Thrive
Podcast

Today on the podcast, I got to talk to Bishop Keith Cowart and Bishop Linda Adams. Both are bishops of the Free Methodist Church USA. Both oversee portions of the US with Bishop Cowart overseeing Europe and the Middle East, while Bishop Adams oversees the northern US and Latin America.

Bishop Cowart is a graduate of Georgia Southern University and Asbury Seminary for the M.Div. and D.Min. degrees. He and his wife Pam, who is also a graduate of the Seminary, have two adult sons. In 1997 Keith planted Christ Community Church in Columbus, Georgia, where he served for 21 years as lead pastor. Christ Community planted or played a major role in planting four other churches and sent out more than 35 men and women to serve as pastors, parachurch ministry directors, military chaplains and missionaries around the world.

Bishop Linda Adams is a graduate of Spring Arbor University and Asbury Seminary for the M.Div. and D.Min. degrees. She has enjoyed serving in three pastoral appointments in Spring Arbor, Michigan; St. Charles, Illinois; and as lead pastor of New Hope Church in Rochester, New York. During her ten years at New Hope, the church incorporated more than 30 refugees from Central Africa into the congregation, opening her eyes to the reality of global poverty and the migration of people because of war and ethnic strife. For 11 years, she then served as director of International Child Care Ministries, a vibrant global Free Methodist movement in 33 countries. Linda and her husband John have been married for nearly 45 years.

Both Bishop Keith and Bishop Linda were elected as bishops of the Free Methodist Church USA in 2019. In today’s conversation, we talk about their calling, their time at Asbury Seminary, how God led them on their journey to bishop, and a little bit about what the future of the Free Methodist Church looks like.

Let’s listen!

*The views expressed in this podcast don’t necessarily reflect the views of Asbury Seminary.

Bishop Linda, Bishop of the Free Methodist Church USA

Dr. Linda Adams is a graduate of Spring Arbor University (BA 1977) and Asbury Theological Seminary (MDiv 1991; D.Min. 2000). She has enjoyed serving in three pastoral appointments—pastor for CE at the Spring Arbor, Michigan FMC; lead pastor of the St. Charles, Illinois FMC; and lead pastor of New Hope Church in Rochester, New York. During her ten years at New Hope, the church incorporated more than 30 refugees from Central Africa into the congregation, opening her eyes to the reality of global poverty and the migration of people because of war and ethnic strife. For 11 years, she led International Child Care Ministries, a vibrant global FM movement in 33 countries.

Linda and her husband John celebrated 42 years of marriage in August 2019. Their 36-year-old son Nate lives in Virginia; their 32-year-old daughter Carrie lives in Washington, DC. Besides serving the Lord through the FMC, Linda loves to play the piano and sing, swim, walk with friends, read and travel. In fact, after all the travel she has done in the past 11 years, she is still not tired of it! Which is good, because now that she has been elected bishop, travel will continue to be her lifestyle. Literally and figuratively, she finds joy in the journey.

Bishop Keith Cowart,
Bishop of the Free Methodist Church USA

Dr. Keith Cowart is a graduate of Georgia Southern University (BBA, 1986) and Asbury Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1991; D.Min. 2002). His wife, Pam Taylor Cowart, is also a graduate of the Seminary (M.Div., 1991). Keith and Pam have two adult sons, Andrew and Aaron. In 1997, Keith planted Christ Community Church in Columbus, Georgia. Over the 21 years that he served as Lead Pastor, Christ Community planted or played a major role in planting four other churches and sent out more than 35 men and women to serve as pastors, parachurch ministry directors, military chaplains or missionaries around the world. During that tenure, Keith also served as Area Director of Southern Europe for FMWM in 2014-2015. Following a brief term as Superintendent of the Southeast Region (FMC), Keith was elected Bishop of the FMC in 2019. For fun Keith loves following the home teams (Go Braves, Dawgs, Falcons!), reading, racquetball, treasure hunting (Pam calls it junk), and almost anything that puts him in the outdoors.

Heidi Wilcox, host of the Thrive Podcast

Writer, podcaster, and social media manager, Heidi Wilcox shares stories of truth, justice, healing and hope. She is best known as the host of Spotlight, (especially her blooper reel) highlighting news, events, culturally relevant topics and stories of the ways alumni, current students and faculty are attempting something big for God. If you can’t find her, she’s probably cheering on her Kentucky Wildcats, enjoying a cup of coffee, reading or spending time with her husband, Wes.



Transcript

Heidi Wilcox:
Hey everyone. Welcome to this week’s episode of The Thrive with Asbury Seminary Podcast. I’m your host, Heidi E Wilcox, bringing you conversations with authors, thought leaders and people just like you, who are looking to connect where your passion meets the world’s deep need. Today on the podcast, I got to talk to Bishop Keith Cowart and Bishop Linda Adams. Both are bishops of the Free Methodist Church U.S.A, both oversee sections of the U.S. And Bishop Cowart along with that, oversees Europe and the Middle East. While Bishop Adams oversees the Northern U.S And Latin America.

Heidi Wilcox:
Dr. Keith Cowart is a graduate of Georgia Southern University and Asbury Seminary for the MDiv and DMin degrees. He and his wife, Pam, who is also a graduate of the Seminary have two adult sons. In 1997, Keith planted Christ Community Church in Columbus, Georgia, where he served for 21 years as lean pastor. Christ community planted or play a major role in planting four other churches and sent out more than 35 men and women to serve as pastors, prayer church ministry directors, military chaplains, or missionaries around the world.

