Here's another look at a religious leader in South Florida. Today we're talking with the Rev. Andrew Coleman of Sheridan Hills Baptist Church, Hollywood.
Q: Is it easy or hard to become pastor of a church that you grew up in?
A: I think it's a great privilege. I came to my faith here. I was baptized and ordained and married here. All work in ministry is pretty tough. It's not easy to represent the Lord in a fallen world. But it's filled with joy and reward.
Q: Has your experience on the mission field given you any advantages in pastoring?
A: I've been immersed in several cultures for 10 years. And South Florida has become multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. Now I have a clear picture of God's beautiful tapestry.
Q: Do you have an overall philosophy of ministry?
A: The biggest issue is not religion; it's relationships with God. It's hard to overstate that. Second, I emphasize the importance of God's Word. I don't want to go toward consumer or cultural Christianity. I want biblical Christianity.
Q: What's the favorite part of your work?
A: Deeply connecting with people. Being involved in their lives, their joys, their struggles. Growing and helping them grow.
Q: What's the hardest part?
A: Seeking to balance the demands each week. Making sure my heart and energy are where God wants me. Culture is strong; life is fast; all kinds of forces seek to distract us from what is important to God.
Q: How do you like to relax?
A: I really enjoy fishing and being on the water. And my daughter Cheryl Ann and I are certified for scuba diving.
Q: Favorite pastime?
A: I enjoy photography. I've traveled a lot with my Nikon D70, from deserts to mountains.
Q: What book have you been recommending lately?
A: "Bonhoeffer," by Eric Metaxas. It's a powerful story of [German theologianDietrich] Bonhoeffer's deep commitment to the Lord.
Q: Do you have any favorite films?
A: "Les Miserables." I like a story with depth and development of characters. We lived in Besancon, France, the birthplace of Victor Hugo (author of "Les Miserables"). I'd enjoyed his stories even before we moved there.
Also "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World." I love stories of leadership and character.
Q: Favorite music? Favorite performer(s)?
A: Basic classical, like Mozart and Vivaldi. I also like Matt Redman and Hillsong United. And Sovereign Grace music has pretty meaty songs.
Q: Do you have a hero?
A: One is C.S. Lewis. I enjoyed his creative way of teaching important doctrinal themes. Another is Martin Luther King, for his boldness and passion. He marked history with his life. And I admire [missionary] Lilias Trotter, who went to North Africa in 1888 and stayed nearly 40 years.
Q: What person in history would you like most to meet?
A: C. H. Spurgeon (19th century British preacher). In this epoch of Christian history, he is probably the most significant. He was a consummate pastor.
Q: What do you wish people understood about you?
A: I'd rather change that to "What do you want people to know about you?" The answer is that I care about them and about the glory of Christ.
Q: Is there one thing you can't stand?
A: Long traffic lights and loud, insulting TV commercials.
Q: What's the most important thing you've ever learned?
A: One, the tremendous deficit of my heart in need of God and his grace. And two, the tremendous truth of his love.
Q: When you feel down, how do you revive spiritually?
A: Psalms 119:107: "I am afflicted very much: Quicken me, O Lord, according unto thy word." On Dec. 10, Marcie had a massive heart attack and nearly died. God saw fit to let her stay. She spent 11 days in coronary care unit and had five stints inserted. I think the dark night of the soul is what God uses to bring us to him.
Q: Motto, or favorite scripture verse?
A: Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no long I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live, I live by faith in the son of God, who gave himself up and died for me." Also, Psalms 32:8: "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye." I use that in counseling. It's a very rich promise.
James D. Davis
More on Coleman
Title: Pastor, Sheridan Hills Baptist Church, Hollywood.
Other job experience: Former computer marketer for local area networks; former missionary in France and Africa; former pastor at Crescent Beach Baptist Church, St. Augustine.
Education: Business degree, Florida State University; master's degree in divinity, Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth; studying for doctorate in ministry, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville.
Personal: 44 years old. Born in Hollywood.
Family: Married to Marcie, a housewife. Two daughters.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun