Tom McDowell

Full name:

Thomas McDowell


What you prefer to be called:

Pastor Tom or Tom


Job Title:

Lead Pastor


When did you start at First UMC:

July 1, 2019


Some background info:

I was born and raised in Bluefield, WV. My father and mother were the most influential people in my life. They loved and provided for my four sisters (Linda, Susan, Kay, and Tina) and me in very challenging times. My father died when I was 17 years old after a 17 year battle with multiple lung diseases. My mother was a consummate pianist and accompanied/directed church choirs throughout her life. She was the strong faith figure for me.


I started ministry in 1982 and have served several churches in West Virginia and Yanceyville, North Carolina for 37 years. Each one holds a special place in my heart.


I graduated from Bluefield State College in 1987, The Divinity School of Duke University in 1991, and completed a Doctor of Ministry degree through United Theological Seminary in 2005. I also have certifications in Stephen Ministry, Disciple Bible Study, Conflict Transformation and Leadership Development.


I am excited to have the opportunity to return home to Mercer County West Virginia to do this thing I love to do, “Ministry!”


What are the main things you do at FUMC:

I am the lead shepherd, spiritual director, and vision-caster for First UMC, family and friends. My primary task is to extend the love of God through the extraordinary act of grace offered through Jesus. My passion lies in helping people grow in their faith, teaching, mentoring, crisis intervention, and pastoral care. People face many joys and frustrations in life and it is my heart’s desire to come alongside them in this journey called life to be a friend and companion. People need to know that they are unconditionally loved and valued as unique creations of a loving God. We are partners in reaching those who have yet to realize a relationship with Jesus and helping the ones who have stepped to the sidelines of faith to reconnect with the church in a meaningful way.


Who are the key volunteers that you work with on a regular basis:

My wife, Barbara, of 42 years and partner of ministry for 37 years and a host of faithful servants in this congregation.


Tell us about your family:

My wife Barbara and I were married August 27,1977. We have three children; Lacie, Adam, and Geoffrey and three amazing grandchildren; Chaynse, Alexis, and Isli. Grandchildren are the greatest!!


If someone wanted to start a conversation with you that would immediately get your interest, what would some of the topics be:

Sports, TV, Healthy Meal preparation, and music. Specifically – Duke Basketball, Pittsburg Steelers, and WVU Football.

TV:Life Below Zero, The Last Alaskans, Hawaii Five-O, Blue Bloods, and MacGyver

Movies: Actions Movies such as Fast and Furious, Spider Man, and Mission Impossible


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