Dr. Jim Miller - 30 years shepherding our flock

Dr. Jim Miller - 30 years shepherding our flock

Joan Williams Hoar, Historian

Ron Pearson recalls those early days. “When I first met Jim in 1992, he was visiting the church as the guest of our Pastor Nominating Committee, and my first impression was extremely positive. I immediately sensed his outgoing personality, his sharp mind, his vision for the future, and most importantly, his love for the Church, its message, and its people.”

"As I look back at the past three decades, I am profoundly grateful for his leadership which has produced an outstanding record of accomplishments.”

– Ron Pearson

Ron says, “The church campus has grown in physical size, which allowed for the expansion of our various ministry areas, our annual budgets have continued to rise thanks to the generous response of members, and the spiritual growth of our congregation bears a powerful witness to Jim’s leadership.”

Gary Mathews, immediate past clerk of Session, notes Dr. Miller’s ability to work with elected church leadership. “I served on Session and in the role of clerk with Dr. Miller since 2005 and observed firsthand his quiet and friendly encouragement of others to serve the Lord in various ways. He has a special way of seeing the potential in others and a skillful way of encouraging people to embrace tasks they would have never pursued on their own."

"His love of people and engaging personality are truly a gift from God.”

– Gary Mathews

Michael Grogan adds, “Dr. Miller is the leader with the gentle nudge. Since my days in high school youth group, he planted seeds that led me on a mission trip to Romania and to be the Heather Davis youth intern one summer. Both were experiences that caused my faith to blossom.”

Duff Points comments, “Spiritual growth begins at the very youngest age with the AWANA Bible Study. Jim is an incredible champion for AWANA. Each Wednesday he stands in the Atrium after class and hugs and talks to the kids. He is the ultimate shepherd and encourager!”

First Church history records a strong presence in local mission. Executive Director Jenette McEntire speaks eloquently of the impact on young lives. “Five years ago on July 24, 2017, Masterwork Academy flung open her doors to welcome the first students from Anderson Elementary. Now, over 220 students have learned they are a Masterwork. Many are children with deep hurts, loss, separation and need. Most would not have an opportunity to engage in the arts or experience the joy of creating if Masterwork didn’t exist for them.”

"Cast in love and founded in faith, this good work has faithfully grown because of the skillful hands of our shepherd, Dr. Jim Miller.”

– Jenette McEntire

Little Light House Executive Director Anne McCoy shares her experience with how our “outward focus” mission has benefited families with special needs children. “Dr. Miller’s desire to see First Church serve our community is obvious. The 8:10 Building Project is one such example. I am particularly grateful for the pioneering effort onsite at First Church in collaboration with the Little Light House to serve young children with special needs and their families. For six Wednesday nights this spring, these families were greeted with love, educational and therapeutic input, a great meal and sibling care, all funded by 8:10 proceeds. What a beautiful blessing to the Tulsa community. Thank you, Dr. Jim Miller, for your faithful shepherding.”

With appreciation to Vicky Wilcoxen and Doug Crain for their involvement in this article.

About the author:
Joan Williams Hoar is the First Church historian and an elder, chair of the Docents and History & Archives Committee, and a member since 1978. Joan has traveled the globe and her education includes Asian Studies at Sophia University in Tokyo and earned a master’s degree in liberal arts with an emphasis on Japanese print and literature from OU.