Pastor to kick off Super Bowl bash Church to have new head for outreach ministry

January 28, 1996|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Robert M. Kimmel thought today's Super Bowl XXX party for teens would be the perfect kickoff for his outreach ministry as a part-time associate pastor of Uniontown Bible Church.

About 50 teens attended the church's inaugural Super Bowl party in Uniontown last year. Mr. Kimmel said many more are expected today at Runnymede Elementary. For a $2 fee, the youths will get plenty of food and beverages, plus an unobstructed television view of professional football's showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys.

Church officials will install Mr. Kimmel, 43, in a formal ceremony today at 10:45 a.m. The Westminster resident, who works as the county's assistant chief in the Bureau of Land Development in the state Department of Recreation and Parks, enjoys using sports analogies to get his message across.

"An outreach minister must be a lot like a good football coach," he said. "My job will be to help teach others how to reach out and be disciples for the Lord."

Mr. Kimmel was born in Baltimore, raised in Randallstown and moved to Carroll County 18 years ago, about the time his older son, Joshua, was born.

Mr. Kimmel and his wife, Margaret, soon joined the Church of the Open Door in Westminster.

"We had a bus ministry where we would visit neighborhoods on Saturdays, helping meet the needs of people we met, and then we'd go back on Sundays and drive them to church," he said.

Mr. Kimmel also taught Sunday school classes at nursing homes for several years and played the role of Christ for about 10 years in the Westminster church's Living Cross ministry.

"Margaret directed the Easter production that concentrated on the last week in the life of Jesus," he said. "About 2,000 to 3,000 people used to attend, and several hundred were involved in producing it."

About four years ago, Mr. Kimmel decided to obtain a bachelor's degree in ministry by correspondence from Bethany Bible College and Theological Seminary in Dothan, Ala. He is majoring in pastoral Bible studies with a minor in Christian counseling and expects to complete his degree work within a year.

Last year, the Kimmels joined the Uniontown Bible Church and, after the associate pastor's position was advertised, Mr. Kimmel decided to apply.

For now, his part-time ministry will be limited to about 12 hours a week. He said he has concentrated on forming a core group of 12 volunteers to build "bridges of friendship" with the community.

The recent blizzard and flash flooding in Carroll would have been a perfect opportunity for his unformed "mercy ministry," he said, or his fledgling youth ministry, dubbed "Salt and Light Co."

If those ministries had been running, Mr. Kimmel said, either would have been ideal for rounding up members with a quick telephone call to go out and shovel snow or mud for the elderly, for example.

"I call it putting your faith into action," Mr. Kimmel said. "Faith without works is dead. Or, putting it into 20th-century lingo, you've got to walk the talk," he said.

Mr. Kimmel is starting part time and hopes to expand his ministry gradually. Perhaps when he retires from his county job in another eight to 10 years, he said, he'll be able to devote his full time to the ministry.

Until then, there's plenty to do and so few hours to do it.

"Being a husband and a father is a full-time job, too," Mr. Kimmel said. "Joshua is in college in Ohio now and David is a student at Northwest Middle School [in Taneytown]."

Landscaping design and installation, a longtime passion, has been relegated to a virtually forgotten hobby, he said.

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