The APNC Nominee for Associate Pastor, Rex R. Childs The Associate Pastor Nominating Committee searched for an Associate Pastor who had experience in Christian Education, Mission, Pastoral Care and general pastoral duties. We wanted someone who had both personal and spiritual maturity. Our ideal candidate would be a teacher, communicator and preacher. He or she would have had five years leadership experience either within or outside the church. Most important, our ideal candidate would be a good team player with our superb staff, and a colleague to our senior pastor. The APNC reviewed 97 PIF’s, corresponded with 18 people of interest (11 women and 7 men). Of those 18 people, 7 responded positively by providing written answers to our questions and sitting for an hour-long SKYPE interview (2 women and 5 men). After discussion and discernment, the APNC determined that there were two candidates that appeared to be the best fit for us. The APNC set up interviews with both candidates. Our first candidate and his wife spent three days with us. He was an incredible man with great energy and enthusiasm. He had extensive experience in Christian Education. We were very impressed. Because Rex was local, we set up the same number of meetings with him as with our first candidate, but over a period of six days. This included a meal with his spouse and the APNC, lunch with our pastor, lunch with senior staff, dinner with our pastor and his wife and an interview with the APNC. In addition, both candidates participated in the extensive LeaderWise testing and evaluation process. After we had a one-hour debriefing session along with a written summary of each candidates’ LeaderWise results, and feedback from our senior staff and pastor, it was clear to us that Rex Childs was the one God was leading us towards! Our pastor felt that he would have a true colleague in Rex, senior staff found their interaction with him open, honest and caring. We experienced a man who was very clear about who he was and what he had to offer. One member described Rex as “an old soul in a young body” – with a depth of compassion for others and a heart for caring ministries. In addition, Rex has a dual Master of Arts in Christian Education and Master of Divinity indicating his passion for Christian Education. When he graduated from seminary, he worked for one of our local charities, Grace Place, until Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church asked if he could come and help them out during their time of transition. Because he is a “native son,” he understands the pressures and challenges of living in Paradise in season! He understands ministry with an aging population. Thus, he had all the experience in leadership that we felt critical plus a life experience that made his choice clear. We are excited to have Rex and Cayla Childs join us in ministry at First Presbyterian Church of Naples. We are convinced that he is the one God has prepared to walk with us in this next chapter of our church’s ministry and growth. And we are honored that we are the ones to extend to Rex his first professional call to ministry and be able to celebrate his Ordination with him! The Associate Pastor Nominating Committee: Carleton Cleveland, Jenny Haire, Doug Jensen, Bill Kearney, Betty Mangos, John Slager, Barb Weiss and David Rea, Presbytery Liaison
I was born in Ft. Myers, FL to Diana and Donald Childs, both themselves native Floridians. I have a younger sister, Madelyn (Maddy), and we called SWFL home for our entire childhood. I was not raised in the church; we started attending only after my parents divorced when I was eleven. We attended Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church and I quickly became involved in the youth program led by James and Linda McDonald (Mr. and Mrs. McD to us youth). It was through the youth program that I came to learn about God’s love and profess my faith in Jesus Christ. I was confirmed and baptized on April 27, 2003. While in the high school youth program, it was Mr. McD who first told me that I should consider ministry as my vocation. After high school, I went on to attend the University of Florida, where I graduated with a BA in Religion, although it didn’t start that way. I actually began as a Computer Science major and it wasn’t until I took a few classes in Religion for general education credits that I discovered a passion for it. At the same time, I didn’t have any ties to a faith community at school and my faith suffered for it. I also met my wife, Cayla during our freshman year there. She grew up in the Naples area as well, so we had mutual friends but never met before our time in Gainesville. We just celebrated ten years of being together and have been married for two and a half years. During my senior year at UF, I began seriously considering seminary. I visited a few campuses and after spending time at Union Presbyterian Seminary (Richmond, VA), I felt strongly that God was calling me to study there. Education has always been important to me, and particularly because of my experience with the youth program at Vanderbilt, I enrolled in Union’s dual-degree program. I graduated in May of 2015 with Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Education degrees.
Following my seminary graduation, I moved back home to Naples to be with Cayla and began working at Grace Place for Children and Families, an education focused non-profit located in Golden Gate City. I started out helping run the afterschool program at Golden Gate Middle. After doing that for a school year, I transitioned onto their Development team where I worked as the Volunteer Experience Manager. I greatly enjoyed my time at Grace Place and learned a lot from that experience, but I still felt that God was calling me to parish ministry. Thankfully, an opportunity to serve at my home church opened up. I had been assisting with worship while Vanderbilt was without a pastor and when they finally hired an Interim Pastor, I was asked to come on board full-time. My official title at Vanderbilt is Assistant to the Pastor, but I have been responsible for much of the work of an Associate Pastor. I help lead worship every Sunday, preach regularly, oversee education and am involved with pastoral care and mission. It was a wonderful place for me to begin serving the church but, I also feel that God has called me to a new place to join in ministry with a different part of the body of Christ. I am so very excited about the future to which God is calling all of us.