Heidi Wilcox:
Dr. Linda Adams is a graduate of Spring Arbor University and Asbury Theological Seminary for the MDiv and DMin degrees. She has enjoyed serving in three pastoral appointments in Spring Arbor, Michigan, St. Charles Illinois, and as lean pastor of New Hope Church in Rochester, New York. During her 10 years at New Hope, the church incorporated more than 30 refugees from central Africa into the congregation, opening her eyes to the reality of global poverty and the migration of people because of war and ethnic strive. For 11 years, she had been served as director of International Childcare Ministries, a vibrant global Free Methodist Movement that is in 33 countries. Linda and her husband, John, have been married for nearly 45 years.

Heidi Wilcox:
Both Bishop Keith and Bishop Linda were elected as bishops in the Free Methodist Church U.S.A in 2019. In today’s conversation, we talk about their calling, their time at Asbury Seminary, and how God led them along the journey to become Bishop of the Free Methodist Church. And a little bit about what the future of the Free Methodist Church looks like. Let’s listen.

Heidi Wilcox:
All right, Bishop Linda, Bishop Keith. I am so glad that we could find the time to talk today. It really is. I’ve been looking forward to it and I’m glad that we could make it happen. Thank you for being here.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Sure.

Bishop Linda Adams:
Thank you.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah. As we get started, if you each could take a moment to introduce yourself and then tell us just a little bit about yourself. We could start with you Bishop Keith.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Yeah. I am from Georgia. Live in Columbus, Georgia. Married to Pam. Who’s also an Asbury grad, by the way. And Pam and I have two kids, two sons, Andrew and Erin, and our youngest is now married and has given us two grandchildren and now a foster grandchild.

Heidi Wilcox:
Wow.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
And that has been the best thing ever.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
So, yeah. That’s our family background. Pam and I were both here in the MDiv program back in the late 80s. Graduated in 91. We didn’t know each other and ended up meeting each other two years later and getting married. And then we were back here for the [inaudible 00:03:31] pastor program in 96, 97.

Heidi Wilcox:
Okay. Wow. So quite a history with the seminary.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Yes.

Heidi Wilcox:
Okay. Yeah. Bishop Linda, what about you?

Bishop Linda Adams:
Yes. Well, I’m Linda Adams and I’m married to John Adams. You can remember that presidential name. Right? And we live in Holland, Michigan, and the area of the country that I oversee is in the Northern part. And so Michigan is actually where I was born. And so it’s been nice to move back there and I’m near siblings and nieces and nephews and all that. We also have two kids. They’re not kids anymore. Nathan and Carrie are both in their 30’s and we don’t get to see them too often. Nathan lives in Virginia and Carrie lives in DC, but as often as possible, it’s great to see them again.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And I was here 89 to 91 finishing up in MDiv. I actually started it somewhere else. We lived in New York City before I came here. So I graduated in 91 at the same time Keith did. And then he recommended the [inaudible 00:04:32] program to me. So I came a year later in 97, 98 and graduated with a DMin in 2000.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Well, she recommended Pam to me.

Bishop Linda Adams:
So we go back.

Heidi Wilcox:
So how did that happen?

Bishop Keith Cowart:
She knew Pam and I knew her. So she knew both of us. And one day she said, “I think there’s something about you and Pam.” And two years later, we re-met and started dating long distance and ended up married.

Heidi Wilcox:
Oh, I love that.

Bishop Linda Adams:
Isn’t that crazy?

Heidi Wilcox:
I love that.

Bishop Linda Adams:
So nobody would’ve guessed that when we were both elected Bishop on the same day.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
That’s right. That’s right.

Heidi Wilcox:
So you both have pastoral experience prior to being Bishop and experience doing lots of other things too. So how did you experience your call to ministry? And then I will ask two questions together. How did you experience your call to ministry?

Bishop Linda Adams:
Well, I was 17 years old and I lived in Spring Arbor, Michigan and our church had gone through a really powerful revival that had started actually two years before that and had really come to life. And so there was a missionary, a retired missionary, Alice Taylor, who preached. And I just felt the Lord calling me to ministry. But at that time I had never met a woman pastor. Didn’t quite know what it really meant. And in fact, our denomination didn’t even fully ordain women until two years later.

Bishop Linda Adams:
But as I was walking forward to just commit my life to Christ in whatever way, it was like signing a blank check, but my categories in my head were “Okay, maybe I’m going to be a pastor’s wife or a missionary or a Bible school teacher.” Because those were my categories for women who were called in ministry.

Bishop Linda Adams:
So then I took about 12 years, honestly, to verify and clarify what that call meant. And when I was in college, I came across some students. Not really the professors where I was, but the students who said, “No, no, no, God doesn’t want women to lead in the church.” And so I read a lot of stuff on both sides of that and went back to my Bible and spent some time. So then John and I got in involved in being a part of a church plant team, which was a chance to use my gifts, get my toes wet in ministry and experience more of what happens when you exercise your gift. And the Lord was smiling on it. And I was realizing, “Oh, this is a good place for me.” And so it finally confirmed that after 12 years of sorting it out, when I was 29 years old, the Lord just spoke really clearly, verbally and with a vision and everything else, I could stop doubting him and then moved on to seminary.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah.

Bishop Linda Adams:
Yeah.

Heidi Wilcox:
I can appreciate the 12 years that it took you because I feel, just in my life and in people’s lives in general, at least I know for me, I want the microwave, I know this is right, but it just takes time. And I just really appreciate hearing that as part of your story.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Yeah.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And another thing, those were not wasted years at all.

