Pastor wins national magazine honor


By Scott Tynes
The Daily Leader

A Loyd Star pastor’s love for her congregation and care in guiding her flock has led to her recognition in a national magazine.

The Rev. Lynn Mote of New Hope United Methodist Church in Brookhaven has been selected as one of three contestants nationally to be featured in an upcoming edition of Crossings Magazine, a spiritual publication. The contest recognizes pastors for their attentiveness to their congregations.

Mote was submitted to the contest in January without her knowledge by Jane Bounds, a member of the New Hope congregation. Bounds said she recently received a letter notifying her that Mote had been selected as a runner-up.

“In all honesty, I did not think we would win, but I wanted to honor her and I wanted her to win,” Bounds said. “I think the judges picked up on the fact that my words were sincere and very truthful.”

Bounds said she did not expect her entry to win because previous winners she has seen in the publication had all been from very large churches in major cities or were accomplished authors of theological books or academic papers.

Mote will receive a Bible reference book and a brief biography and Bounds’ letter will be published in an upcoming issue of the magazine.

The pastor said she was pleasantly surprised by the recognition.

“It was lovely,” she said. “It was very humbling, and I feel very undeserving of any honor at all. I love doing this. This is such an easy place to be a pastor.”

Mote said the loving nature of her congregation made her job easy because she believes the key element to her ministry is personal relationships with every member.

“In every way possible, I want to build close relationships with the people I’m here to serve,” she said. “I try to be myself around them and hope they feel comfortable enough that they can be themselves around me.”

Every pastor has their own style, Mote said, and hers is built around those relationships.

“I’d rather walk with them than over them in any way,” she said. “Pastors just plant the seeds. The only way anyone will grow in their relationship to Jesus Christ is really to do the work themselves.”

It is an approach that Bounds treasures.

“Lynn has made me stronger in my desire to love, obey and trust,” she wrote in her submission. “She has made me want to study more, want to grow more on this spiritual journey we call life and share more of the things of value with each person who touches my life. She has done all this by her example of love in Christ.”

Mote’s approach to spiritual guidance has helped her to overcome what could have become a serious obstacle in her calling. Not only is the church her first appointment, but she is the first female pastor in the history of New Hope United Methodist Church.

“While I know that was a challenge for them, and they’re very open about that, they’ve embraced me and my family,” Mote said. “During these four years we’ve done ministry very well together.”

Mote said none of her success would be possible, however, without the support of her husband, Ansel, and daughter, Emily.

This story appeared in the April 7 issue of Brookhaven’s “The Daily Leader” and is used with permission. ©The Daily Leader 2009