Introducing Staff Member Gene Shelton, Adult Ministry Pastor
Greetings GFC! I am so grateful for the ministry, leadership, and incredible people we are discovering at Grace and am looking forward to introducing myself to each of you. What an honor to serve as your Adult Ministry Pastor. I appreciate this opportunity to share a little about my family and our story.
The best and most important thing I can tell you about myself is that I have been married to Melanie for almost 27 years; she is my sweetheart, girlfriend, confidante, and the mother of our three sons. Our kids and grandkids are the joy of our lives. Quentin (25) is married to Ivana, they live in Chattanooga and have two kids, Declan (2) and Ivy (1). (Yes, Irish twins.) Lansing (22) is a Junior at ETSU studying Kinesiology, and Kiser (19) is second year Musical Theater on campus at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Melanie and I moved to Kingsport in December 2020 from Monroe, North Carolina, looking for our next chapter in life and ministry. It was very soon after that I found an advertisement from GFC at churchstaffing.com searching for a pastor to serve in Adult Ministry. It was the following Sunday that we visited GFC and quickly fell in love with you all and what God is doing at Grace and the Tri-Cities area. Thankfully, after a very meticulous and thoughtful hiring process, GFC leadership felt we were a good fit and here we are.
A life of learning to serve people began for me over 30 years ago at Central Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is the church where Melanie and I were married, raised our three boys, and began to understand the value and importance of community. I began my ministry studying for ordination while working in the maintenance department at Central. Upon completing ordination, I served Central in the areas of singles, pastoral care, outreach, administration, and planted a satellite church. It was an honor to serve one church under the leadership and care of one pastor for 25 years.
It was seven years ago I knew it was time to leave the safety and security of our Central Church family and put to use what I had learned to serve in some smaller struggling churches. (Yes, it was difficult leaving people we loved, a good salary, and job security, but sometimes growing up involves leaving and letting go. Glad to share more in person if interested.) Over that time, I have been able to serve under three younger pastors to support their vision and mission in building the Kingdom of God. We also planted a church in Monroe, North Carolina, which taught us a lot about faith, patience, and the faithfulness of our God.
Other than serving God, my wife, and family, serving His church is the passion of my life. Watching people connect through community relationships brings me the greatest pleasure. God’s greatest desire is connection and we find beautiful relationship in Him and then with each other. The gift and value of connecting is necessary and powerful for Christian maturity and usefulness. Looking forward to our connection very soon.
The Lord willing and through His grace, I commit to GFC that I will serve faithfully and well. Melanie and I are very happy to join the GFC family.
Adult Ministry Pastor
*Find Gene and Melanie on a Sunday morning to say hello (he is SUCH a people person!) or shoot him an email to welcome them.