Gearing up for Easter sermon

Pastor Rob Johnson leads the congregation at Oxford Free Methodist Church. Photo by D. Rush

Free Methodist pastor was called to Oxford
By Don Rush
Rob Johnson has been the pastor of Oxford Free Methodist Church, 790 S. Lapeer Rd., for about a year
and a half, and in that time he has hoped to open the church up to the entire community.
“We are praying here that God will draw people here who are seeking him out,” he said. “The He is
calling and drawing them. So, discipleship will be the main focus of this church. I’m very much
evangalistic. I actually thought that was going to be my calling. Studying for the ministry, I thought I
would just be going church to church and encouraging people to show up and grow. But, when I got to the
church, I was very, very strongly called to take care of a church and that hasn’t changed since I started.”
Johnson, who will be 50 this June, and his wife Melissa have three adult children and one grandchild. He
and Melissa moved to Oxford Township from Ann Arbor where he pastored a church from 2008 to 2016.
“Then I took a few years off so my boys could finish high school, before moving up here to this
appointment,” he said.
“We really like Oxford. It was hard coming in two months before the school shooting. I prayed a lot then,
because I didn’t want to jump in and help with everything because I didn’t know everyone yet and I didn’t
want to introduce myself right then. So, I prayed a lot. We have a charter school that meets out of our
church here and the principal there asked if I could help counsel the next day. I said, ‘absolutely.’ I did
anything I could. I just didn’t want to be in the middle at that point.
“We spent much of the next year getting to know the area, the people and developing ministry for the
church here and organizing who we want to be. My wife comes from Saline, a similar smaller town, so
we really enjoy Oxford.”
Pastor Rob said he almost wasn’t always figuring on being in the ministry.
“I always figured myself as a jack of all trades. We’ve all heard the quote, ‘and a master of none.’ I
always felt bad about that until recently I heard the rest of that quote. The actual full quote is, ‘A jack of
all trades and a master of none is still better than a master one.’”
He attended the University of Michigan to study electrical engineering and was a programmer for a
number of years before he re-wired his career to the ministry.
“I went to U of M, because I took a test when I was in high school that said I would be a good electrical
engineer. I got through all of it, however, while in school is when I really started feeling the call to my
faith. Strangely enough I abandoned Christianity. I decided God was real, but I didn’t want to go off of
anyone else’s comments on anything else. So, I started studying by myself. A lot of my studies were self
taught. I did a lot of philosophy, I studied world religions for several years, ancient languages, while I was
going to school for engineering.
“When I graduated I got a job programming for a small software company, but as I was doing that and
volunteering at my church, leading evangelism ministry and seeing people get saved – the longer I went,
the more useless my engineering work became to me.”
He interned at his church and took classes to become ordained. In 2003, the economy started to stagnate
and he was laid-off from his programming job. He found a job pastoring in Indiana and in four years he
worked at two churches before moving back to the Ann Arbor area.
Pastor Rob writes his own music, can read music (“but not very well”) and plays the piano by ear, the
guitar and “a little bit on the drums.”
This Easter season he said the church is inviting any who feel the need to celebrate with them.
“We want people to know that this church is ‘family.’ We want to let people know Jesus can heal every
hurt. In the last year we have reevaluated our mission statement and what we are here for. Really, what
our statement is now is just following the will of God. Will is an acronym for Worshiping, Imitating Jesus,
Loving and then Leading People to Faith. We are really called to see people grow and understand who
Jesus is and what he’s teaching.”
He said he planned out his sermon series for the entire year. Every week we are going through the Bible
from a main story or point in each of the books of the Bible. Interestingly enough, on Easter we will be
doing Esther. “The main points about Esther are her faithfulness and sacrifice, because she was willing to
sacrifice herself for the people, and what she did for the rest of us,” he said.

To learn more about the Oxford Free Methodist Church, their mission and worship times, visit their
website, .

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