Heidi Wilcox:
Right. Right.

Bishop Linda Adams:
I had two children during that time and I spent a good amount of my time caring for them.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah.

Bishop Linda Adams:
So, it was all unfolding in the right time.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah. Yeah. What about you?

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Yeah, I was 21 and mine’s very different in a sense that I was a believer. I’d been involved in a music ministry all through college. Definitely wanted to serve the Lord, but was absolutely convinced it would not be as a pastor. As a clergy, period, of any kind because… And it was honestly based in two things. One, I really, really did believe that I could serve the Lord more effectively in the marketplace. I guess my thought was pastors have to be good. And I want to be a business person who really loves Jesus and impact people in the business. And I still think that’s an incredible, wonderful calling.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah, that’s a fair thought.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Problem is the Lord was saying to me, that’s not what I’ve called you to do. The other side of it was total 100% inadequacy. I absolutely could not conceive of being a pastor, particularly around preaching, because I had never taken a speech class in high school or college. I opted out of both because I was scared to death to speak in front of people. And so I was just like, “Lord, how can I be a pastor when I cannot speak in front of people?”

Heidi Wilcox:
Most of us ask that question.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Yeah, you do. And the Lord essentially said the same thing, “I’ll be with you.”

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Was his answer. And like Linda, I maybe because of those huge doubts and sense of inadequacy, the Lord had to speak very, very clearly to me. And it was a mystical, right… I mean, if it was not an audible voice, it sure sounded like it to me. And the Lord was as clear as a bell, that I am calling you to this. And then it just simply became a matter of, “Okay, Lord, I’m going to trust you in this.” But I’d already made plans to go in business with my dad. Right out of college, I had a business degree and that’s what I wanted to do. And the Lord just made it very clear. He was calling me into something different.

Heidi Wilcox:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I think that’s important. Not being in the same field that you all are in, but just to have a moment where you know. So how has that moment then sustained you for the next well, for the rest of your ministry then? Because things would get hard I would imagine. Or you would have again, moments of, I know if you’re me, I’m like, “Okay, you said this and so I’m going to do this. But now I’m not sure again. So can you reconfirm that?” But having such a clear time for both of you, how did that sustain you?

Bishop Linda Adams:
It was the turning point because I don’t feel I’m necessarily somebody who’s going to try to be a trendsetter or break barriers or any of that stuff. I wasn’t motivated to prove anything. I was happy to be a volunteer at the church and be a mom and a wife and just take care of life. And I remember right before the Lord clarified my calling, that I really was intended to go to seminary and take the steps that actually turned out to be a pastor. I wasn’t quite sure, even when I started seminary, what that would be. I remember standing at the kitchen sink and saying, “Lord, I’m never going to ask you again if you want me to go. I don’t need anybody to ordain me. You’ve already ordained me. I’m your servant. And I’m happy to please you and serve you every single day. And Brother Lawrence never left the kitchen. So if I’m going to serve you in the kitchen and working with a bunch of squirly junior high kids in my youth group, I’ll be happy. That’s fine. I’m not going to ask this question anymore.”

Bishop Linda Adams:
And part of that was because some people that I really respect and some authors and Christians speakers and so on, had the opposite position and felt like it would be an act of rebellion for a woman to move on toward leadership in the church. And I didn’t want to be in rebellion against God, but after such clarity in 1984, when he clarified my calling, from then on, there was just no looking back. And there was no doubting. I mean he spoke and I finally knew that it would be an act of rebellion to say “No.” Not to say yes. And I also began to think, I’m not going to get to heaven and say, “Well, I didn’t do what you asked me to do because he didn’t approve of it.” You know what? It’s no longer anybody else’s opinion that matters because I know your opinion, Lord, and I’m just going to follow you and submit to you. And this is not rebellion. This is submission.

Heidi Wilcox:
Right.

Bishop Linda Adams:
So, once I crossed that, never look back.

Heidi Wilcox:
Right. Right. That’s beautiful.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Yeah. And I’d say for me, the sense that God was calling me to be a pastor came over a period of two to three months. It was more vague and it, but it became more and more real. But there was a point that the part that I meant when I said that he spoke, was about a year after really sensing that he was calling me and I was still just us kicking hard against. “Lord. I just can’t do this.” And there was an evening where he just spoke clearly as a bell. And the words were in essence, John 15:5. And the words that he said to me is, “Keith, if you will simply obey me and always depend on me, I will always give you everything you need. And if you don’t, you’ll fail. Apart from me, you can do nothing.”

Bishop Keith Cowart:
I didn’t really even recognize it as John 15 in the moment. And later on, I realized he just spoke in a very personal way, John 15:5. And so it became immediately, a life verse and that word has sustained me all these years. It was just this absolute promise of God that he… And you’re right, it does, it’s always there. And there are days where I’m more sure of that, than I’m a Christian. I’m absolutely confident that God is faithful.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
And I’ll say one other thing because I didn’t aspire to it, because it wasn’t something I was wanting and going after, that sense of obedience that you said has also given me a strength to say, I’m not here trying to please people, I can make decisions and if they’re not popular, it’s okay because I didn’t want to do this in the first place. It’s like, “Okay Lord, I didn’t want to be this.” And so I feel it has given me the ability to lead with more boldness than I would’ve had naturally, because there was this clear sense of “Lord, I am truly obeying you in this moment.”

