By Ronnie Crocker

The Rev. Becca Newcomb’s A-ha! moment of the Covid pandemic was the realization that moms and dads weren’t always comfortable tending to their children’s spiritual needs.

“When we all went into lockdown, it became obvious that we hadn’t given parents the tools or confidence to disciple their own kids,” she says. “You want to raise your kids in the faith; you rely on Sunday School, church. Suddenly, they had to become the Sunday School teacher. The best you could do is turn on YouTube or Facebook” for tutorials.

Newcomb has been working in youth and family ministry for a decade and a half. In an interview shortly before she was ordained a deacon during Annual Conference 2023, she described the “fear factor” she encountered among parents.

“What I saw in the pandemic was just panic,” she said.

As a result, she puts even more emphasis on the whole family in her work. For example, at First United Methodist Church Wharton, where Newcomb is pastor of family ministries and her husband is senior pastor, she sponsors a family beach day with no formal agenda. The car ride down opens the opportunity for conversation between adults and kids. It’s a relaxed environment where parents know they have backup making sure their kids are safe.

Newcomb said she models how to actively listen, but the main purpose is to relieve some of stress of today’s “pressurized family life” and allow everyone to enjoy the time they spend together.

“It sounds really simple, but … it creates memories, and it strengthens relationships,” she said.

Revs. Becca and Steven Newcomb and their son, Samuel, on Easter 2023. (Photo Courtesy of Becca Newcomb)

Those lessons pay off at home, where Becca and Steven Newcomb have a 15-month-old son. The child may not understand the words yet, but he’s already reaching for his parents’ hands when they say grace at the dinner table.

“We practice what we preach,” she said.

Newcomb sounds confident in a role that she knows will present challenges of its own.

“My goal is not to make him believe something, but to give him the tools to think critically, to ask good questions and make that decision for himself,” she said.

It’s important, too, that young Samuel know that she will love him regardless of what decision he makes or how many times he wrestles with it.

“If we can do that as a church family as well, I think it’s easier for kids to understand the kind of unconditional love that God has for them,” she said.

On Aug. 1, Newcomb will start a new position, her first since ordination. She will be pastor of family ministries at First United Methodist Church in Katy, Texas. That will include programming for Sunday school, confirmation and youth-group activities – all specifically family-focused.

Commuting won’t be anything new for the Newcombs, who met while both were juggling work and seminary in different cities.

Becca Newcomb’s path to ordination was a winding road.

She grew up in Houston’s northern reaches and studied history at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. She worked for a time afterward at a florist’s shop and did some substitute teaching. By the summer of 2009, she was pursuing a teaching certificate and had a job lined up at a high school in the fall.

Then she took an internship position in youth ministry at her parents’ church in Richmond. It wasn’t long before she let the principal know she’d found a new calling.

“Instead of taking the teaching job, I wound up taking the much lower paying job as youth minister in Rosenberg,” Newcomb said.

She later worked at FUMC Katy and in 2014 she started commuting to Dallas for seminary classes at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. After becoming an associate pastor at a church in Lufkin, she drove back and forth from there. She was then director of campus ministries at Kilgore College.

After getting married in Dallas, she and her husband settled in Longview for a time. They have been at FUMC Wharton since 2020.

The road here detoured in another way. Originally, Newcomb said, she pursued ordination as an elder, with plans to one day lead her own church. After a period of discernment and conversations with friends and mentors, she decided to pursue the deacon track, with a specialization in youth and families.

She and her husband plan to move to Katy for her new job. Steven again will be commuting, this time back to FUMC Wharton.

Called to Ministry is a new series about the 2023 ordination class. If you have been wondering if God could use you to lead other Christians, perhaps God is calling to consider preparing for full-time ministry. Check out our Called to Ministry page or email .