Rev. John Cannon, Asbury United Methodist Church
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Being a premier sponsor as Acadian is largest nonprofit regional health system. Lafayette General Health is committed to restoring maintaining improving health in the communities. It serves for more information visit. Lafayette General Dot Com Reverend John. Cannon Senior Pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church is our guest today a native of Shreveport John Graduated from the University of Arkansas and Lsu law school while working as an assistant district attorney in east Baton Rouge parish. He began to discern a call to pastoral ministry that I experienced as a youth in the episcopal church following that call. John attended the Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City Missouri. Before joining Asbury as senior pastor John served as the District Superintendent for the seventy four churches of the Acadia district of the United Methodist. Church and I can attest that we're darn lucky to have John. Cannon is our pastor John Cannon welcome to discover Lafayette. Thank you what a pleasure. I've just enjoyed getting to know you the past few years we had met when you were District Superintendent. But having you as our lead pastor of the senior pastor has been such a joy and. I'd love for our community to know more about shoes. So if you can you tell us about your life and kind of gave the intro. What led you here well. What led me here You'd asked Earlier you did about this kind of call to ministry when what especially people find it interesting that I was a lawyer. I and then became a pastor and And I you know I think that was a that was a a it was a it was a part of a journey. That began a long time as you as you mentioned at the beginning even early on in my life a teenager. I had some kind of call to ministry. At least had this at least had this This poll to be a part of something bigger than myself and experienced that as a young person. The Episcopal Church but Medi- The assistant priest at the church. Where I grew up had some really wise advice for me as a young person I was talking about perhaps being called to ministry. He said So I think you probably may be called ministry but you know I really recommend you do something that I didn't do. And he said I went straight from from college to seminary and right into the church as an ordained person and and I think it would have really helped me to live life a little bit and to have some practical experience and not really took that advice and began to To pursue other things and e still with that called ministry sort of somewhere in the back of my mind or my heart Went to college major in English because I love writing. I love reading. I love literature and And Met Aaron. Who's my wife now and He was methodist and So that's how I married into the Methodist Church. She's Shreveport he's from all sport as well. We met through mutual friends after each begun college but but then as a young married person Go into law school to have a career and something I thought was interesting. Going into criminal law at the. Da's office were all things that were enjoyable and fun But the more active we became in the Methodist Church in Baton Rouge where we were members. First Methodist Downtown It's beautiful oh absolutely and beautiful people and beautiful active ministries Things going on there were really making difference The more active I became in in that community faith. The more those old feelings started to come back and I found myself really eager to spend more and more time helping people through the ministries of that search and And really began to come back to that place where I'd been earlier in my life. This is something I need to give my life to. You're in your thirties. So you're not even thirties yet. It was in my twenties riot really. Let's just if we went to seminary when I was twenty nine. So who is the day when you were working with the Doug? Mortimore does sound wonderful to work for Wonderful Character person How found to be a person of great integrity and I enjoyed working with him. I was practicing appellate law and so I was doing a lot of appeals cases After conviction and even some of those emergency appeals in the middle of trial so got to work with With dog or Judge Moore. It's more yeah And so there was a wonderful wonderful person to work for gave me some great opportunities as a young lawyer. So what was that meeting if I may ask? You went to him and just said I've made my decision. Yeah I remember that very well Anytime young lawyer Found him or herself in a judge Moore Office always kind of a little. Bit of a nerve wracking. That was a big figure and I remember being very nervous about telling him that I that I was about to go do something else and He was Very understanding and I think he was sad to see me go and it was It was I remember being very nervous. I love what I did too so I was nervous from that standpoint it up you can always go back. Well I felt like that but But also after a few years in ministry. I knew I wasn't going back and so I can did come to a point where I said this is really my life now and this is something that that I've given my my whole self to never went back after. Never never thought about going back. Lose your first church in seminary. I went to a seminarian in Kansas City Missouri. But as a as a seminarian in the United Methodist Church you can be appointed we have bishops who appointed us to our to sign searches. I could be appointed as a student pastor