McCuistion leads Odessa churchNew First Church of the Nazarene pastor left leadership organization to return to ministry

The Rev. Mark McCuistion spent many years as a traveling evangelist and musician and then as a coach and trainer for the Kansas City-based John Maxwell Team leadership group.

But having a theological education and a clerical background, McCuistion missed church work and eagerly took an appointment as pastor of the First Church of the Nazarene at 2223 Lyndale Dr., preaching his first sermon Feb. 10.

“I show what the Bible says about how to be a follower of Jesus Christ, enter into a personal relationship with him and live a surrendered life to God,” he said.

Citing Galatians 5:22-23, McCuistion said, “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

“When you give your life to God, you say, ‘I want to receive your spirit into my spirit and I want you to take up residence in my life.’ Then he forgives us of our sins and writes our names into the Lamb’s book of life so we can go to Heaven.”

McCuistion is a native of Independence, Kan., who earned a bachelor’s degree in history at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kan., and a master’s of religious education at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City. He and his wife Patricia have four children and two grandchildren.

The First Church of the Nazarene averages 100 people at its 10:30 a.m. Sunday services.

“God is never done with us,” McCuistion said. “The Greek word for perfection, ‘teleos,’ means God’s process of making us mature. Everything pretty much agrees that death is the final perfecting process. We are being made complete until we finally die and then God brings us from wherever we are to complete the process.

“I love to lead people and help congregations become healthy — loving and worshipping God, fellowshipping, doing things in a common commitment to Christ and practicing discipleship and friendship, loving people.”

Burk Barnett of Linn Valley, in eastern Kansas, attended a church in nearby Osawatomie where McCuistion was the youth pastor. “Mark is a fun guy to be around,” Barnett said.

“He is honest and very much a people person. He loves the Lord and if he senses you have a problem, he is right there to see if he can help out. He can sing and play the piano and he is a solid preacher and a hard worker. He’s always out there, trying to help somebody. He wants to build the kingdom.”