Many of you will remember the spotlight on our eight district superintendents. The next five editions of the NewsCONNECTION will feature a district superintendent that has not yet been featured before. This edition's spotlight is on Dr. Larry Bryars, Marianna-Panama City District Superintendent.
What Brought You to the Ministry?
I did not run from ministry. In fact, I was running towards it. In college I was working in a ministry that was seeing people come to know Christ. I had a passion to spend my life doing this. I think I was looking for writing across the sky to give me a sign of a call. When graduation was approaching, I went to the DS to see if there were positions available in a church. I told him about my passion to bring people to Christ and I was wishing God would call me. He said, “Larry, your passion is God’s call. God has his hand upon you.” I knew it, as soon as he said it. I went home with the assurance that God was calling and immediately applied to seminary.
The Best Book I’ve Read About Methodism Is:
“The Story of American Methodism” by Frederick A. Norwood. I have had this book since the 70’s. It was a text book from Seminary. It was the first book to enlighten me on our rich heritage.
Favorite Vacation Destination:
Well you caught me on this one. Vicki and I love to travel and I want to see the world. However, our “go to” place when we just need a few days away is New Orleans. Now we are not party people, but I love to eat and Vicki loves to shop. Some of our favorite places to do both are in New Orleans. Also, it’s close to home.
Instead of being a minister, I almost was...
A Recreation Director. When I was in college, it was known that the area of recreational services was about to boom. My under-grad degree was in this field. I was planning on working in City Parks and Recreation. I had interned at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear and was the assistant to the director when I graduated. I also thought about working on Cruise Liners but God had other plans. I went straight from college to Seminary.
One of the goals for my district is to:
Help churches and clergy become fruitful. I have always been a “church growth” guy and felt that it was my calling to move the church forward. I always ask God when I arrive at a church, “What do you want me to do here?” I want to help each church and clergy to follow God’s plan for their church. I believe that God wants each of us to grow spiritually and hopefully that will result in bringing more people to Christ.
What is one challenge you see for your district:
I think that the small membership churches have the greatest challenge. It is hard to find the resources to accomplish great change in a church where the community is not growing. We are going to have to work a little harder in those areas.
What do you like best about serving the AWF Conference?
The best part about our conference is the people. I have served with some of the greatest people in our churches and on our boards and agencies. I always find our people to be dedicated and willing to stand strong in their faith and commitment to Christ. I think we have a great reputation in all of Methodism.
What do you do in your free time.........the little there is!
Movies, Movies and Movies. I am a movie buff. I love the movies because I can hide in the dark and no one can bother me for at least a couple of hours. I think I hold the only “Elite” status Crown Club Card in the area. They roll out the red carpet and the trumpets blow when I buy a ticket!!
Most people don’t know that I can:
Sing. My wife Vicki and I used to be in a singing group before we married. She is a really good singer, and when I sing with her, she makes me sound better. Also, you can’t tell by looking at me but I also like to exercise regularly. I run and work out. I have even placed first in 5k’s in my age group, but that is conditional upon no-one else my age showing up.
The most important thing I’ve learned since my first appointment is:
Always focus on what I was called to do. I have had many opportunities in ministry, but I want to finish strong someday knowing I stayed true to the call of sharing Christ and making disciples.