MOORESVILLE – Michael Colvard said being a pastor on the “lake side” of Mooresville has its beauties and challenges. But at Harbor Church, Presbyterian Church in America, where he has been head pastor since 2016, Colvard tries to keep his congregants – and himself – observant of God’s word.
Mooresville Citizen: What circumstance or experience led you to become a faith leader?
Michael Colvard: Though I had gone through seminary training after college, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I felt the tug to full-time pastoral work. Prior to coming to Mooresville, I was teaching full-time and worked part-time in a church plant in Baltimore, Md., helping lead the youth group. It was there that I felt the joy of walking through life with the teenagers in the youth group and got to see firsthand how the Gospel of Jesus can really change lives. My family and I moved to Mooresville to Harbor Church in 2013, as I was the assistant pastor of youth and family. In 2016 I became the head pastor, and I have loved every minute!
MC: How does Mooresville fit in line with your faith mission?
Colvard: Being on the “lake side” of Mooresville is a unique blend of backgrounds and cultures all rubbing shoulders together. What can be missing on this side of Mooresville is community – real community. It’s too easy in a suburban setting like this one for people to be isolated, keeping relationships pleasant and shallow. Unfortunately, that shallowness can even creep into the church. We see ourselves, the church, as a family. A family that isn’t perfect but redeemed, with people from all walks of life coming together because we share the same hope and joy that is found in Jesus Christ. A family that walks through life together, shares in happiness as well as sorrow, a family that challenges one another to grow in Christ. And, lastly, a family that’s ever expanding, that loves the lost and is searching for new brothers and sisters.
MC: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Colvard: Seeing the Lord work through our efforts. I understand I am a limited creature. I have skills and drawbacks. Yet nothing brings me more joy than to see God use not just my strengths but even my weaknesses.
MC: What is the most trying part of your job? How do you keep your motivation going?
Colvard: I would have to say, one of the most trying parts of my job is to practice what I preach. I am constantly pouring over God’s Word, the Bible, to preach and teach to others, and yet it can be a great temptation for any pastor – or believer, for that matter – to think of “the other people who need to hear this” rather than letting the text grab us and humble us. I once heard an illustration of this by another pastor who said that preparing a lesson is a bit like starting up a train. You get that train going full-steam, and you direct it to the congregation down the line. But, before you have the brakes let go, you stand in front of the congregation and be the first one to be hit. May that be how we all, who know Jesus and walk with Him, (are), whether we preach, teach, hear a sermon or read the Bible.
MC: What advice do you have for new leaders?
Colvard: Patience and faithfulness. Ministry is more like growing a tree; it requires patience to remember this ministry will grow, but you might not see it overnight. Second, asking the question, “What does faithfulness look like at this moment?” has been a huge help to me. Sometimes we are called to do extraordinary things, but at any given time, I need to be remembering what are the ordinary, faithful things I can do just for right now.
MC: What are some of the things the faith community, at large, is struggling with?
Colvard: In our church, we believe that the goal of every human’s life, no matter what else they do with it, is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. I think that it can be a great temptation to make faith all about ourselves. It is certainly true that Christianity has a lot to say about all sorts of life issues – marriage, child-raising, etc. – and a lot of wisdom. But the point of our faith is not have a great life right now, because if that were true, then our worship is really all about making us more comfortable, wealthy and happy. But if our chief goal in life, and ever after, is to glorify God, to know how great He is, how wonderful He is, especially because He came down to live with us, died for us, was raised for us, then that should redefine what are our lives are all about. We glorify God by enjoying Him.
MC: What is your inspiration for this work?
Colvard: What keeps me going is my church family. Seeing them, knowing them, having friendship with them is what inspires me to work hard for them and to care for them.
MC: What is your favorite or most-turned-to verse or part of Scripture? Why?
Colvard: Never ask a pastor for his favorite verse, you’re liable to get a sermon! In all seriousness, perhaps my longtime favorite passage is Psalm 131, particularly this line: “I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.” It speaks to me that when I am overwhelmed, when I cannot understand, I can trust Christ and humble myself. I can know He has it all in His hands.