Dr. Ellis Takes Over at The Village Chapel
The congregation of The Village Chapel honored Dr. Larry H. Ellis as the new senior pastor of The Village Chapel in Pinehurst during a reception following the three morning worship services on Sunday, Feb. 3.
Associate pastor since 2001, Ellis assumed his new position following the retirement of Dr. Glenn Miller in January.
Since coming to the Chapel, Ellis has been pleased as the ministry of The Village Chapel has expanded in its complexity and scope.
Two Sunday services grew to three; Wednesday evening and Monday evening outreach ministries were established. A director of youth and children's ministries was hired, a full health ministry began, and a number of other activities for young and old mushroomed into existence.
While new programs continue to be introduced, one that is especially important to Ellis as he begins his tenure as senior pastor is The Truth Project, a 12-part DVD presentation/discussion series that instructs Christians in the basic tenets of the faith in a comprehensive, methodical manner.
Ellis says there has been a wealth of rich intellectual tradition within the Church that has vigorously answered questions posed by those without faith across the centuries. However, he adds it is important to re-learn them once more because the church has mistakenly believed we live in a Christian culture and therefore has failed to educate its members in the philosophical presuppositions that undergird foundational truths.
"In reality, we no longer live in a Christian culture, and an increasingly hostile secular culture is directly challenging many basic Christian beliefs," he says. "It is imperative that Christians define and defend their worldview."
The Truth Project is designed to address this lack of basic knowledge, according to Ellis, who describes the series as "provocative and intellectually challenging." It asks those who participate in it to re-examine their philosophical presuppositions and recommit to their faith. Participants also find themselves equipped with the tools to bear an effective witness to their children, family and friends.
"I wish Christians did have a firm grasp of a Biblical world- view but the truth is that today we spend our time watching TV, playing or watching sports, and socializing without making sure we take time to study just what the Bible says," says Ellis. "Consequently, many people are intimidated by the Bible and are almost afraid to engage in studying it. But as with anything else, were we to give time and attention to God's word we would soon discover its power, wisdom, and transforming grace."
The Village Chapel is currently offering the series in Sunday School classes and home fellowship groups and has scheduled another series for the Care Cottage (former Bargain Box building) in late March and will schedule more home fellowships next fall.
The Pastor's Role
Ellis shared firm convictions about his view of the role of a pastor. Without hesitancy, he says a pastor's primary responsibility is to be faithful to proclaim the word of God from Scripture; to represent the love and care of the Lord to those experiencing difficulty or suffering; and to be a vessel of the Holy Spirit to motivate his flock to engage in a serious quest for the life of faith. The latter, he says, is facilitated by exercising spiritual disciplines like worship, prayer, study, stewardship, and serving those in need, through which God transforms the life of his people.
"I want Christians to gently and appropriately identify with Christ in all we say and do," he says. "Jesus never gave us permission to have a private faith, and as we begin to show our colors, we find it necessary to enlarge our understanding of our faith. To do this, there is a need for Christians to give time and attention to God's word. Life is challenging, and everyone must face disappointment, illness and finally the death of our mortal bodies. But in the midst of these crises, God speaks, calls us to faith, strengthens us to endure, and grants eternal life, joy and courage to his own."
Call to The Village Chapel
Ellis was called as associate pastor in 2001 after serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Blytheville, Ark.
"My wife, Jan, and I came to The Village Chapel with the conviction that God was calling us to pour out our lives in the service of his people here," he says. "We have witnessed an abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit, an increasingly committed community of faith, and a loving fellowship that continues to bless and amaze us.
"I am grateful and excited to be the senior minister. God is faithful, and we are confident that the years ahead will witness continued advance of the Kingdom of God as our congregation continues to grow in grace and to use the amazing gifts and talents he has given each one of them."
A retired Navy Command Chaplain, Ellis held the position of The Chaplain, United States Marine Corps, a position in which he was responsible for the executive oversight of 275 active duty chaplains and 163 Reserve chaplains and their staffs as they provided chaplaincy ministry to Marines and their families, worldwide.
His service career also included the role of Force Chaplain for the Fleet Marine Forces Pacific, giving him responsibility for all Marine Chaplaincy services in the Pacific Basin and Western United States, and support of Marine Chaplaincy services during Desert Shield and Desert Storm during the liberation of Kuwait.
As Command Chaplain, Head of Staff, on the USS John F. Kennedy, he served the 5,000 men on the aircraft carrier and for three years he was senior Protestant Chaplain of the U.S. Naval Academy.
Since coming to Pinehurst, Ellis has also served in various community organizations, including FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital as chaplain associate; member of the Pastoral Care Advisory Committee for FirstHealth; member of the board of directors of the Community Health Board, FirstHealth; chairman of the Health Services Committee; and member of the board of directors of both the Sandhills Coalition of Human Care and Moore Housing Partnership.
Ellis and his wife have four children, all of whom are married, and 15 grandchildren, with a 16th expected in April.
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