Alumni/ae Spotlight: Pastor Dave Hood

I am currently appointed to Ginghamsburg UMC in Tipp City, OH, as the Campus Pastor of Fort McKinley Church, Ginghamsburg’s urban branch on the corner of Salem and Siebenthaler avenues in Dayton. Fort McKinley was a dying church of about 40 faithful servants when Ginghamsburg merged with them to revitalize the church and community. Today, just a year and a half later, Fort McKinley worships over 400 in three services on a typical Sunday and is making a huge impact in the community.

My role is Campus Pastor, which includes all preaching, leadership, vision and development of the Fort McKinley campus. I also serve on the Senior Management Team at Ginghamsburg in order to maintain consistent DNA across campuses. Fort McKinley Church is focused on being a Neighborhood Congregation that becomes the empowering center of the community. One major initiative that has been developed is Project Neighborhood, a focused and sustained mission initiative in the 15 blocks directly behind Fort McKinley. Project Neighborhood includes everything from cleaning gutters, mowing lawns, and fixing leaky faucets to intentional relationship building with the residents of the neighborhood. I began to get this vision while I was still at United when I went on my transcultural trip to S.C.U.P.E. in Chicago and saw firsthand churches that were outward focused and making a transformational difference in their communities.

United has built into me a passion for excellence in leadership and a drive to be in the business of developing young talent for future ministry and mission. United also provided a safe space for me to learn and grow. It was a place of both support and challenge the entire time I was there. My fondest memory of United has to be Graduation Day. I had worked for 4 years for that day and to be able to graduate with my friends and colleagues is a memory I will never forget.

My advice to those thinking about seminary is found in my life verse, 2 Timothy 2:15 – “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” My advice to current or incoming students is to “do your best,” because what we do as servants of Jesus changes the world.

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portrait of Dr. Andrew Sung Parka rainbow colored stained glass medallion from United Theological Seminary