Andy is a 7th generation Methodist pastor.
And this is the genealogy of Andy the pastor, son of Jim the pastor.
Marion Francis Monk, in the early 1800s, was the first pastor in the family line.
Marion’s son was Simeon and Simeon’s son was Alonzo.
Alonzo had a daughter, Era, who married Gideon Bryan, who pastored in Dallas, Texas.
Gideon’s son was Alonzo, who was a bishop who moved to Missouri from Texas and went by the name Monk. Monk is Andy’s grandfather, and Monk’s son is Jim.
“I resisted becoming a pastor for a while. I didn’t want to just go into the ‘family business.’ My first master’s degree is in music and I did that for five years. That’s where I learned the most important thing — God’s call is unique on each individual. Don’t try to compare what God wants you to be doing to what someone else is doing. God’s calling you to do something unique. I’m grateful for those years to discern that uniqueness of my call.”
For the last 11 years, Andy has served at Campbell United Methodist Church on the south side of Springfield. He moved to Springfield after serving a smaller congregation in North Kansas City upon graduating with his Masters of Divinity from St. Paul School of Theology.
“I was nervous about moving to Springfield and the responsibilities of a larger congregation. My mom said, ‘You just be the best Brad Bryan you know how to be.’ That’s my brother’s name. Of course, she caught herself right away.”
I can relate to Andy’s mom; I know all too well the feeling of saying one child’s name and meaning the other. I don’t think I’ve thrown in the dog’s name or the cat’s name, yet.
Side note: Andy’s brother is also a pastor in Columbia, Missouri.
Thanks to his time in KC during formative years, Andy is a passionate Royals fan. His favorite player is Frank White — “I like his on-the-field attitude” — and he uses the boys in blue as sermon illustrations. Much to his dismay, he has observed that they seemed to play worse in weeks following when he preaches about them.
“Same thing with the football team. The only time I used them as an illustration this year, they lost.”
I implored him not to speak of Patrick Mahomes or any of his teammates who share parking lot space with the Royals.
Behind his church, there is a softball field. I stood near home plate and Andy stood near third base, keeping the sun to our side so neither of us would be blinded. He pitched for his church’s softball team this past summer, so his last game of catch was relatively recent.
“We didn’t do too well, but still had a lot of fun.”
After years in the ministry, Andy’s best advice is simple and stems from his own call experience.
“Be yourself. Embrace who you are.”
I’m doing my best to fully embrace the uniqueness of a catch-playing call.
Like most pastors, I just wonder if it’s making any real difference.