so I was appointed to a little A little search in Kansas in junction city Kansas. That was about two hours away from Kansas City. Where the seminary was and they had a little house that Aaron and live in and it was a little church called Church of our saviour in junction city. Kansas Kansas. It was a wonderful place and it was a great experience. It was a multi-ethnic hers primarily African American so not only was I knew in this this career in this new path for my life but I was having new cultural experiences that we're very enriching and it was a great experience. We lived in junction city and I drove the two hours twice a week to Kansas City. And that's where our first child was born and it was a great three years of my life at that that little charge in Johnson City Kansas about fifty members members in attendance. On the way what. Is it like for a church of that size to support itself? It's tough it is one of the things that was a real benefit to them was that As a student pastor I was part time they didn't have to pay a full pastor salary and And they had provided a house ahead a nice little house a few blocks from the surge. That's a nice perk. Oh it was a wonderful thing to have. It was a very simple and very modest. Modest House mostly retired military people in that congregation being right next to Fort Riley Kansas so it was a it was a fantastic experience. A great learning experience and a good transition for me to as well you know. I grew up Catholic. And my husband convince me you know going to one. Faith was really better when you have children instead of trying to cover all your bases. Just it's tough so we were members of northwest United Methodist Church here after we had our first child and it's much smaller than Ashbury and I remember you know as much as the Church would struggle at times for financial means people gave they. It was a different level of involvement. I don't know if you saw that I'm not trying to say one is better than the other but a big church. You've got a lot of people and different financial resources and a lot of committees and stuff but a small church. You know if people aren't going to church absolute where are you? You know it was like family. It is and I think I think small churches they do. Every person is absolutely important to to the Ministry of a small and I think that's that's a great gift of being a part of a small church and I find that now that I'm a senior pastor of a much larger congregation. You still have to. You still have to hold onto that. That smaller search feel For people to feel connected it really does need to feel like a smaller group of people so we at Asbury. For instance we have a lot of smaller groups and smaller communities to belong to to make sure that people Feel is important as they are. Because even in a large church every person's still important and everybody's ministry in every body's ability to give of their own gifts To serve in whatever way they feel God calling him to. It's just important in a small and large stars It's I think it can easier in a small person. I think large congregations really have to work to create that feeling in the of the reality that everybody's important right. Do you know what our count is? It has so we have about about five hundred fifty on Sunday in worst. Um that's over four worth services on Sunday morning and then once a Sunday we have five worship services on a Sunday. We have a new evening service in the young's Ville area so it's about five hundred fifty in worship on a Sunday so that means not not everybody unfortunately not everybody is in search at the same time so we have I would say We have Over a thousand anyone one month that are that are part of the as very community and active in the different worship experiences. Where is that service in? Young's hell would you touch on that at the ascension high school building in In Young's Ville on about right you have right by the roundabout battery right. There's the rouse's out there. Mcdonald's sees and it's five thirty on the second Sunday of the month. Mostly the second Sundays of the mind every week. Not every week. It's once a month and it's a. It's a different kind of concept it's dinner search model so everybody gathers for a meal and searches held around around tables as people. Enjoy a meal together Here's some really good laid back acoustic music. It's not a big. It's Nice not a big you know. There's not a big choir. It's not even a big Rock band kind of thing like Some of our other worship experiences at Asbury are. It's a singer songwriter. Type Music is really low. Key really relaxed As one of the people who's been coming to that says it's really chill so it's a good nice experience Instead of a traditional sermon from a pulpit. It's more of a conversation and includes some Some sharing around tables. It's a neat little family experiences. Well we've had a lot of people and that's brand new thing. We've been doing that for a few months. And the pastor that leads that as Alison Sykes who is one of our associate pastors at. Asbury leads that and does a fantastic job. She's good yeah. Everybody loves her casual very casual. Come as you are so Shorts and tee shirt bluejeans. What whatever just come and be a part of it. It's a real relaxed atmosphere. You know I never probably should mention this but I will about three weeks ago. This fellow wandered into church when we were leaving about nine thirty and he was not dressed like he was. He may have been homeless. I don't know but he walked in and looked embarrassed