Douglas DeCelle Link to First Presbyterian Church Home Page
Since 2004 Doug has been the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in LaGrange, Georgia. He also works with Troup Cares, a community organization working to provide healthcare to the working uninsured in Troup county; DASH, a community renewal organization, and Save Our Children, an organization working to decrease youth violence.
Doug was raised in Southern California. He was sent to Sunday School at the Northridge Presbyterian Church in Granada Hills, California. His family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio when Doug was 17. Following a conversion experience during a family vacation in Florida that year, Doug received baptism and united with the Wyoming Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati. At the College of Wooster, Doug studied Philosophy and pursued his interest in the Christian faith, feeling a call to the ministry throughout his college years. At Wooster, he also met his future wife, Jennifer. Doug and Jenny began dating toward the end of their senior years and married about a year and a half into Doug’s seminary studies at Princeton. Jenny and Doug have now been married for 27 years and are the parents of two daughters, Kim and Kristen. Doug’s hobbies include home fix-up, computers and reading. He plays the guitar and has been in several bluegrass bands playing the 5-string banjo. For fitness, he bicycles, fitness walks, and swims.
At the end of his senior year in college, Doug felt a clear sense of being guided to seminary and parish ministry. Curiously, he entered seminary having never been much of a church attendee. He didn’t know hymns or what pastors did. But within three weeks of entering Princeton Seminary, Doug was employed by a church and essentially launched into his calling to be a minister.
After receiving his M.Div. Doug served for 7 years as pastor of two churches in Millerstown, Pennsylvania. In 1984 Doug accepted a call to Central Presbyterian in Dayton. During his 19 years at Central, the Church has grown in faith, mission, and responsibility for its presence in the community. Doug completed his D.Min. at Louisville Theological Seminary in 1995.
What Doug says about ministry...
♦ “Ministry isn’t a technique. It’s being present. It’s letting God’s power flow through me. It’s knowing what I believe and who I am…With such character qualities in place skills such as counseling, conducting worship, or supervising staff have more chance of bearing fruit. This principle applies also to the congregation. I see my current congregation as a group patient and wise people who are ready to work towards healthy relationships, personal maturity, rich worship, study, and deepening discipleship. With inner health will naturally come growth – in numbers, mission, and programming.”
♦ “At the very heart of my ministry…is discipleship…companionship with Christ. .. My core message is that discipleship constitutes the great opportunity to live a life worth living.”
♦ “My best moments are in the pulpit, classroom, and in a variety of personal conversations... Teaching, preaching, and pastoral care have long served the church and I am convinced that they will continue to do so.”
♦ “I see my entrance to ministry as unconventional and I believe that this fact continues to give me a
fresh perspective on the Church and Christian life.”
♦ “To be responsible to study, counsel with people in life’s most challenging moments, be present
with grieving families, and deeply embedded in a faith community is an enormous privilege. I don’t believe that anyone can do this work without looking deeply at him or herself. There is something about ministry that demands constant movement towards maturity and wholeness. Because personal development is so much a part of this work, my entire quarter century of service has been for me, a true personal journey. Someone wisely said that preaching isn’t the preparation of a sermon and the delivery of that. Preaching is the preparation of the preacher and the delivery of that. I’d extend this idea to all of
♦ “My sense...is that God is calling me to make available to him the rich preparation that has come to me so far.
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