“A Man with a Life’s Mission”

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“A Man with a Life’s Mission”

An interview with Rev. James Holman

by Jared Reiff


            You’ve heard it said that success is equal to hard work plus passion, plus time. This is most evident in the life and successes of our guest speaker for this coming Sunday’s service, the reverend James Holman. This week, Rev. Holman is celebrating his 95th birthday. He has decided after these 95 years of life and 79 years of ministry that he will be hanging up his pastoral robes for good, but not before one last celebration of all that God has done in “A Service of Praise for Jesus.” This special 9:30am service at Clyde First United Methodist Church will feature a lot of music, a lot of testimony, and a lot of Rev. Holman’s own heart and soul poured out on all who are ready to receive it. And make no mistake, he has planned everything down to the last detail, from the Order of service, to what image will be projected at any given moment, to the opportunity to intentionally respond during the Invitation. In his diligence, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rev. Holman has preemptively called up the Holy Spirit (on the cell phone) and explained what hour it should arrive here at FUMC Clyde!

            In coordinating with Rev. Holman about what needed to be accomplished for this service, he shared with me his testimony, of how God called him to ministry at the young age of 16 after a conversion experience. He started preaching that year, his Junior year in high school, and has never looked back.

            “The LORD has been very good to me over all these years,” he said in our conversation, “I want to give Him all of the praise and the honor for that.” It appeared to me that this desire to give back was his primary reason for doing this whole thing, but it is more than just that. He continued, “I don’t want to celebrate it for me, but for Jesus, to lift up what He has done for me [and] so that others will benefit.” I began to understand exactly what the reverend was after: for others to be enriched through the testimony of God’s goodness in his life of ministry. Although this service is intended to be about praising Jesus, I wouldn’t be surprised if our own incredible and long journeys in new and unique areas of ministry are brought to mind and clarified in the process.

            “James has said this is different than anything he’s done before,” said Pastor Monty Barnett on the topic of the upcoming service. “The whole thing is about Jesus, and it is fun to see the intensity and simplicity of the burden the LORD has placed on this 95-year old preacher!” Part of the fun for this celebration comes from the full-circle nature that individuals like Pastor Barnett, who was himself baptized by Holman, must feel, especially considering how complete and conclusive this service will be for Holman. In our conversation, he indicated in no uncertain terms that this marks the end of his ministry behind the pulpit when he said “this will be the last time I preach,” but he has the feeling it will also mark the beginning of someone’s ministry, perhaps even several people’s. “Just wait till the invitation, that is going to be a special moment, I just know it will be.”

            This memorable service will be Sunday, September 24th at 9:30am in the sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church in Clyde. Come early and prepare for this special celebration of God’s goodness with coffee and fellowship around 8:00am and Sunday School at 8:30am, all of which will lead into the single 9:30am “Service of Praise for Jesus.” Hope to see you there!