Heidi Wilcox:
Right? No, I think that’s an important distinction because I was talking to somebody else this morning just in a conversation about achievement in ministry. And so when you’re like, “I didn’t want to do this anyway.” And you’re having that clear moment of, this is what I’m supposed to do and literally nothing else matters. It’s not about the titles or the anything right. You know?

Bishop Linda Adams:
Right.

Heidi Wilcox:
Or accomplishing. I mean you definitely do want to accomplish goals. I’m not minimizing that, but it’s not about adding this after your name or a list of things under your name or whatever.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Yep.

Bishop Linda Adams:
Yep. In fact, I was still timid about leadership.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And I was a little bit, I’d say stuck in some stereotypical roles about… So even after the clarity that this is what I’m supposed to do, I can still remember the first time the pastor of the church plant asked me if I would preach. And I said, “Well, I don’t know.” And I hadn’t gone to seminary yet. “I don’t know if I preach.” So he said, “Okay, we’ll do it on Sunday night, we’ll meet in the parlor and everybody will sit in chairs and you can pretend it’s a big Bible study. How about that?” I was like, “Okay, I can do that. That’s no problem.” And so it was inch by inch, get my toes wet and more and more. But then I remember, yo know the movie Chariots of Fire?

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bishop Linda Adams:
I was sitting in the balcony with a bunch of inner city, junior high kids who could not care less about that movie. They were paying no attention, throwing popcorn, whatever, whatever. And I’m sitting there. And when Eric Little gets to the part where he says, “Well…” His sister says you need to be a missionary and stop being a runner go into the Olympics. And he said, “All I know is that God made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.” And I just started a weep. And I said, “When I use these gifts, I feel his pleasure and when I preach, I feel this pleasure. When I lead one of these teenagers to Christ, I feel his pleasure.” And so the kids are all looking at me like, “What’s up with you?” You know? Because that was a slow pace, boring movie for them. But I was there for me I guess.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah. It was a divine moment.

Bishop Linda Adams:
It was a divine moment.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah. Yeah. So then how did each of you come to the seminary?

Bishop Keith Cowart:
I had no idea what to do as far as seminary was concerned. And I first spoke to an evangelist that had… He didn’t come to Asbury, but when I just met with him, I said, “I’m sensing this call to ministry. I think I should probably go to school. Where should I go?” Immediately he said Asbury Seminary. It was Mark Rutland, actually. This was back in 1985 or six or something like that. And then I worked under a mentor in another denomination in Free Methodist, not the one we’re in. Not the one I’m in now. And he also didn’t go to Asbury, but he said, “I really think you ought to go to Asbury Seminary.” He says, “I don’t think you can find a better seminary education.” And so I had two different people who did not go to Asbury, who really told me, you need to go to Asbury.

Heidi Wilcox:
That’s funny.

Bishop Linda Adams:
Yeah. So mine was a circuitous route too. So my husband was working for the New York Bible Society. First, we were living in North Jersey, right outside New York City. And then we were living in New York City. And like I said, I had two young children. And at first when the call came, I just had one and then a second one came along. And so I started out going to seminary part-time and evenings at Alliance Seminary in NIAC, New York. And sometimes I would take, I took 17 credits worth of urban ministry classes in the city. And then I would actually commute from Midtown Manhattan up to NIAC and take courses. And I did that for four years and I got about halfway through the MDiv and then two things happened.

Bishop Linda Adams:
I have a friend Doug Cross, who’s a Free Methodist pastor who had come here. And he said, “Oh Linda, you got to just do one year at Asbury. There’s just nothing like it. You got to go to Asbury.” And I was like, “I can’t. I live here in New York City and my husband has a job at the New York Bible Society.” Well then there was a Women in Ministry chapel. So I’m one of the weird people who actually preached in chapel here before I was a student.

Heidi Wilcox:
Really? I didn’t know that.

Bishop Linda Adams:
Came and preached, got to see the place.

Heidi Wilcox:
So you had definitely moved from the lobby and the Bible study?

Bishop Linda Adams:
Yeah. I mean, but I didn’t preach a lot before that. I’m going to insert a funny story there though, because really the first time I preached on a Sunday morning in a pulpit, I was filling in for a friend of my husband’s, who was on vacation. So the delegator, late leader of the church was supposed to introduce me. I was 22 years old and he didn’t believe in women in ministry. So when he introduced me, he said, “Well, if God can speak through Balaam’s ass, I guess he can speak through today’s preacher.”

Heidi Wilcox:
No, he didn’t?

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Yeah.

Bishop Linda Adams:
Who hit your face? Yes he did. And my face was like this, but I didn’t have a smarter comeback for him. I just stood up and preached nobody just said that. So anyway…

Bishop Keith Cowart:
What an introduction.

Bishop Linda Adams:
What an introduction. Yeah, it was unforgettable. Everything’s funny eventually.

Heidi Wilcox:
Eventually. Yeah.

Bishop Linda Adams:
But anyway, back to that. I came here and I preached. I remember I preached from Matthew 9 about the flocks that were hurting and helpless and needing a shepherd and it was a call to urban ministry. And then I went into the little chapel that’s next to [inaudible 00:20:36].

Heidi Wilcox:
Oh yes.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And I just melt down there to pray and to thank the Lord for helping me with the sermon. Answering my prayer, that I could get through it. And the Lord spoke to me. He doesn’t often speak English sentences into my ear, but not audibly, but very clearly he said, “Come here for your healing.” And once again, I said, “I can’t do that.”

