Introducing Taylor Johnson

Family
My wife, Kiersten, and I were married in 2017 in Sioux Falls, SD. We met through church and had known each other for awhile and God continued to cross our paths together. She studied Nursing at University of Sioux Falls and has worked for Sanford and Good Samaritan Society as an RN for the last four years. Our family grew in 2019 with the birth of our son, Dexson. He and I share a birthday on October 11th! He is a very active one and a half year old always looking for adventure and new ways to play with the cats, Cooners and Hank.

Education
Undergraduate
 South Dakota State University- 2017 BS Sociology Graduate
 Sioux Falls Seminary- Est. Graduation 2021 MDiv

Appointment History
 First United Methodist Church – Sioux Falls, SD 2015-2021 (Worship Pastor/Associate Pastor)

Continuing Education and Training
 Licensed in West Ohio Conference of the UMC-2015
 Catalyst Leadership Training Events

Service and Community Involvement
 I have served as the worship leader of Church on the Street in Sioux Falls since 2019
Church on the Street is a congregation made up of mostly homeless people in the Sioux Falls area. We meet
once a month for worship, donation distribution and a meal. Other ministry events include Laundry with Love,
Arts in the Park, and Health and Wellness days.
 I have served as the co-chair of the United Campus Ministry at SDSU and was involved with that organization from 2009-2011.
 I have served Communion at a local nursing home my wife has worked at.
 I have led worship services at multiple conference events, chapel services, and youth gatherings.
 I have served on the Steering Committee for the United Methodist Student Movement, part of the Global Board of Higher Education Ministry. Part of my working relationship sent me to Tampa Bay in 2012 to speak at the GBHEM presentation for General Conference.

Call to Ministry
My first encounter with a call to ministry happened at an ice cream social our church was hosting. I had just been confirmed that year and was getting more involved in the church however I could. We had finished our annual Ordination service, and someone came up to me and asked if I had ever considered being on CCYM. Little did I know that would be the beginning of several pastors and mentors pouring into me and helping me to understand my calling to ministry. I also recognize my call to ministry outside of the local church setting. The way I love my wife and son is a ministry. The way I interact with a barista or another member of the community is a ministry. I strive each and everyday to expand my understanding of what ministry is and how we might join together in our mutual callings to serve God throughout the world.

Passion for Ministry
My passion for ministry comes from seeing the experience others have had with the Church. My heart breaks for the people who have a stained idea of who Jesus is because of an experience that happened in the past or rumors they heard. I have a passion for helping people who know faith to show faith. The combination of the two leads me to the work of building up current disciples for the work of making new ones. I love having the difficult conversations about who God is and who we are together. I have a deep love for heartfelt, expressive worship. Ultimately, my passion for ministry is helping people draw closer to Jesus and closer
to one another.

Vision of the Church
The vision I have for the Church is to be a faithful body of believers who love God and love neighbor. There are things about the modern church that are wonderful and things that need some adjustment. I believe every congregation has room to grow not only in size but in spiritual understanding. One thing that has been placed on my heart over the last several years is to look at the church from the view of Acts 2. For those who were closest to Christ’s resurrection, what did they find to be the most essential pieces? Worshipping together, meeting in homes, sharing everything they had, and a devotion to the learning and teaching of Jesus.

Gifts for the Ministry
I try to bring my best in whatever I do and seek to adapt to whatever comes my way. There are gifts God has given me that I feel have been confirmed through affirmation of others as well as spiritual gift assessments. My top three spiritual gifts are mercy, faith, and prophecy, followed closely by apostleship. Over the last several years I have felt my call to preaching grow and I have
really gotten ahold of my rhythm and style. Music has been huge in my life since I was in fourth grade, and I love to play guitar, piano, drums, and any instrument I can try. I love to laugh and have fun but can also recognize the time for reverence and calm. Empathy and adaptability have also been strengths that have flourished over the last several years.

Leadership Style
I model my leadership after a posture of servant leadership. It is a balance of knowing when to get down into the dirt and get my hands and feet dirty, and when to equip the saints for the work of ministry in the world. Ultimately Paul talks about each of us having certain roles in the body. I take my responsibility and authority as a pastor very seriously, but recognize I am one part of the entire congregation. My goal is to look at the task at hand and discern what would be the most faithful and efficient way to accomplish the goal, and who ought to be part of it.

Aspirations for Ministry and for Serving the Local Church
God has certainly called me towards ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church. I want to faithfully journey towards that goal while allowing the Holy Spirit to speak into me if there was something beyond that. I want to serve the church while also serving my family well, knowing the importance each of them have on one another. With God’s help I hope to remain faithful to listening to God’s voice and direction in every aspect of my life.

Spiritual Disciplines and Study
While I am currently wrapping up my seminary degree, I will not abandon studies once I have completed my coursework. The Kairos Project has helped me to establish a mentored life and will continue to do both be mentored and to mentor others. My daily devotion and prayer life has steadily gotten better in time, but certainly has room to grow. I try to take a day for personal retreat once a quarter, accompanied by weekly Sabbath and vacation time with my family (in non-Covid times we hope to do a little traveling from time to time)

February 18 Devotion

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…”  So begins the 23rd Psalm.  Like a typical Hollywood movie, the Psalm begins with a beautiful time free of cares, followed by the challenges of the valley of the shadow of death, followed by redemption (in God’s house and presence).  Psalm 23 is dependent upon a covenant or promise God made to humanity in Genesis 9 after the great flood.  “Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood.  Never again shall a flood consume the entire earth.”  The beauty of the rainbow after the storm becomes the sign of God’s promise:  a sign of God’s own nature, a caregiver instead of a punisher, a nurturer instead of a demander.

 

The rainbow moment was perhaps the first time humans and God understood life would have plenty enough struggles and storms of its own, without an angry deity making life even more miserable.  Think of this past week, between the snowstorms and cold pounding the south and Texas having its own essentially unregulated power-grid millions of humans are suffering through no fault of their own.  The core of our faith through the message of Jesus and Scriptures like the 23rd Psalm is that it’s precisely at such times that God seeks to be our shepherd, our comfort, our guide in learning how to better care for one another, especially the most vulnerable.  God’s promise not to flood the earth becomes a covenant to love, and an invitation for all the faithful to love our neighbors as well.  Below is a link to UMNews  that I invite you to click on.  It will lead to stories of what UM Churches are doing in the midst of the storms in the Southern US.  It will remind some of you of what UM Churches did in the midst of the Red River Valley floods.  It will remind us what is at the heart of God’s covenant to care for the people of the earth.

May God shepherd us all, and lead us to care well for one another.

Blessings,                                                                                                            UMNews

Pastor Roger