and he said May I come in. Certainly you know. But he I think it was a little intimidating sometimes because the formal church structure but I was so glad that he did find his way in. You know I think that's one of the things that's good about our church and probably just about any church is that it's it's not anyone person's home it's God's how it is and I think and I think that's I think somewhat that's the feel of Lafayette and probably most churches in Lafayette. Lafayette is a little more casually dressed. Community were a little more relaxed than most other communities. I've lived in so I would think that just about any community of faith on a Sunday morning. It you probably find you find a few who are still in their coat and tie. That's ask more and more most people and their blue jeans and a and a very relaxed kind of thing and so I think it's true for Asbury I'm sure just for other searches to where people can just come in and feel they're gonna find someone dress to them and and by the time the worst service stars. No one really cares what everybody that. That's kind of gone on everybody's mind anyway. John and I have a standing date after eight thirty church. I don't know if you know this but we go to Costco. We see Jason. The good us get there before they open. We're all dressed up and he goes. How do they all know who we are? How do they remember us? I think we're might be the only people that show up dressed up. We form community wherever we go right even if it's at Costco at the same at the same time same. Lc Jason you know the people on the greeters on the way out rice. Yeah it's not because we're you know it's the to be really deep about an embrace is human need for community. Yeah and anytime can just regular where we are and see the same people. We've we form bonds. I think it's a part of who we are as sort of social beings right. Well I WANNA get in a few things that I've enjoyed and getting to know you. And one of the surprises I had was that I think we're mutual fans of Richard Rohr. Hr Richard Rohr and we read a conference. Were a two lane and Jonah gone a couple of years ago when you were there with your family and extended family and I hear some of his deeper collective thoughts in some of your sermons would you touch on that Maybe describe his writings and his so. I wish I could say a great expert. On Richard Roar I'm not but his writings and the writings of other riders that have Have made an impact on me. I find more and more kind of coming to the fore amount thinking Ramon thought I think one of the things I appreciate about Richard. Rohr's this This sense of The sense of God's presence Being really all around us and and being able to To really access that presence in a real loving and grace filled way I think in a Lotta ways Richard Roar Echoes. What I think is For me most salient and most most powerful about the the methodist view of faith and living and that is that ultimately God is a god of grace and love and that Beginning at that point that letting that place become the beginning point of of any thinking about God Really sets the tone for For how we can even live our lives. One of the things that Richard War specifically talks about his idea of the trinity being a community in a communion of persons That that we're asked to reflect in our own loving relationships and And and that being absolutely essential to the nature of who God is You know Being a Christian my understanding of who God is is centered on who? Jesus is and what Jesus revealed about God's nature and I think that one of the things that That Richard Rohr and his writings ask us to do is to really make sure that any time. We're reflecting on God that we're thinking about who God is as revealed in the love of Jesus Christ as revealed in the love that we know In father son and spirit this thing that we call the Holy Trinity and if that's are beginning point of who God is then that's the all of our thinking about God about what God's will is it all flows from that grace and now law that just free and open spirit of God's love that pours out in our hearts and ultimately that we're to reflect in our own lives the more we become like Christ in our own spiritual journeys. Which is I think. The aim of the spiritual journey anyway The more we become like God in law that's In methodist terminology that's what it means to be perfected and love to become light God in God's love and And there's a lot people say about religion these days a lot that turns people off about religion. There's a lot that turns me off about what people say about religion I'm a simple person and so for me. It comes down simply to who I know. God is in Christ and that is someone who is full of loving kindness and compassion and grace toward others and that is a lot of what river talks about and other writers like him that have made a big impact on my thinking right. I used to find it confusing when you think about the trinity. Because how can they be one three but in his writings he drills down deeper? And what really changed. My way of looking at things is that through. His writings had opened my heart. Were all one talks about that. It's not US versus them and some of his terminology. It's not what people here all the time but you realize that it's not about winning because that means somebody loses it's not about being the best or are being last or I. It's just about being absolute and seeing that each of us has god. God created each of us but his writings were so interesting. Because he'll he'll talk about science talk