Heidi Wilcox:
Right.

Bishop Linda Adams:
John works at the Bible Society. But as it worked out, in fact, that the Lord’s voice and my good husband came with me to seminary and there were some aspects in our life that definitely needed some healing. We went through some counseling and this was a place of healing for us. And so it was grace all the way though. So, it was a weird route into seminary, preaching there first and then showing up as a student. So then I finished up my MDiv here. We were here for two years.

Heidi Wilcox:
Okay.

Bishop Linda Adams:
For that.

Heidi Wilcox:
Wow. So what I’m curious about, because you both have heard from God in really powerful ways. And so I’m curious about the type of relationship that you had with him that you continued to build with him, that you had such a relationship. That you knew when he was speaking to you.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Yeah.

Heidi Wilcox:
How did you build that at such very young ages?

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Hmm. I grew up in a town of 1500. In a county that only had 6,000. There were more cows in our county than people.

Heidi Wilcox:
I’m with you.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
But we had this little Methodist church that typically, little churches don’t get the top tier pastors. We tended to get retiree, people close to retirement or right out of seminary. And it seemed that more often than not, we had pastors who were not in it for the career. They were really in it because they loved Jesus. So I hear people all the time saying, “I sat in church for 15, 20 years and never heard the gospel.” I heard the gospel, very early. I responded to it very early. And then I had parents that loved Jesus. And I think about Timothy, Paul’s [inaudible 00:22:53] Timothy, “I first saw your faith in your grandmother and your mother.” My grandmother had a huge impact on me.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
My parents lived the Christian life very openly and clearly. And then I had adults that worked volunteers, they weren’t trained youth workers. They were parents who agreed to work with the youth and they just absolutely taught us the word and expected that we were going to live it. And so very early on, I began to get into the word and I will say too, I had an experience with the Holy Spirit when I was 16. Where I really came to a place of recognizing that there was something that seemed to be missing that I wanted more of the Holy Spirit. Wanted more of God’s presence. And there was a point of radical surrender that really did change the trajectory of my walk. Prayers became much richer, deeper. The word came alive and there was something very deep that happened that transformed my life. And it was real. As a teenager.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah. So you had it modeled for you how to build that relationship?

Bishop Linda Adams:
So in this answer, we’re a little bit similar. So I also had Christian grandparents and parents. And my dad worked at Spring Arbor College now university. And so we grew up in that community. And in fact, the college and the church were so much, I mean it was like extended family. The faculty kids were my cousins.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yes.

Bishop Linda Adams:
It was just the way it was and grew up in that. But in 1970, the Asbury College revivals spilled over to Spring Arbor. And so I was a part of a youth group that was truly turned right side up and came alive to, I mean the living presence of God. The manifest presence of God just changes you. And so encountering God in that revival. And I mentioned that I was called in ministry when I was 17, but for that whole two years, we were meeting at the church about every day. And the teenagers were coming to the church for first thing in the morning for prayer before we got on the school bus.

Heidi Wilcox:
Wow.

Bishop Linda Adams:
We were praying to lead our classmates to Jesus.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Wow.

Bishop Linda Adams:
So that was… Yeah. We had come alive to God and our life together was quite remarkable and it just changed. I mean, it made God real. Now, I don’t often, I talk about hearing God’s voice. It’s always a bit of a mystery and there are times when I’ve begged him to hear a clear answer to something and I don’t hear anything.

Heidi Wilcox:
Right.

Bishop Linda Adams:
He does say in John 10, “My sheep know my voice and they follow me.” And I do believe that’s part of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, to communicate not you usually verbally, but to reassure, to nudge and prod, to convict of sin, to draw us further up and further in. To do these amazing things that other people without faith would call coincidences.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And we see how, “My goodness look at how the Lord brought this together at just this right time.” And you just have a sense, there’s another sense, the Old Testament, it’s probably a Psalm, sorry. It says, “The steps to the righteous are ordered by the Lord.” And there’s a sense which you can’t even necessarily experience it in the moment. You look behind yourself and realize-

Heidi Wilcox:
For sure.

Bishop Linda Adams:
“Oh my goodness. I was on that path and I was supposed to turn here and I turned here.” And so there’s, to me, it’s this mysterious sense of sometimes, just walking purely by faith and not by sight and not having any internal GPS that I’m aware of, you know? And then just other times, and I would have to say, this is what we know one of the benefits of being filled with the spirit is, is first thing in the morning, I wake up with a song in my mind and it’s a different song every day almost.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And it’s like a moment of fellowship and it feels like a message from God. Now you can say I’m being naive and silly about that. But it’s “Lord, I want you to be my first waking thought and my last waking thought.” It’s communion. And so he doesn’t often speak, but I feel like in times when I absolutely have to know something, there’s a lot on the line. So when I left the pastoral ministry to become the director of International Childcare Ministries, he spoke. And when I was deciding whether to let my name stand for Bishop, which I didn’t really want to leave my job at International Childcare Ministries, it was the best job in the world.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yes.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And it was “Oh Lord, do I have to?” But yes, he spoke. And so at particular junctures along the way, it feels like he’s making sure that I won’t miss the path.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah. Yeah. He’s good at that. So after seminary, you’ve hinted a little bit at what happened next for you, pastoral ministry and International Childcare Ministries. And you can say more about that too, because that was really just a nutshell, but what happened next for each of you?

