Kennedy McGowan serves as First Presbyterian’s Pastor
- Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I grew up a preacher’s kid in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and like many preacher’s kids had little interest in being a pastor myself. But God has a way of working in ways you don’t expect, and during my junior year in college, I reawakened to faith, and more and more felt the call to serve God as a pastor. Still, right out of seminary, I didn’t go directly into ministry, but actually worked for a public relations firm in New York City, representing dance clubs, restaurants, modeling agencies and soap stars. But I realized that as interesting as that was, I had a passion for helping people connect to the amazing news of God’s love for them in Jesus Christ, and I have lived out that passion now for over 25 years in ministry, both here in South Florida and before that in Long Island, New York.
- What motivates you in your work here at the church, and what do you like most about you do?
I get a charge of seeing God work powerfully in the lives of others, and being part of their journey of faith as they experience Jesus for the first time or grow more deeply in that relationship. I really enjoy preaching, and helping people see how the Bible speaks directly to the challenges of their daily lives. But I also love the variety of the work that I do. From praying by someone’s bedside in the hospital to leading the church forward in implementing its vision to leading exuberant songs and giving hugs in our Learning Center chapels, it’s all pretty amazing!
- What does your faith mean to you? How does it help you in your daily life?
My relationship with Jesus forms the very foundation of all that I am and all that I do. His grace assures me when I come face to face with my own shortcomings. His faithfulness sustains me on the days when things are particularly hard. His love works in me daily, leading me to become the person that God created me to be. I am more grateful than I could ever put into words for all that Jesus has done, and continues to do in my life. He is my hope, my stay, my refuge and my strength.
- What are some of the things you like to do?
I enjoy hanging with my son, Patrick, and eating out with my wife, Chantal or savoring one of her new recipes. I love to travel, and see new places as well as revisit old ones. I enjoy all sorts of media from the Walking Dead to The Americans to the latest Netflix or HBO series, and while having a toddler has limited my movie watching, I remain a huge film buff. I am a voracious reader of everything from magazines like the New Yorker and the Atlantic to mysteries to theology to sheesh almost anything. And I enjoy running, swimming, and doing a few weights.