about different things in life that we experience. And that's what you bring to your sermons. You bring. Yeah things that. Get us to think you know. Am I just going to church and hearing about this once a week? Or maybe just reading. If I'm not in church are am I living in my living the life that I was created for right and it kind of makes things more fun? Thanks to me I my my aim and ministries to help people grow live and share the love of Christ. And that's a pretty simple thing to me not simple to do because I think it takes a lot of a lot of practice and a lot of A lot of prayer A lot of How learning how to relate to people in a way that isn't about winning or losing her about being better than or my God is bigger than you're GONNA put my my rules. Are the rules that it's really you know. Ultimately Jesus wasn't about the rules he was about one particular commandment and that was love. God with all your Heart Muscle strength and love your love your neighbors yourself. And there's a lot of grace in how we get there and a lot of forgiveness and getting things wrong but ultimately it's really just about how love so you think Jesus might have been an independent. I would hope so. Yeah more so more so than even John. I'd like to take a break if we may I want to introduce a new short segment that I'm adding to our podcast. And it's going to be called discover Lafayette's passed over the past two and a half years of doing the podcast and you can find them all online at discover Lafayette Dot net. I've really been able to piece together. Some interesting tidbits about Lafayette's history that I'd like to share so people enjoy this new edition so I'd like to thank new premier sponsor rally marketing for sponsoring this discover Lafayette Pass moments rally. Marketing is a full service digital marketing agency and they can help you with marketing automation content development search engine optimization strategy. Even just show you how to use social media to turn a moneymaker for your business out of the social media. So they're there to help you navigate the maze of all the latest ways to market online. Effectively you can visit rally marking Dot Com to learn more about them and now the moment and this is about our church John. Did you know that Asbury United Methodist Church is located on Johnston Street next door to Lafond is restaurant and has been in that location since December eleventh nineteen fifty five to establish if there is interest in a new church? Reverend Brenton and I think that might have been ray Ray Brandt Ray Brandt. What was his name? I don't remember the follow. He was the district superintendent. Yeah they held a meeting at Morgan. Halls appliance store on. May First Nineteen fifty five at the invitation of Reverend Brenton thirty seven people responded and the Asbury Methodist Church was formed. The land was purchased for thirteen thousand dollars in nineteen fifty five which is a little bit over one hundred twenty five thousand dollars in today's value so the first pastored. Asbury was Reverend Howard Hudson and they held services for six months at the concessions building of the twin drive in theater. The first service on June Fifth Nineteen fifty-five had sixty five adults and children in attendance very soon thereafter the seventy five member congregation. That point decided to build a church with forty seven thousand dollars borrowed and ten thousand dollars from the one thousand club. Groundbreaking was held on August fourteenth and on December eleventh the same year nineteen fifty five. They held services in the new building. And I don't think the congregations ever look back so I wanted to share this moment of Discovery Lafayette's passed so. Let's get back to you. I want to hear some more about what's going on in the Methodist Church. Some people that listened to this podcast probably keep up with national and international news about the latest developments with the United Methodist Church. And I think this may there's going to be a vote on whether churches want to be traditional Or Open for inclusion describing this right. That's okay so the United Methodist Church is a is a global domination Not just limited with the United States but to really sprawls the whole whole world and One of the things that That's been an issue that Churches are not just United Methodist Churches. But all over the world had been grappling with is about how to include lgbtq plus folks and and so Like many churches the United Methodist Church has wrestled with that And like many churches. There have been great differences of opinion on that and so in. May the United Methodist Church meets for. Its every four years. We meet as a global denomination Representatives from each of the areas of the United Methodist Church to vote on different matters and one of the votes is on whether will allow for a significant number of people who wished to to break off from the United Methodist Church. Denomination informed their own denomination Because over the years The the Turk in the United States has become more and more open to full inclusion of lgbtq folks and allow merits allow for allow clergy perform same gender marriages. And and. So that's caused a great deal of Of Anxiety among a lot of folks who for whom that's not a good choice So there have been a There've been a number of people who said you know we? We would rather have our own more traditional denomination And kind of break away from the United Methodist Church itself. And so that's what that vote in May is all about on whether