Saint Mark United Methodist Church, the largest Black church in the Great Plains Conference of the UMC, is getting a new pastor.
The Rev. Dr. Victor T. McCullough will begin his duties as Senior Pastor on July 1. In a letter to the church, Bishop David Wilson, Bishop of the Great Plains Conference of the UMC, announced the appointment.
Rev. Dr. McCullough has served as pastor in United Methodist Churches for more than 30 years, including executive pastor at Saint Mark in 1997 and 1998. He has also served as Senior Pastor, Mount Zion UMC, New Orleans, until his family and the church were displaced due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He then went on to serve as Senior Pastor, Quayle UMC, Oklahoma City, for some 12 years before being named District Superintendent, Heartland District, Oklahoma Conference of The United Methodist Church where he has served for the past 5 years.
Rev. Dr. McCullough received his undergraduate degree in social work at the University of Texas, in Arlington. He did his graduate work at Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, earning his Master of Divinity degree in June, 1988. He then did post graduate work at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D. C., earning his Doctor of Ministry – Church Leadership degree in 2009. (Ref:The Voice-by PJ GriekspoorMay 2, 2023J GriekspoorMay 2, 2023)
/ cabinet member to lead Saint Mark
(Ref:David Burke - 4/20/2023) Oklahoma Great Plains United Medthodist- a Statement from Pastor McCullough
“I credit Saint Mark with really giving me an anchor and an understanding of reaching people for Christ on a larger level,” he added.
McCullough, currently on the cabinet of the Oklahoma Conference, will return to Saint Mark on July 1, taking over as its senior pastor.
The 61-year-old succeeds the Rev. Robert Johnson, who is moving to Resurrection, a United Methodist Church, as its Leawood campus pastor.
Bishop David Wilson, who was assigned to the Great Plains Jan. 1 from the Oklahoma and Oklahoma Indian Missionary conferences, has worked with McCullough for many years.
“He brings his passion for Christ and His church, and I know he and his wife, Nancy, will be great leaders for the church,” the bishop said in a statement.
Saint Mark is the largest Black church in the Great Plains Conference, among the largest in the South Central Jurisdiction and has a “dynamic legacy,” McCullough said.
“It’s one of those vital congregations that has an impact on not only Wichita and the Great Plains Conference but certainly the entire connection,” he said.
McCullough said Bishop Wilson approached Oklahoma Bishop Jimmy Nunn to ask permission to speak with him about the opening.
“I perked up and wanted to know more,” McCullough said.
Born and raised in United Methodist churches, the Dallas native went into the University of Texas-Arlington as a business major, but involvement in a Christian student group changed his direction to a bachelor’s degree in social work.
“I just wanted to help people,” he said. “I felt like I was living out the dream that others had for me.”
That fall, he entered the Interdenominational Theology Center in Atlanta, earning a master’s of divinity in preaching and pastoral care. He earned a doctorate in ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
McCullough’s first appointment brought him back to Texas, with a cross-racial appointment in the North Texas Conference prior to his time in Wichita.
“The appointment at Saint Mark went a long way in preparing me for such a time as this, as it relates to going on and pastor a church in that setting,” he said.
In mid-1997, he received an offer to serve as senior pastor at Mount Zion UMC in New Orleans, a predominately Black church that was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina but has since rebuilt.
He was appointed at Oklahoma City Quayle UMC, a predominantly Black church, where he served from 2006 until his appointment to the cabinet in 2018. He is superintendent of the Heartland District, which includes Oklahoma City.
Although he said he enjoyed his time in the cabinet, he also missed regularly preaching.
“Even though I’ve had ample opportunities to preach during the time I’ve been on the cabinet in some of the churches in our district and other places, I guess I’ve never lost the passion to serve the kingdom through the local church,” he said.
His time on the appointive cabinet, he said, “has been an opportunity to use some of the experience I can share and come alongside the pastors and the congregations who are on the journey of doing kingdom work and following Jesus Christ. My call, my purpose resonated again when I was given the opportunity to go to Saint Mark.”
McCullough’s wife of 36 years, Nancy, is an ordained elder who is currently serving as an educator. They have four adult children, ranging from 35 to 24. Their youngest daughter, ViaFaith, was born in Wichita and serves as executive director for Project Transformation, an Oklahoma Conference summer program that unites children and college-age young adults with churches.
He said he is looking forward to working with the congregation at the Wichita church.
“I hope I bring a love for Christ and Christ’s church and a love for God’s people and the community,” he said. “Our foundation is not to stay in the walls of the church, but we are blessed and given opportunities to serve those who are in need, sharing the love of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”