Bishop Keith Cowart:
So I left here and went into a small rural church in Central Georgia. Was there for about a year and a half. That’s a long story. I don’t have time to go into all of that except to say that first year and a half… The first occasion, right out of the bat where I ran up against a non-negotiable, where it had to do with race. I was trying to reach some kids. Some of them were not white and the churches said, “Absolutely, we don’t want them on our property.” And I said, “Then I can’t be your pastor.” And I was young, but it was just one of those non-negotiables. And we met, we tried to reason together. I tried to have help them understand and they were nice to me and they appreciated me, but they said, “We are not going there.”

Heidi Wilcox:
Wow.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
And I said, “I really can’t be your pastor.”

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
And so ended up going to a larger church, on staff for about four years. That’s when Pam and I met, married. And so I had four years on staff of this large church and then we applied for the [inaudible 00:29:17] program. And so ended up back here in the [inaudible 00:29:20] pastor program. And I’ll have to say that was… I mean, my MDiv was absolutely critical to my laying a strong foundation. Give me a conceptual framework out of which I live every day. But I’ll say the DMin was a little different in terms of its quality, because I was now in classes where we’re talking about theology or the practice of ministry, and I’ve got five years of experience in the field. And I’m interacting, engaging with the professor and the material at a completely, different level. And I would say it was the absolute best educational experience in my life. And it really set us up for the next season.

Heidi Wilcox:
Right.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Coming out of that side of DMin.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And tell us about the next season because it’s pretty exciting.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Well, yeah, okay. Well, so we felt strongly called during the [inaudible 00:30:25] program to plant. And again, that was not something I did not come into the [inaudible 00:30:33] program thinking, I was a church planter and I still didn’t feel like a church planter. I mean, it’s been a theme of my life. The Lord always calls me to things that I’m like, “I can’t do that.”

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah. Yeah. He’s good at that too.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
That’s right. And so I was like, “I hadn’t been through a church planting bootcamp or school or anything like that.” But for us, the Lord gave us a very clear vision of the kind of church we wanted to lead and be a part of. And I just felt the best way to do it was to start it from ground up. And again, I won’t go into this long story, but we had to change the dominations to do that. That’s when I became a Free Methodist.

Heidi Wilcox:
Okay.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
And so I joined the Free Methodist Church. Planted Christ Community Church in Columbus, Georgia, that we then pastored for 21 years.

Heidi Wilcox:
Wow. That’s really awesome.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Absolutely loved every minute of it.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah. So as a church planner, and I want to come back to you because I know this value is important to both of you, but the value of racial reconciliation. And so as white individuals, how do you foster that reconciliation when in these instances, none of us are in quotes, the other, to see things from a different perspective than ours?

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Yeah, I would just say for us, one of the most important thing is, we identified it as a core value from the very beginning. Just being candid here, it was six people in a living room initially, all white and yet we all agreed, we want to be a church that helps break down those barriers. And so from the very beginning, we identified it as one of our core values. We prayed for it. We did outreach that targeted a diverse community. So we were very intentional about trying to live that value out.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
But I’ll say even in spite of that, it happened very, very slowly. And in fact I’d say, it was prayer that really led to the initial breakthrough. We had been in a week of prayer all week long we’d been praying. It was, it was part of our pattern early in the year. And one of the things we were praying about is, “Lord, we’ve named this as a value, but we hadn’t seen breakthrough.”

Heidi Wilcox:
Right.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
And we said, “Please give us some breakthrough.” And it was just such an incredible thing that within weeks, we began to have numerous people, African Americans, who came into our congregation, we said, “How did you hear about our church?” They said, “I drove by here and the Lord said, I want you to go to that church.”

Heidi Wilcox:
Wow.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
I mean, it was that specific.

Heidi Wilcox:
Wow.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
And we began to see some diversity there. We built it, without question, it was not until we began to bring diversity into our leadership at every level, board level. One of the biggest things was who’s on the stage? If you come in as an African American and everybody’s friendly to you, but the only people you see on stage are white. There’s a sense of, “Okay, so you’re okay with me coming to your church.” But if there’s a mix, a diversity on stage, then there’s a sense of, “Oh, this could be my church.”

Heidi Wilcox:
Right. It’s our church.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Exactly.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
And so I think that was a major change. And then of course we continued to raise up and develop diversity of leadership to the point that when we transitioned after 21 years, my successor was an African American.

Heidi Wilcox:
I love that.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
And so it was a big part of our story.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And he was on staff with you for some years before that.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Yeah, he was a realtor and just he and his wife came into the church and I real quickly said, “You’ve got a gift of evangelism that we need.”

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
And I asked him to come on staff voluntarily initially, to oversee outreach and also celebrate recovery. That was a big part of his story as well. And he just thrived and we just kept adding him quarter time, halftime, finally, full time. And then he was full time for probably five years.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Before we transitioned out.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah. That’s awesome. Bishop Linda, what about you? What was next for you after seminary? And then-

Bishop Linda Adams:
Yeah. So when we left here, excuse me. We went back to actually to my home church and I was the Christian-ed pastor for a couple years while my husband was working on a master’s degree for himself. Actually over at Wheaton. And then ironically, we moved after he finished, after he graduated at Wheaton, we moved 20 minutes from Wheaton. So I took a church in St. Charles, Illinois, and he was the director of the olive branch mission in downtown Chicago. So that was my first chance to pastor a church, all by myself.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And it was a beautiful way that the Lord just opened the door for that. It was a smallish church, but I was there four years and we sold our building and bought one that was twice as big or four times as big or something. And made the transition. And well, after four years in St Charles’, we came to another other transition point. It was just time to be moving on. And the Lord opened the door for me to come to the [inaudible 00:36:02] program.

