provided by The Uplifters of Macon UMC. Scripture was read by Rev. Delbert Earlywine of Clarence UMC, Rev. Cherly Flaim of Mt. Zion East UMC, and Pinnell’s granddaughter, Tori Pinnell Merritt.
Pinnell had been a leader in other denominations, but he had gotten burned out. Upon returning to Brookfield, he had decided just to work in the secular world. Rev. (now retired) Phil Neimeyer reached out to him and told him he needed to be in church. Pinnell replied that he is Baptist, and Neimeyer said he didn’t care.
“He was relentless,” Pinnell said. “He kept coming back and didn’t let up.”
It worked. Soon Pinnell and his wife were attending a United Methodist Church, and before long they started a young adult class.
Neimeyer told Pinnell that he needed to take the Disciple Bible study. Pinnell disagreed.
“I said, ‘I have a Master’s in Divinity, why do I need to take a Bible study?’” he said. But Neimeyer kept after him, and Pinnell gave in. He didn’t like it, though.
“Everyone else loved Disciple, and I hated it,” Pinnell said. “The reason I hated it was because God confronted me each week. I started hearing this voice inside of me that said, ‘Hey, what are you doing working in a grocery store?’”
Pinnell continued to follow the path back into ministry, and served United Methodist Churches in Fairfax, Moberly, Hamilton and Troy. He has a passion for reaching the unchurched.
“We have folks looking for someone to lift them up – to encourage them and love on them,” Pinnell said. “We need to talk about our relationship with the Lord with the same zeal as we talk about our grandkids. The world needs to see that we’ve changed and knowing Jesus does matter.”
I can do all things through him who strengthens me...Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them’ for the one who is in your is greater than the one who is in the world. Philippians 4: 13