Our Previous Pastor
Thank you for taking the time to read the “Pastor’s Bio” page on Zion’s website. I hope that what follows will help you get to know me a little better as well as (and more importantly) encourage you in your Christ-centered faith.
I’m not all that comfortable writing a blog post about myself. Like your life, mine is too complex and three-dimensional to accurately reconstruct it in 500 words or less. So instead of giving you a bird’s eye view of my life, I’d like to take this space to share with you three Scripture passages that have changed my life.
“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
The church I grew up in had its Confirmation Students each select a favorite verse from the Bible to be their “Confirmation Verse.” When I was 14, this verse, a saying of Jesus, stood out to me. It still does. Not because it illustrates the “power of prayer,” but because it reveals the gracious and powerful nature of the one to whom we pray. This passage breathes life into the prayer life of any Christian, creates tension (what do we do when we don’t get what we pray for when Jesus says that we will?), and compels us to carefully consider what we ask of the Lord in prayer.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
In high school, this verse caused me to evaluate the importance of Jesus on my life. It has been said that “Christianity, if true, is of infinite importance; if false, of no importance. But the one thing Christianity cannot be is of moderate importance.”
Even the pagan philosophers command us to “know thyself.” Knowing that, in Christ, we are new creations where the mistakes of yesterday need not cast a deterministic shadow over our future, and the guilt of our sins cannot keep us separated us from the one who has caused us to be born from above satisfies our deepest yearning to know exactly who we are (and whose we are). And THAT is of infinite importance.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
On the one hand, this verse is extremely comforting to tortured souls, weighed down by the guilt of past transgressions, frustrated by the inability to fully obey God, and frightened by the account they will need to give to their Creator on the Last Day. In Christ, our sins are not counted against us. In Christ, we do not need to fear what happens to us when we die. In Christ, we do not need to doubt God’s love.
But on the other hand, this verse is a hard pill to swallow, because it is predicated on the belief that, without being in Christ Jesus, people are justly condemned. While extolling the mercy and power of Christ Jesus, this verse also speaks a hard word to human nature. In the words of the confession in the hymnal I used growing up: “we are by nature sinful and unclean.” We need a Savior. And, in Christ Jesus, we have more than what we need.
And that’s what led me into the ministry. To be with people at their best and worst, on a weekly basis and for once-in-a-lifetime events, old and young, rich and poor and to be entrusted with the unchanging Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; to give people the best news they will ever hear in any situation.
Along the way, in addition to the free gift of salvation, the Lord has given me other undeserved blessings. I grew up in a Christian home with two loving parents. I have been called to pastor God’s people in Lincoln, NE (2005-2010) and here in Bridgeville (2010- present). Shortly before moving to Bridgeville, the Creator of marriage blessed me with a wife, Alissa (about whom much could be said, but I’ll spare you the sappy love story and gushing accolades and simply say she is) someone I look forward spending the rest of my life knowing, appreciating and enjoying. 20 months after marrying and 19 after moving to Bridgeville, the Lord blessed us with a son, Thomas. Less than two years later, we welcomed our daughter, Sarah, to the family. Parenting (so far) is a miraculous mix of sleeplessness, mood swings, tender moments, unconditional love, and seeing the world through innocent and unjaded eyes.
With all that being said, I hope that if you are considering a new church home or are curious about the Christian faith, you will not hesitate to either visit Zion or send me an e-mail. I’m sure all pastors plug their church somewhere on their website, but I really do think there is something special about Zion here in Bridgeville. We’re not perfect; we have been given the good news of Jesus. We would be honored to have you join us.
The Lutheran Theology of Marriage
by Rev. Duncan McLellan
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
>Download the PDF