Heidi Wilcox:
Okay.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And that once again, I mean, Keith already said it, it was just an amazing educational opportunity, a spiritual opportunity and a reset for us. So then, when that was over, we moved to Rochester, New York, and I was able to be the senior pastor of New Hope Church. And I was there for 10 years, from 1998 to 2008.

Heidi Wilcox:
Okay.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And that was a wonderful experience. And I loved it and it didn’t have any desire to leave like I mentioned a few minutes ago. But then the opportunity to become the director of International Childcare Ministries came up and at first I was pushing away from it. Didn’t want to do it. Didn’t want to leave Rochester. Didn’t want to… All of that. But the Lord has his ways. When we’re committed to be obedient and to listen for his voice and we know that already, if you ask me to do something, the answer will be yes. So, and I have to give my husband credit once again, that it’s not every husband who is willing to make a move for the sake of his wife’s job. And we move to Indianapolis. And then that just started an 11 year ride where I got to do a lot of travel.

Bishop Linda Adams:
I visited 40 countries in the world. We had children in 33 countries and we had sponsors in six or seven countries. So that was a wonderful… I got to see in some ways I would say, the global church at its best.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah.

Bishop Linda Adams:
That the global church pours its life into children and widows and people with special… I mean, they say, “Do you read your Bible?” James says true religion is this. This is what we do. You know? And also it’s strategic to invest in children, of course. Getting them educated and then discipling them, blessing them, helping them to grow up into their giftedness. And so it was fun to actually met leaders around the world who had been sponsored children themselves through our organization, but mainly to work with the church and to watch this program go and to work with some amazing people. By the time I finished, I had seven regional coordinators around the world who each had their own responsibilities and just amazing, wonderful people. So that was a fulfilling season.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And now when I look back on it and realize that now I’m once again, where the Lord has called me to be. I look back and I say, “Oh, that was part of my curriculum too. It was part of my preparation for the work you want me to do now.”

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And so it was valuable in and of itself. It taught me a lot about leadership and it prepared me for what I’m doing now. So yeah.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah. So you all were elected bishops of the Free Methodist Church in 2019? Is that right?

Bishop Keith Cowart:
That’s right.

Bishop Linda Adams:
That’s right.

Heidi Wilcox:
And then 2020 happened and the world changed.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Right.

Heidi Wilcox:
But the mission of God and of the Free Methodist Church, that you’re a part of, of loving God, loving people and making disciples, didn’t change. But how has COVID changed the way you all had to lead so new in the job? I think that would be terrifying to be like, “I thought it was going to be this and now it’s this.” How has it changed the way you all led and did ministry?

Bishop Linda Adams:
We actually have talked quite a bit and-

Bishop Keith Cowart:
We have.

Bishop Linda Adams:
Our other counterpart is Bishop Matt Whitehead. So he’s located in Seattle, I’m in Michigan, [inaudible 00:39:28] Georgia. So we’re fairly well spread out. And for the first few months before COVID, we all have internet national responsibilities besides what we’re doing in the U.S. And so we were doing a lot of travel and barely connecting with each other at all, and having greater appreciation for our predecessors and how, it’s just hard. You feel like the bishops become the bottleneck because you’re just too busy and you don’t have the bandwidth and all that, but then COVID just grounded us.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yes.

Bishop Linda Adams:
So for about 18 months, we basically didn’t travel. A little bit domestically, but none internationally. And that gave us the opportunity to start really collaborating and working together in a very intentional, regular way. So we started three hour Zooms every Monday. And then, why don’t you tell about our decision to meet with a consultant and start doing some of the deep work that we probably wouldn’t have had time to do?

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Right. Well, there was a sense that our denomination needed more clarity around what makes us distinct. I mean, who are we? We are a kingdom people. It’s one of the things that’s most important to us. Is we want to be a kingdom first people, but we really did have this sense of, there is something that… I mean, our gift to the body of Christ is to be who God called us to be, as Free Methodist. But there was a lot of uncertainty about what that means. After 160 years, you can begin to lose your identity.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
And so, I mean, it actually happened before COVID. We knew before COVID, this is something we need to be putting some time in. And the timing was just, it was a God thing. So clearly, because within a month or two of having that conversation, reaching out to a consultant, we were completely shut down.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
And so for 18 months, we met with each other, we met with our consultant. We dug really deep into the soul of the Free Methodist Church to say, “What was our birth story? And what is God saying to us today?” I mean, what is he calling us? I mean, certainly building on that birth story and building on our origins, but who is he calling us to be today as a church? And so it has been a year and a half or two years now of just really clarifying who we are and how we want to go about living out our mission for this generation.

Heidi Wilcox:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. So how did that change things for you? What do you know now that you didn’t know 18 months ago?

Bishop Linda Adams:
Well, I would say one of the main things that came out of it was something that we’re calling the Free Methodist way. But it’s about five distinctive values that are part of our identity. And we want to be a part of our culture. And there’s a sense in which there’re a mix of, who God called us to be. And then they’re aspirational into who we want to be when we’re at our best selves. So it’s the trajectory. So we started with life giving holiness because we are actually a holiness denomination, even though that had faded into the background for decades. But paired with that and flowing right out of holiness is also love driven justice. And so the Free Methodist Church was formed in the beginning as an abolitionist denomination. And the whole thing about free pews, which doesn’t make sense to us anymore, but it was so that the poor could have equal access to worship.

