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Our Guest for this Episode
Get to know Bob Johnson:
From 2003 to 2018, Bob served as the Executive Pastor at Chapelwood United Methodist Church, a church of over 7,000 members and 11 weekend worship services in Houston, TX. Prior to that appointment, he served for 7 ½ years as the Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Mineola, TX. He retired at the end of 2018.
Bob was born and reared near Boston, Massachusetts. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Lowell Technological Institute (now the University of Massachusetts at Lowell) and was employed for 12 years by the DuPont Company, first in Gibbstown, New Jersey, and later in Beaumont, Texas. Bob believes his experience in the secular work world proved to be a real asset in his ministry. Prior to entering the ordained ministry, he served in various capacities in lay ministry, including Sunday School teacher, youth counselor, evangelism work area chair, finance committee member, and lay leader.
In 1987, Bob responded to the call to ordained ministry and was appointed as a student pastor to the Edom/Sexton Chapel charge in the Tyler district of the Texas Annual Conference while he attended seminary at Perkins School of Theology at SMU. After graduating with high honors with a Master of Divinity degree in 1991, Bob was appointed to serve Payne Springs UM church in the Palestine district followed by his first appointment to Chapelwood UMC in Houston in 1993. After 3 years as the Minister of Discipleship and Singles at Chapelwood, where he and lay colleague Marilyn Brown developed the curriculum “Discover Your S.H.A.P.E. for Ministry and Life,” he was appointed in 1996 to be the Senior Pastor at First United Methodist in Mineola. While there, church attendance increased from 160 to nearly 300 as the church expanded to a second campus. In late 2003, Bob was reappointed to be the first Executive Pastor at Chapelwood where he remained until his retirement.
In 2012, Bob became frustrated that he lacked a sufficient answer to the question, “What is the gospel?” Despite being in ordained ministry for 25 years by that point, he realized that the usual answers to the question about the Good News did not take adequate account of the Old Testament, which comprised two thirds of the Bible. During a sabbatical that year, he began work to answer his own question. That work led to teaching, and then writing and publishing, The Genesis Project: The WHY of Discipleship.
Bob continues to serve on the Texas Annual Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, a position he has held for over a dozen years. In that capacity, he has led several peer learning groups and served as the Psychological Officer. He also served as the chair of the Central South District Clergy Excellence Team and as a member of the District Leadership Team. In retirement, Bob remains a coach for the Vibrant Church Initiative of the Texas Annual Conference and is an adjunct discipleship coach with Ascending Leaders. He also continues to coach individual churches and leaders and conducts teaching workshops and revivals.
Bob is married to Susan, and they have three married adult children; Michelle, Lauren, and Eric, and four delightful grandchildren, Ella, Claire, Ruthie, and Calvin. Susan is a retired elementary school teacher who loves to volunteer and do community service.