we'll As a denomination will allow for that right now. A United Methodist Church. Just can't stop. Being the United Methodist Church is part of our denominational agreement and to follow the rules. And all the rules and you have to You have to stay United Methodist but But we're going to vote on whether to allow Churches to break away and to form perhaps a new denomination that is more traditionalist in its nature and perhaps will retain some of those older Rules that prohibit any kind of same gender marriages so even within our community. Let's say the Katy on a district could do various. Churches do their thing that they should become traditional. They can't It's a it's a Kinda complicated Process What would probably happen? is that This there are several proposals. That are before the This meeting that will be held at this This year will be held in Minneapolis. Minnesota But there several proposals for how that can happen in one of the one of the proposals is that that searches Who WANT TO Want to break away and join the more traditional nomination would be able to do so so if that passes then some churches would be able to do that if they feel strongly about that The United Methodist Church That would remain. Would Hopefully still continue to be searched it really embraces a lot of different viewpoints One of the hallmarks of methodism Especially in the United Methodist denomination has been. It's a big. It's been a big tent. It's been It's been a wonderful Group of People. Who are maybe don't always believe the same things about every particular social issue and to some extent we've liked that we've liked it that we could be a church where very different people could worship together and seat to follow the love of Christ With one another even Sharing differences of opinion So Some folks may be aren't as happy about that and would prefer to be an denomination where where some of those Hot Button social issues or sort of decided for them or one one particular way but the United Methodist Church will It's at least my hope. that It will continue to be a place that that gathers people have a lot of different perspectives Who can find commonality in the grace and the love of Jesus Christ rather than feeling like they have to split off and just be with people who think the same way changes tough. You know it is. It is to me when I look at the declining numbers over the years not just attendance at Church but civic engagement and different things. There's more and more of a disconnect and having a church family you know for things way beyond marriages and oh absolutely enrolls is is really a way to stay connected to feel part of a bigger family and one of the things I think so. Wonderful blessing about Asbury Particularly is that as really does draw a lot of different people who have you know from different backgrounds and different In different places different parts of the city different economic abilities in different Social places and also a lot of lgbtq folks I love coming as part of the ministries and find that it's enriching place to be right and to worship God with one another and and not to feel like you have to fight the same old battles that you would anywhere else and so so it's been a wonderful place that's gathered people of great variety in one fellowship. And that's a special thing so I think in a way we model Asbury I hope anyway. We model at Asbury. What it means for people who may not necessarily see eye to eye on everything but who can be in one family together. 'cause really that's what we're trying to be. Even a large church like Asbury is to be a family together and know that. Not Everybody at the Thanksgiving table always sees to. They never did but at the end of the day. We're we're GONNA love one another and we're going to support one another and we're gonNA have each other's backs and and the same goes for our LGBTQ members and their families who are find. Asbury to be a place to be at home. Well speaking of families we joined the Church back in two thousand two. We switched because we had moved to town. You know this was. We were country people and we moved to town. But the youth group was such an appealing the children's ministries and in the youth group was such an important aspect of what we wanted for our own. Two daughters you've got four children and they are very involved in the choir and everything but you WanNa touch maybe on our our youth group maybe in particular. I know they trip coming up to Atlanta this summer. So the youth in the children's ministries continue. They have been for years. Been the just the premier ministries of Asbury that have gathered Gathered people and help people belong and help people get connected to the love of Christ. Some really special ways and the group does that as well. The youth group is a very diverse group of people and diverse group of kids who Who simply come together. One to have a great time and they do but to really put their faith into action and so one of the things they do every year that you just mentioned is year they go and do a big mission trip and that mission trip usually consists as it does this year of serving particularly serving the poor in some place of special needs so this year they're going to Atlanta to serve in inner city Atlanta in in ministries and with nonprofit organizations all over the city simply to help people in need so not only is it Is it a great group of about eighty people who are going to go on this trip and just serve in Atlanta but it's also hopefully teaching these kids what