White leads Monahans churchNew Mexico native changed careers in mid-life

MONAHANS The Rev. Stephen “Steve” White was a computer scientist for many years for IBM and Microsoft and now, as pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Monahans, he wants to guide people away from the disturbing headlines of the day to the timeless lessons of the Bible.
“I like to preach from the Gospels and be as close as possible to the direct teachings of Jesus,” White said. “Then we go through the end of Genesis with Jacob running away from his brother, wrestling with God and having his name changed to ‘Israel,’ which means, ‘You have striven with men and God.’
“That’s powerful because it describes where we all are.”
White is a 59-year-old native of Quemado, in west-central New Mexico, who attended Austin College at Sherman and graduated from New Mexico State in Las Cruces and Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, Calif. He served churches in La Mesa, N.M., El Paso and Quanah before arriving here last summer. He speaks fluent Spanish. He and his wife Teresa have two children and a grandchild.
“We need to relate to current events and at times to great tragedy like 9-11 or the shootings at churches, but it must be based on the Bible,” White said. “It goes all the way back to the early church with the Disciples Paul, Peter and Stephen.
“Teaching from sources other than the Bible to me is not preaching.”
White’s 11 a.m. Sunday services are attended by an average of 12-15 people.
Longtime First UMC member Guyma Neace said the pastor had been disheartened by the pandemic’s forcing him to cancel services, especially the Advent and Christmas services. But Neace said the White and his wife have nonetheless endeared themselves to the church.
“Steve is a good preacher,” she said. “He has a great way of reaching out to everyone. He started doing a children’s sermon and the children love it when he sits on the stage and tells them a story about Jesus.
“He has a really good heart. You can tell how much he cares about people. He is good about reading Scripture from the Old and New Testaments and teaching about Jesus’s parables.”
Kathy Jewell, who was a member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in El Paso when White was there, said he “is funny and witty and he has a passion to serve God.
“Steve’s evangelism and social concern are outstanding,” Jewell said. “He and Teresa painted walls and cleaned floors and they helped when the first wave of immigrants arrived here from Mexico in 2014.
“He lives the Bible and his actions are the message. His call is a beautiful call and I am so proud of him.”