T4G Interview Series: Mike McKinley (Part 1)

October 5, 2009

Mike McKinley is a pastor and regular blogger over at 9Marks. Here is part 1 of his interview.

1) Where do you pastor?

I am the pastor of Guilford Baptist Church in Sterling, about a half hour outside of DC in Northern Virginia.  The church is 152 years old, but before I became the pastor the congregation had dwindled to just a couple of saints.  We brought a few people with us from Capitol Hill Baptist Church and began the work of revitalization in 2005.  Guilford’s congregation is now fairly diverse (about 35% of the members are foreign born internationals) and skews young.  We have started two Spanish-speaking churches and hope to start many more.

2) How did you come to Christ?

My family didn’t go to church regularly when I was a young child.  When I was about 10 years old my parents came to Christ and began taking my brother and me to a good, Bible-preaching church.  I heard the gospel in Sunday School and by God’s grace it seemed obviously right to me.  I was converted at some point in that process.

3) Describe your call to ministry.

Given the restraining orders that prevent me from cage-fighting for a living, there weren’t too many options open to me.  I discovered that I couldn’t adequately feed the family as a pharmaceutical clinical trial subject, so I took that as a kind of call to the ministry.  Also, when I was in college I began to feel both an increased love for the church and a strong desire to teach God’s Word to God’s people.  When Capitol Hill Baptist Church invited me to come plant a church from their congregation, I jumped at it.

4) Tell us about your family.

I fell in love with Karen when I was 19 years old and she was 17.  She was the only Christian girl I had ever met who could quote Screeching Weasel songs in the course of normal conversation.  When you find a girl like that, you don’t let her go.  I married her in 1997 and we have four sweet, hilarious, intense, little kids.  Kendall is our only daughter, she’s 7.  Knox is 5, Phineas is almost 4, and Ebenezer is 7 months old.

5) What are some of your favorite activities with your family or personal hobbies?

I love sports.  They haven’t invented a sport that I won’t play and/or watch on TV (full disclosure, I don’t consider soccer a “sport”… anything that encourages men with pony tails to flop dramatically is better categorized as “ballet”).  I love coaching our kids’ Little League teams, playing baseball in our yard, and taking the family to see MLB games.  I don’t particularly enjoy home construction, but I seem to spend a lot of time gutting and rebuilding our dilapidated house, so I guess that counts as a hobby.