Home Equipping Leaders Path 1 / Church Planting I Will Have Whatever She Is Having!

I Will Have Whatever She Is Having!

By Paul Nixon

CIC Article

In the spring of 2023, I received a call from an exuberant district superintendent in Northwest Texas. Although four out of five United Methodist congregations had disaffiliated in her conference, her positive spirit was especially notable. Felicia Hopkins is the real deal! God began preparing Felicia for ministry when she was an Army military police officer as a young adult. Later, after seminary, she reenlisted in the Army as a chaplain and volunteered to go to love and serve troops deployed to Afghanistan. I suppose, after being forged as a pastor in the triage craziness of a field hospital, what she had to face in the Northwest Texas Conference in the early 2020s did not seem as apocalyptic.

After Felicia retired from the Army, she was appointed to serve on the staff team of a new United Methodist Church in El Paso (St. Mark’s) and then as a turn-around pastor at the historic St. Paul United Methodist Church in Abilene. From there, Bishop Jimmy Nunn appointed her as Abilene District Superintendent in the Northwest Texas Conference in 2021. Felicia had no idea in 2021 how many heartbreaking church conferences she would soon preside over. As the annual conference shrank, other superintendents went on to do other things. Felicia is the last district superintendent standing in Northwest Texas, with thirty-one remaining congregations spread across hundreds of miles plus another eight new ministry starts, three of which have chartered in the last year, bringing the total of Northwest Texas congregations to thirty-four.

When Felicia reached out to Path 1, I was simply the guy who took her call. She was looking to find support and training for laity and pastors across Northwest Texas who never dreamed they would be planting new churches and ministries in the 2020s. The more I have worked with Felicia, the more impressed I am with the leadership and positivity that she brings to her work.

On March 27, 2024, I recorded the following interview with the Rev. Felicia Hopkins, now in the last stretch of her superintendency as Northwest Texas prepares to merge with North and Central Texas Conferences next year. This interview is one of two dozen that Beth Estock and I host each year with outstanding church leaders on a podcast titled Church is Changing.

Church is Changing is a product of Path 1 at Discipleship Ministries and a ministry of The United Methodist Church.

There is an old comedic line when someone behaves in a notable way and the waiter comes to ask for your order. With all eyes on the person who is stealing the spotlight, you say, “I will have whatever she is having!” That is how I feel about my work with Felicia Hopkins – I think all of us could use a little (or a lot) of what she has!

Click here to listen to the full interview with Felicia Hopkins.

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