The Rev. John McLarty, founding pastor at Faith United Methodist Church, believes God provides people with different jobs.
“It was not about me or any individual person; it is about what God does through us and what God will continue to do through the church in the future,” McLarty said.
That’s the message he plans to deliver during his last sermon at the church on Sunday.
In 2002, McLarty was appointed associate pastor to Trietsch United Methodist Church in Flower Mound, where his focus was to form a new United Methodist congregation in the Corinth area.
His work began by gathering 50 people who began meeting at Crownover Middle School in 2003.
“There was a need for a place where neighbors could build a connection and build a community,” McLarty said. “Why not start that community around the principles of Christ?”
In 2007, Faith United Methodist Church bought 10 acres of land directly across the street from Guyer High School, and in the spring of that year moved its worship services to the high school. After several years of saving and planning, construction of the new church took about a year to complete, McLarty said.
The church’s facility at 6060 Teasley Lane opened in March 2012 and now has an attendance of around 250.
“We were blessed to work with Crownover Middle School and then Guyer,” McLarty said. “They were a great host for us.”
Serena Eckert, director of Caring Ministries at the church, said long before the building was in place, the ministry always had a sense of community.
“The church has been built around the DNA of serving — serving those in the community and around the world,” Eckert said. “Rev. John has infused this congregation with a passion for reaching out. Whether we are on a staff or a new person comes to the church, you cannot help but feel the energy. We will be sad to see him go.”
Eckert said the church’s programs, including the partnerships with schools, mission work, disaster relief efforts and supporting orphans in Africa, and having the church’s praise chorus and band is in large part a result of McLarty’s leadership and vision of connecting “people to God and each other through the love of Jesus Christ.”
“His other passion is music.” she said. “He is a singer and a musician, and he brought that gift to us.”
Originally from McKinney, McLarty has been married to Jennifer McLarty, a teacher with the Denton school district, for 19 years. They have three children.
On July 1, McLarty will begin his work as a senior pastor at Stonebridge United Methodist Church in McKinney. The Rev. Rodney Whitfield from First United Methodist Church in Richardson will become the new pastor of Faith United Methodist Church beginning July 7.
“It feels like your kids are going off to college,” McLarty said. “But you are the one who is leaving. I am confident the church is in good hands, and I will miss not being a part of it.”
To honor McLarty’s accomplishments and his service, the church will have a celebration at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The event will include a worship service followed by a video. A box lunch for $5 per person will be served, and the event will also include music.
KARINA RAMÍREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878 and via Twitter at @KarinaFRamirez.