it means to live a life of service and love for people and to really put their faith into action? It's always a special thing and the kids come back with great stories having a really grown in their faith a lot. I know I'm not gonNA name names but some kids have probably been tell you have to do this? You know maybe some we know. And they've ended up going on the mission trip. And just the bonding lifelong. My older daughter and Kelly to my youngest. I remember Taylor you know. She bonded so closely with her youth group when she started I think it was starting in ninth grade. When they took the the first trip she going on and they're still best friends. Cassie that we had on the podcast. That's now in you know she's out of New York. Cassie doyle probably know the doyle's big time now screenwriter but they became best friends through the youth group. And there's so many wonderful ties that we have friends from church so not only do they bond but this that's an experience that people care into the rest of their lives Those kinds of experiences of of fellowship in Bonding and community and the fellowship Experienced in an atmosphere of serving people it really creates lasting memories that really that really are formative for lifetime well speaking of Lasting Memories. I want to segue into this I had to use your my memory. I told you that I wanted you to speak about some of the anecdotes that you will start off your sermons with and for people. That don't know John Cannon each sermon I have to tell you I just enjoy each one. They stand on their own but one week in particular you were talking about Kevin Baugh or bow that has his own micro nation the Republic of Malaysia Malaysia and he actually lives in Nevada but he has his own militia zone space station. Space Program used. He's got his own postal service and he's self sufficient right. He's a dictator or benevolent dictator. Netherland dictator yeah. But would you kind of where? Where do you get your ideas for your stories? And for people that don't know about this. You can google micro nations or Mo L. A. Ssi Creek Story. I first of all. I think I've found that the I enjoy telling stories and I think I found that people enjoy hearing sermons that are essentially a story and so I try to always begin or at least somewhere in the in. The sermon is some story. What was his currency that he used that was. Remember cookie dough ally of Milosevic which was a freezer. We all we all like that kind of cockney. That's great I wouldn't maybe that's the solution. Our economic right. Yeah cookie dough I would. I think I would eat all mine though. I always try to tell a story and I think people remember stories. I am a collector stories in the old school collector stories. I have a Manila folder. And when I find when I come across his story Follow a few things on twitter. Where you know new sites on twitter and in fund Little little those little odd stories that pop up every now and then and and what I do is I sit in the morning. Coming in reading the news or coming across stories Email myself the story I get to the office and a printed out and put it in a folder and And then as I'm thinking about a sermon as I'm thinking about a particular scripture that I'm preaching on I'll flip through that folder and see what you know. See what comes up in? The folder has stories that go back. You know that I collected maybe a few years ago and Timeless time hopefully. They're a little humorous. Because I think it helps to to touch on a little humor in a story kind of helps us relax and helps us Open up our heart to something but ultimately the stories are meant to to to sort of convey lesson and I hope. I hope it's a little like what Jesus did. Jesus rarely just came out and said here's what I'm trying to teach. He told stories and I think it was the case that sometimes people remembered the stories more than the teaching but the the stories kind of carry the teaching and I think that For me telling a story is a way of saying Saying here's a message in here and the message is Is something that is going to relate to this particular passage of scripture and hopefully it will be a message that you're remember as you go through your next week and through your life something that really touches and sometimes people will say to me. Remember the store you tell him not certain. I remember exactly what you said about well. It's probably OK that you remember the story and that you think I hope so and I think ultimately I'm not standing up there trying to tell people now believe this and here's the message and and take that home. I really hope I'm trying to help. People think and help people really pray about About what's going on in their life and in their spirit where they might bring the the love of Christ to bear in some way and ultimately stories. Carry that message better than than some kind of die tactic too you. Can you make that argument for dive? Yeah so I think so. And and you know Steven to circle back to the lawyer thing. I think of also realized now what I didn't realize as a young lawyer is that probably the best lawyers are storytellers. And they certainly are in front of juries and even in the in the The law that are practicing appellate law ultimately. I was trying to tell a story to a panel of judges and the best stories are the ones that that make you think and that That bring you to a new place and so maybe the best arguments are are really simply stories. I think that's what Jesus was trying to capture in the way he the way he taught right. We're