Rev. Tony McCollum
Three ways to describe me: I wrote this starting at the bottom of the page, so you are about to discover that I am a little wordy. Secondly I would say that I am determined. When a goal or a project is before me, I become very focused and determined to see it through to the end. I think I first realized this, when I was a teenager looking back over my scouting career and my path to becoming an Eagle Scout. If something was worth doing, it was worth putting 100% of oneself into it. I am also an odd combination of A.D.D. and O.C.D. which makes my number two descriptor all the more amazing. It often takes a Pentecostal movement of the Spirit to keep me going in the right direction.
The people in my life: In the lines that follow you are going to hear a lot about my immediate family, so here, let me tell you about three pastors who have become like a band of brothers to me. Joel, Kenn and John have been in my corner for somewhere between 25 and 30 years. We went to school together at A&M, at Asbury and at Asbury again. We share our successes in ministry together and we bemoan our failures together. When crisis arises I can count on hearing from all of them and at least one or two of them showing up. We hunt, we fish and we vacation together. It is an extremely odd week that I don’t talk to one or all of them in a personal or professional manner. They are a tangible sign of God’s grace as he continues to lead my family down this ministry path that we are on.
Favorite Food: Beef, It’s what’s for dinner. A burger, a ribeye or a fajita, it really doesn’t matter.
What I love: I love connecting my favorite activities with my favorite people. Chris and I love to share an early morning stroll that leads us to a favorite cup of coffee. From here we can plan and dream about our family, our ministry and the life we share. Together, Kaitlyn and I plan and prepare for the cool breezes of autumn that signal it’s time to go to the deer lease in the Texas Hill Country. And Megan and I love to get in a late afternoon round of Golf when I can cut out of the office a little early. I cannot wait to find out what aspects of life will connect with the newly minted favorite people of my life from Cypress UMC.
The college years: Through the Wesley Foundation at Texas A&M, my life took a couple of significant turns that profoundly shaped my life. I met my wife Chris, the wayward Catholic who was coerced into going to the Wesley Foundation by her roommate. After a looooong dating relationship the rest is history. I also met my closest friends in ministry who along with Chris persuaded me to join the Texas Annual Conference and not go back to the Northwest Texas Annual Conference. I was a slow learner, so all of this, plus the internship that I did at the Wesley Foundation was a well spent seven years of my life.
Favorite movie: It’s often difficult for me to say, this if my favorite but this past year two movies captured my imagination: first was the Jim Caviezel movie “When the Game Stands Tall” about the De La Salle high school football team that had to overcome the trauma of losing the nation’s longest winning streak in organized football. There is a great quote from Coach Ladouceur in the movie: “We’re not asking you to be perfect on every play. What we’re asking of you and what you should be asking of each other is to give a perfect effort from snap to whistle.” It almost sounds Wesleyan, don’t you think? Are we moving on to perfection? And the second movie that asked me to take a step back and look at the world around me was Reese Witherspoon’s “The Good Lie” about the Lost Boys of Sudan. The story of their life struggle as they were orphaned and forced from their home land is an amazing story of hope, that ends with this African proverb. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
My specialties: Hurricane Recovery for a United Methodist Church, a skill I hope never to use in Cypress.
The pre-CUMC years: The pre-CUMC years include the birth of our two daughters – Kaitlyn and Megan, 19 years of ministry at 5 different churches, and two degrees from Asbury Theological Seminary. Our ministry to this point has been a back and forth series of appointments between the greater Houston area and rural East Texas. We are excited beyond belief to be appointed to Cypress UMC and break the trend that should have sent my girls to high school somewhere in the Piney Woods of East Texas.
What I hate: I absolutely hate being late.
Favorite verse (or book) in the Bible: Habakkuk 3:17-19. First of all how many people do you know that call out Habakkuk as a favorite verse? But really I would describe it as my “When the cows don’t come home” theology. In this verse I find the call to praise my Lord no matter what life throws my way; and that simple act is enough to make me sure footed and stable as He leads me from even deep dark valleys to the heights.
What am I reading: Right now I am in the midst several books. The ones most capturing my attention are, When Moses Meets Aaron by Gil Rendle and Susan Beaumont, The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey and Giving Blood a Fresh Paradigm for Preaching by Leonard Sweet.
Where am I likely to be when Divine inspiration hits: I will be outdoors somewhere. It may be on the water, in a deer stand, on a walk through the neighborhood or simply working in the yard. When I went through my Birkman Personality Inventory with my leadership coach she commented on the fact that she had never before seen a person with as high of a need to be outside as my test indicated. I guess she hasn’t met my twin brother; he scored two points higher in this than I did. She urged me to never go more than two days without doing some significant activity outside because of the way it connects my soul back to God.
Favorite Color: I guess that it would be maroon since my daughters insist that camouflage is not a color and even saying that reveals more about me than they are comfortable with their dad admitting. To which I would just say, look at my previous answer.