Pastor proclaims gospel in and out of pulpit
For 63 years, Rev. George Herndon has proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ in and out of the pulpit.
He saw an opportunity to serve God in another season of life when he retired from full-time ministry in 1991 from Brunswick’s College Place United Methodist Church.
Passionate about serving wherever the Lord leads, in the years that followed Rev. Herndon led 58 United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) teams on short-term mission trips around the world.
“I have been involved in missions for a long time,” he said. “A wonderful way to serve the Lord is to go out and help people who can’t help themselves.”
In 13 years, he led 58 volunteer mission teams to North Carolina, Alabama, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Belize, Spain, Honduras, Panama, and several to the Dominican Republic.
Rev. Herndon led several 10-day mission trips each year, with 12 to 14 volunteers on each team. His wife, Cora, served on nearly 20 teams herself.
On each trip he preached and taught Bible school, and he and other volunteers worshiped together and with local residents and played with local children. Most trips also included construction work and some were medical mission trips.
All were personally impactful, but maybe none more than his trip to Spain.
Visiting the Mediterranean Sea where Paul had planned to carry the gospel message was moving, Rev. Herndon said.
“I really had an emotional experience,” he said. “I was standing there looking across the Mediterranean Sea and I said, ‘Paul, you didn’t make it but I’m here and I’ll preach the gospel for you.’”
The real highlights, though, were when people had encounters with Christ and accepted Him as Lord.
“It’s not only a joy helping build churches and doing physical work, but it’s such a joy to see people embrace the Christian faith,” Rev. Herndon said, fondly recalling an evening in Panama when all 57 people who attended a worship service accepted Christ.
Rev. Herndon’s leadership and servant spirit has made an impact on a tremendous number of people.
“The best witness that we can offer anybody, in our own community or in other places that we serve, is Christian love, that simple expression of – you have value because God has created you and because you have been created by God,” said Paulette West, Executive Director, UMVIM, Southeastern Jurisdiction. “This is how Jesus expressed His love to others and because of His example we are called to do that. I can’t think of anyone better than George Herndon who has embodied that. The leadership to have led 58 short term mission engagements during his life is just tremendous, and just how many lives he must have touched during that time as well as the leadership that he has provided for so many others to share and express that love as well.”
Rev. Herndon’s last mission trip was three years ago; at 86 his health prevents much travel, but he still serves regularly and faithfully. For five years, until last June, he led Brunswick’s Arco United Methodist Church, and he still preaches at Epworth By The Sea’s Lovely Lane Chapel every three months.
“For 63 years it’s always been a joy to lift Jesus Christ up and help other people come to know and love Him.”