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by Curtis Vick, TMF Executive Vice President
Thirty-four years ago, I took my first job at the Texas Methodist Foundation while my father was serving a Methodist church in Austin, and I learned that I was called to a different kind of ministry.
It was 1982 when I became the fifth staffer at the foundation. I was a college junior at Southwestern University, and I was hired to help convert the foundation from index cards to computers. My computer savvy was helpful, but so were other skills: analyzing index cards of accounting data; answering phones; opening mail; calculating deductions for charitable gift annuities; and driving our president, Charles Laing, to site visits.
I feel a bit nostalgic when I realize that my first job is obsolete, and no one person can perform the diversity of tasks we did in those earlier days. Under the wing of Dr. Laing, I came to understand our organization as a ministry that included financial services and much more. Yet, as our organization grew, especially after Dr. Laing’s retirement and now-President Tom Locke joined TMF, we each had opportunities to develop talents that help us support the churches we serve. Every title I had – from Summer Help and Accounting Support to Computer Programmer and Senior Vice President of Operations – led to personal and professional growth. Over time, I considered Texas Methodist Foundation and our staff, investors, congregations and others a part of my personal mission field.
My mission is to make a positive difference in everything I do. Since my first year at Texas Methodist Foundation, I have learned to solve problems, build relationships and develop patience. Strengthening these leadership skills helps me cultivate them in others. I see that it is worth it to work things out in reality, not just on paper. I trust that patience really is a virtue, and that things that appear urgent rarely hold the same significance as those things that are truly important.
I value perspectives of people who think, talk and interact differently from me, and I learn from them. I think that’s among TMF’s strengths, as well: we help clergy and lay leaders connect outside the geographical boundaries of their churches and annual conferences, so they can learn from each other through collaboration and conversation. That’s one of the key ways we invest in and build better leaders because we’ve seen how that makes the greatest difference to the success of local churches.
I believe deeply in the value of TMF to individuals, church organizations and agencies. We steward our own potential by helping others steward their potential.
Reflecting on the past 34 years, my favorite TMF title is simply this: “Staff.” We all have been given ministries to pursue in the world. I am proud to work alongside TMF staff as we use our individual and collective gifts to assist individuals and congregations in pursuing their own God-appointed call to serve.
Editor’s note: Our TMF blog shares stories and essays inspired by our purpose: to help individuals, families, congregations and like-minded organizations achieve their God-inspired potential. In this post, Curtis Vick explains how his calling complements the mission of TMF. He began working for Texas Methodist Foundation in 1982 and is now Executive Vice President. Here he reflects on what it means to be of value to the church from outside of its traditional walls. “Curtis’ leadership is his ministry here,” says Patti Simmons, Vice President of Foundation Relations. “He uses his gifts to serve God and, by his presence, encourages others to do the same.”