inland right now. this is march third. Twenty twenty and If you can touch maybe on the importance of this season you know going back to the Wilderness as you talked about last week the forty days. The the need for quiet absolutely so the the pattern for lent and methodist Recognized the season of lent like a lot of Denominations do as a time of preparation for the celebration of Easter at time of deeper prayer drawing closer to God. And it's not that we have to do something during lent that we're not doing the rest of the year but it lent sort of the teacher for what we should be doing the rest of the year and is taking some time to Live more simply. Which is I think. What fasting most often is to learn to live a little more simply and reliance on God's Love and grace but also to adopt new habits and new practices that draws closer to God new ways of prayer or renewed ways of prayer. So it's this forty day time that sort of patterned after the forty day experience of Jesus in the Wilderness and the Wilderness in scripture is so often an image for The Times of learning deep lessons of drawing closer to God. Certainly Jesus did that. And the temptation story His time in the Wilderness. The people have The Hebrew people and they're wandering through the wilderness. For forty years Was a time of learning so So this is the time of learning for us so the forty days leading up to Easter not including Sundays which are always little of but But it's time for us to pay closer attention to our spirit. A little more intentional time to prayer into fasting and really not not. I wouldn't even say not out of obligation but out of a great desire to live a little more simply a little more closely to God. Hopefully it's a joyful time more than anything and not a dour depressing time but a joyful time I remember one time with the youth group again. there was a challenge too fast and so they were allowing the kids to have juicing crackers or something but John I just fasted anyone for that long. It was two days like it wasn't maybe like a day and a half or days and I remember at the end of it because I'd never really seriously fasted when it was time to eat my appreciation of everything I had was so clear And I didn't even necessarily want to take the first bite at at first because I thought I I can have anything I want to eat anytime. And so many people don't have that and I think it's going back to these simple ways. The Jesus reminded us of you know that that's it. It opens up your heart. Well I think fasting is a way to to grow gratitude. And that's just what you said and and it's gratitude that That I think fasting teaches us. But we don't have too fast to do that so to take the time to stop and be grateful for what we have in front of us to be grateful for the bite of food. That may be you. Prepare for yourself or a loved one's prepared for you or To be a is in extends into all Your Life. How can you be grateful for just the next moment you have to live a moment that you have to do something wonderful for somebody and so? I think that maybe ultimately lent is about living in gratitude gratitude for the simple things And that's really happiness wrong. We're always looking for now. I know do you have a favorite season of the year Oh absolutely Advent and Christmas or my absolute favorite rallying. Yes the music. Easter is my favorite. Is that ring time? Yeah I guess. It's new life springtime but enjoy them. All I'm a winter Seoul the dark weather cold and grey That's right down my alley. Yeah my favorite day of the year typically March first. Because it's like all right. It's about to unfold flowers. Greenery that every season is worth well. They're all covering they're all great and it's pretty warm here all the time anyway which we're here with Jason Sikora of Raider and Jason. Thank you for taking our show and you have written some notes. I do have some twelve four questions. And they're all tall very similar so going back first of all. Thanks for being here. Thank he's fascinating. You mentioned that you were giving advice to go do something else with the ministry. What advice would you give somebody else? If they wanted to get the ministry. Oh I would say the same thing If especially for a young person do something for a little bit Some life experience on get to know people I get to know the world Lived some live in some way that that helps you Immerse yourself in a community of people in in a practice I think ultimately in ministry. You're not you're not sitting in an ivory tower You know waiting for people to come for spiritual advice you're you're with people and to relate to people as a real important thing. I'd also say B B You know take your time. It's a going into ministry at least Methodist Minister. You Never GonNa make a Lotta Money. You're never going to. You're always going to have just enough to get by It's a lie. It's a long hours and hard work. it sometimes Emotionally incredibly draining. It can be ministry can be your with people in their wonderful celebrations and at weddings also with people at the end of life and in some funerals that are can be joyful celebrations of life but some funerals. That can be really difficult. You're in hospital rooms with people at their lowest moments You don't always see people at their best So I think going into ministry. You really ought to your stop and think it's not always a lot of fun But it's but but it's always fulfilling so be careful. Certainly that's a great answer a lot prey on. What's something that surprised you or something people