Statement of Faith
I believe there is one Triune God who is to be worshiped and served joyfully. The Trinity consists of God the Father, Jesus Christ, God's only Son and the Holy Spirit. God created the world and everything in it, and judged it as very good. Humans were made in God’s image and were created to be stewards of the earth and glorify God. God is merciful and just and has freely chosen to be with us. God desires to be in right relationship with humanity. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. However, humans are in a constant state of sinfulness in which we turn away from God. Our sinfulness is harmful to fellow humans, Creation, and ourselves. As humans, we are called to use our agency in the world to bring about positive change, which comes from our discernment of God’s will. Human sin is both corporate and individual. All structures of human society: government, economics, social and cultural traditions are affected by the power of sin. As participants in these structures, we are part of this sin. We also, individually, sin against God. Each day, we choose to do things that go against God. We strive to follow God’s will for our lives, but we fall short. As a result of both corporate and individual sin, we deserve God’s condemnation. Yet, God chose to break this cycle of human sinfulness. God sent Jesus Christ to live with us. Jesus Christ is God’s Word made flesh. Jesus is simultaneously fully human
and fully divine. Jesus preached the good news and called all to repent. In his crucifixion, Jesus suffered human pain and gave his life for the sins of the world. In his resurrection, Jesus defeated the power of evil and delivered us from death to eternal life. The Bible is the inspired word of God and the authoritative witness to Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, who is the lens through which all Scripture is interpreted. Both Testaments reveal who God is and how God’s people have responded to God’s presence across many times and places. We are called to interpret Scripture, illumined by the Holy Spirit, so that we may discern God’s will in our own context.
The Holy Spirit works through the Church and each of us to bring about new life. We should always be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit, which calls us to love God and neighbor more fully. The Holy Spirit bestows gifts on each of us and binds us together in the one body of Christ. The Church is the body of Christ. The Church strives to follow the teachings and actions of Christ. It does this by providing services for the worship of God, proclamation of the Word and by building up its community. The Church is called to care for the poor, and welcome the outcast, as Christ did. The discernment of God’s will is best done in the community of the Church. The Church strives to be an earthly witness to God’s Kingdom. The Church also provides for the administering of sacraments. As revealed in Scripture, these sacraments are baptism and communion. In the waters of baptism, we are cleansed and claimed by God. We leave our old life behind and receive new life in Christ. In the Lord’s Supper, we are joined together with all believers into the Body of Christ and are nourished through the Holy Spirit. We do it remembering Christ’s death and resurrection and it is a foretaste of the heavenly banquet.
Education and Experience Formal Education 2011 – 2015 Union Presbyterian Seminary Master of Divinity Master of Arts in Christian Education 2007 – 2011 University of Florida Bachelor of Arts in Religion Continuing Education 9/2017 Stewardship Kaleidoscope Conference St. Pete Beach, FL 6/2016 Developing Annual Sustainability Course Offered at Hodges University – Center for Nonprofit Excellence Indiana University Lily Family School of Philanthropy The Fund Raising School Certification/Training Clinical Pastoral Education Work Experience 11/2016 – Present Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church Naples, FL Assistant to the Pastor • Lead worship and special services; preach once a month • Oversee and provide pastoral care to congregation • Oversee and participate in Youth and Adult Education programs • Participate in other ministries of the church (Mission, Evangelism & Membership, Stewardship, etc.) 5/2016 – 11/2016 Grace Place for Children and Families Naples, FL Volunteer Experience Manager • Member of the Development team • Oversaw volunteers in each program area • Responsible for recruitment, training and placement of new volunteers • Participated in volunteer/donor relations as well as grant writing and reporting 10/2015 – 5/2016 Grace Place for Children and Families Naples, FL Lead Program Assistant • Help plan and oversee afterschool program at Golden Gate Middle School • Plan and lead three hour-long classes per week Recruited students to be part of the program
9/2014 – 5/2015 Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church Richmond, VA Seminary Intern • Participated in worship leadership most Sundays • Preached occasionally • Led numerous Sunday School lessons • Led Children's Chapel once a month 6/2014 – 8/2014 NCH Healthcare System Naples, FL Clinical Pastoral Education Intern Chaplain • Earned one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education • Provided pastoral care to patients and family members throughout the hospital with a focus on the Psychiatric ward • Participated in a number of didactics including visits to hospice, the medical examiner, and Neighborhood Health Clinic 9/2013 – 5/2014 UKirk Ministries at Virginia Commonwealth Univ. Richmond, VA Seminary Advisor • Helped lead weekly meetings • Led weekly Men's Bible study • Led a program on interfaith issues 6/2013 – 8/2013 Grace Place for Children and Families Naples, FL Head Intern for Summer Program • Oversaw day-to-day routine of program • Helped with weekly food bank distribution • Led weekly book study for interns • Provided guidance and care for interns Service to the Church (last 10 years): 6/2015 Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church Naples, FL Montreat Youth Conference - Chaperone 9/2013 – 5/2014 Union Presbyterian Seminary Richmond, VA Sports and Recreation Committee treasurer • Helped coordinate activities throughout the year including participation in an annual flag-football tournament, ultimate frisbee, as well as hiking and camping trips 9/2011 – 5/2012 Union Presbyterian Seminary Richmond, VA Richmond Student Government Association First-Year Dual-Degree Representative 7/2010 Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church Naples, FL Montreat Middle School Conference Chaperone 7/2008 Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church Naples, FL Montreat Youth Conference - College Volunteer Staff and Chaperone
An introduction to our new Associate Pastor, Rex Childs.