District Superintendent Rev. Lawrence Young to Soon Serve in the North Georgia Conference
The Texas Annual Conference will bid Rev. Lawrence Young farewell this summer as he steps into the role as the 21st pastor of Cascade UMC in Atlanta. His leadership skills will be a blessing to this historic and influential congregation.
“Although, I will personally miss Lawrence, I am extremely proud of his new appointment. Cascade is one of the truly great churches in our denomination and it speaks well of the Texas Annual Conference that they have chosen one of our own to serve there,” says Bishop Janice Riggle Huie
Anyone who has spent time with Rev. Lawrence Young, TAC’s Central South District Superintendent, has probably heard him say, “God is up to something.” In the last few weeks, he has been saying this even more frequently, as he prepares to transition from several decades of service within the Texas Annual Conference to a new adventure in the North Georgia Conference. Notes Lawrence, “I have yet to figure out how the nationwide search for the senior pastor -- of the N. Georgia Conference’s largest African American church-- landed on me, but I am more than excited to step into the pulpit of this legendary and historic church on July 1.”
His ministry path has been sprinkled with God-sized surprises that have helped prepare him for this next chapter, which brings him full circle back to the city where he attended Gammon Theological Seminary. He was ordained as a Deacon of the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1990 and as an elder in 1992. Rev. Young was the founding Pastor of Abundant Life United Methodist Church in Lufkin, Texas, where he served for 12 years. While serving in Lufkin, he focused on serving the youth and children of the low-income community and established a community-wide camp for children 5-12 years old. Pastor Young also served as mentor and counselor for students in area middle and high schools. “Starting that church was my first special project from God,” he says, “and my second project was to serve as a leader at Jones Memorial UMC in Houston at a time when we were being spiritually prepared to relocate and rebuild.” He adds, “In 2008, right at the peak of that process God surprised me with a move onto the TAC Cabinet to serve churches in the South Central District as a ministry partner which I have done for the last six years. Now, I believe God is telling me, because I did these projects faithfully, he is going to give me the desire of my heart, which is to return to the Sunday party as a senior pastor.”
Longtime Chapelwood UMC, Houston, Pastor Jim Jackson shares, "It was not surprising to me that Lawrence was selected to be the new senior pastor of a great church beyond the Texas Annual Conference. He is a positive, fearless, can-do person with extraordinary pulpit and leadership gifts. I predict that Lawrence will have a long, fruitful ministry in Atlanta. "
Drawing from his family’s open-door system of unconditional love modeled during his childhood years in Louisiana, Lawrence fosters success in ministry by leading with relational authority. “I had multiple family members within walking distance in my small town,” he recalls, “and we had an open refrigerator policy where anyone could share in anything we had at anytime. This system has worked well in the Texas Annual Conference among the churches with the least and those with the most.”
He is known for many distinctive accomplishments within the TAC. Within the last decade, Lawrence established Jones Memorial’s 501C (3) for The Sunnyside Community Development Corporation and is thus recognized in the Book of Alzheimer’s for African-American Churches for this solution-based initiative. An Alzheimer’s support group was established at Jones Memorial under his leadership.
His leadership has yielded positive growth and significant changes, throughout the district and conference in the development of Legacy Churches, and successful new church starts, one of which specializes in ministry to families who have been affected by incarceration. Pastor Young is known as a pastor’s pastor as he mentors, listens, encourages and advocates on their behalf.
As July draws nearer, Lawrence is excited to be a part of the rich history of Cascade United Methodist Church, which has ties back to 1735 when brothers John and Charles Wesley came from England to American and worked as missionaries in Savannah, Georgia. “I will soon be a part of a Sunday party bigger than most will ever see! Cascade is a very traditional 8,000-member congregation with thousands worshipping on Sundays and at Wednesday Night Live,” he says. “I am looking forward to creating an incubator system to further equip laity and clergy to remain global in nature, and continue to have the influence of a church to whom much is given.
“Our loss is Atlanta's gain!” says Pastor Leo Tyler, St. Mary's UMC, Houston. “Rev. Lawrence Young brings quality leadership and a heart for God and God's people to the North Georgia Conference. God's grace flows in this dynamic preacher and passionate singer that illuminates a room and inspires a crowd. As a pastor, Rev. Young exhibits a personal concern for congregants with a special passion for the Black church. His impact is forever imprinted on the hearts of the Texas Annual Conference. We will miss him dearly.”
Rev. Tori Butler, Wiley College, considers Rev. Dr. Lawrence Young an annointed vessel of God. "He is moving from what he likes to call the 'meantime', that time when you are waiting for God to move and you are diligently and faithfully serving God, into what Dr. King calls 'the urgency of now.' He is called now to be the pastor of Cascade United Methodist Church where he can bring his gifts of pastoral care and discipleship. He is called now to expand the reach of the kingdom of God. He is called now to show the love of God in a mighty way. He is called now to demonstrate the true value of praise and worship. The Church as a whole is blessed to have him for he was chosen by God to preach good news to the captives and remind God’s people that there is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole."
"Lawrence Young has supported the TSU Wesley Foundation in countless ways. He has served as a guest speaker for Wesley, helped me to develop as a minister and has been a supportive friend throughout the years. The Texas Annual Conference, TSU students, Romonica, and myself wish him God's blessings," adds Julius Wardley, Director of the TSU Wesley Foundation.