would know about what you do? Oh what surprises people. Well it's amazing that surprises a lot of young people that I that I work on days other than Sunday mornings so I don't just show up by Sunday morning. No I work long hours with a lot of people and do great work and I think one of the things that that I really love for people to know that they're not always aware of is an how many people it takes to To have such a wonderfully exciting and wonderfully busy church. I mean it it's not just The clergy on staff and their few clergy on staff at Asbury. It's not just the lay people on staff and there. We have a lot of people who work there full time. But it's all the all the volunteers all the members who who give their guests at really. What's really what makes a church an exciting place to be. And it's all the people who are doing all the work and ultimately ultimately I think the ideas I need to put myself out of a job and and by that may not be the person doing the ministry what I hope to do is empower and energize people to do the ministry to serve God with whatever gifts they have what other talents they have and and I think that's surprising to a lot of people. Maybe who aren't as Who aren't as connected to a church community. Is that really a having a Wonderful Church? Really absolutely depends on the people who make up the chargers Pitching in and doing their wonderful part by giving of who who they are. Excellent and you kind of answered my last two questions in that. So I'm just GONNA combine them. Okay what's a day in the life of Reverend John Cannon and I asked that question because how many different hats you wear. Oh Gosh yes so a day in the life while I get up pretty early. I exercise almost every day or maybe not almost every day. I want to almost every day. I'd do exercise and have four kids that takes a lot of time and energy and that's wonderful and a wonderful loving wife and so we have a family life outside of what goes on at search You know being a senior pastor of a fairly large Turkey do wear a lot of hats. It's not just I would love to have always need more time to do everything in some ways you're the CEO of a small business We have a day school. We have a children's ministry. We have a youth ministry. We have an older adult ministry fortunate to have wonderful people who are in charge of those things. But I have to pay attention to what's going on the finances of a church. You are always super important to make sure that everything is going smoothly and people know that the money they're giving is every damn is being spent in a way that That they can be proud of. And so we're really that's a real important. Part of the job is doing the financial. We have wonderful. Who Do the financial work? But I need to make sure it's going going well So I I'd love to spend all day working on a Sarma but I can But there's that part too and leading worship and most people just see me leading worship on a Sunday morning But there's a lot there's A. There's a lot that goes into it. They're not a lot of days off So have to be real intentional about taking that time off and when I am trying to listen to good rock music and Hang out with the kids and I love watching Saint Louis Cardinals Baseball. So that's kind of a family thing and I'd bet my wife and my daughter Mary. Claire would be upset if I didn't also say Boston. Red Sox Boston Red Sox fans and I've always wondered on Sunday Mornings Jason. We have eight thirty nine. Forty five and eleven in so typically. Some of them may run over the John. They proceed and then he greets people as we exit. The sanctuary serve body wants to shake his hand on the worse. Get in a word about something. He's got to get back up. Just a quick turnaround. Like how in the world do you do this? Do you not drink water in the morning like you know there is. There is no brainer the logistics that I used to have about five minutes between services. Rockin gather myself and get things back to get back. Get back into saddle US right but I always wonder how you have to be kind to become easy to be wonderful congregation. It's easy to be easy to be kind with that. Good kind car guessing so well John Again. Thank you for being here. Thanks a lot of fun Jan. Thank you yeah. I mean. I knew you'd enjoy does Jason. I enjoy but seems like everyone. I enjoy for different reasons And and this has been awesome so thanks. It's wonderful to be able to shine the light on you senior pastor John Cannon and you've taught me a lot in the time you've been not only serving as our preacher but also when you were district superintendent. We didn't really get into that. But you had a big job overseeing all seventy four churches in our district which I guess had its own challenges and we're just so lucky that we were able to to have lawsuits. I feel fortunate to be. Yeah San Courage people listening to this. If they're looking for a church home as buries great place to check out and you can just go with facebook page and a website he just Google Ashbury. Umc in it'll come up. So I wanNA take a moment to thank raider and Jason Sikora for producing discover Lafayette ads. You can listen to this interview. All of our interviews are undiscovered Lafayette Dot net. We're also very very grateful for the support of not only Iberia Bank but also Lafayette General Health for keeping this podcast. Going with her generous sponsorships. Thank you all for listening. Please subscribe if you haven't and I hope you hang around. Listen to more of these interviews on discover Lafayette's thank you.