Heidi Wilcox:
Oh, that’s interesting.

Bishop Linda Adams:
So instead of wealthy people, having all the good seats and the poor people standing in the back, that comes right out of the book of James too, doesn’t it?

Heidi Wilcox:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). It does.

Bishop Linda Adams:
So it was like we wanted the poor to be welcomed with dignity and to be participating in all that. So anyway, we have life giving holiness. Not life sapping definitions of what it means to be holy, by the way. Love driven justice. Christ, compelled multiplication. Because the other piece is that we’ve been flat-lined. We grew really fast for 30 or 40 years and then we settled into someplace comfortable and plateau or shrank in the United States. Around the world, we’ve grown amazingly.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yes, isn’t that interesting?

Bishop Linda Adams:
Like 94% of us are outside the United States. So that’s where the million, we wouldn’t be anywhere close to that if we only counted the United States. And then the fourth one is cross-cultural collaboration because both here in the U.S and especially actually, as we experience it with the 100 or so countries that we are participating with around the world, we really want our relationship with them to be a two-way street. There’s ways in which we’re investing in leadership development all over the world. But we also learn from our partners where in some cases they’re doing ministry much more effectively than we are.

Heidi Wilcox:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bishop Keith Cowart:
For example-

Heidi Wilcox:
We’re seeing the work of God.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
The multiplication.

Bishop Linda Adams:
Yeah.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
The church is multiplying rapidly around the globe and we’re beginning to say, “Okay, what can we learn from our brothers and sisters around the world about how to do that more effectively here?”

Bishop Linda Adams:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). And then the last value of the Free Methodist way is God-given revelation. And some people have thought, “Well, did you put that there last because it’s the least important?” And it’s like, “No, no, no. That’s like the mic drop.” This is short. This is non-negotiable. We are people of the book. And so as we then began to unpack that and start sharing it in our different conferences, there’s been a lot of resonance. There’s been a lot of buy-in and in this polarized world that we’re living in. And of course that’s part of what happened during COVID. It wasn’t only just COVID, it was all the political divide and it was issues, the reckoning around race and then the responses to that and issues around and masking and social distancing and all the…

Bishop Linda Adams:
The church shows signs of being as crazy divided, as you could imagine, more than ever in our lifetime. But as we’ve been helping the church to believe in this Free Methodist way, as one integrated whole, it has helped to pull us toward the middle. We want to be people of the middle way, as Wesley said, the both end and not fringed out on either side.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
That’s right.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And it’s really, we just see that it’s been God helping us to come to our senses and listen to one another better. Not that we’re all the way there, but it’s, we hope it’s getting down into the soil of the movement.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
The other piece that I would say has been, equally important, is a shift in the way we’re thinking about the relationship between the denomination and the local church. In the sense that we want to make sure that we understand, those of us who are in leadership, that we exist to equip, empower and strengthen the local church. A local church does not exist to prop up the denomination.

Heidi Wilcox:
Oh yeah.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
To support the denomination, the denomination’s here to serve the local church. And so we also spent months around the question of trying to come to a place of great clarity around the mission, vision, and values of the denomination for the local church. This is not replacing the love God, love people, make disciples. That’s the mission of the church.

Heidi Wilcox:
Right.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
But how do we understand our role in equipping serving and leading local churches to fulfill the gospel? And so that’s also, along with the Free Methodist way coming to clarity about… And for us, what grew out of it was this sense that God is not calling us to build an empire, an institution. We want to be a part of igniting a spirit fuel movement that catalyzes the multiplication of churches and leaders. And that has become our focus, is how do we do that? How can we help play a role in igniting that movement?

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah. Yeah. You hinted at this earlier, and you were talking about it as well. What does it mean to make disciples? Not just in the U.S, but learning from the global church as you talked about to make disciples?

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Well, one, it is getting back to the way Jesus did it and I’ll just speak very candidly here and transparently from my own experience. I think there was a point as a pastor where I believed we were making disciples. And we were, to some degree. I mean, there were people coming out of our church that went on the mission field that were clearly living out their faith, very openly, wherever they were.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
But I will say, I think we were largely counting on a more organic approach to discipleship. Well, if people will come and listen to the message and apply what they’re hearing and if they’ll get involved in a small group and if they’ll find a place to serve, well, discipleship will just happen. But Jesus didn’t assume that. I mean, Jesus poured his life into a few, with the goal of seeing them do the same thing. That’s the multiplication piece. And I think what we see around the world is, the world is growing so rapidly. The Free Methodist global is growing so rapidly because they’re just doing that. I mean really discipling in a personal life to life, life on a few kind of way. And it’s so much more effective than this kind of, organic, I hope it happens-

Heidi Wilcox:
Right.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Approach.

Heidi Wilcox:
Right. That makes sense. Yeah.

Bishop Linda Adams:
I’m impressed and amazed with what I see in the 17 countries in Latin America that I have something to do with. Our area director there is Dr. Ricardo Gomez.

Heidi Wilcox:
Oh yes.

Bishop Linda Adams:
Who also happens to be affiliated with Asbury and has his doctorate from here, but there’s a wonderful leadership system. There’s a vision and there’s a mission. And then there’s 19 courses where they’re developing leaders with all online courses, but you can’t just take the class. You have to be a part in a mentorship group, in a Wesleyan band for support and ongoing spiritual formation. And so there’s an integrated, very intentional system. But actually, the result of that is that we’ve had about 700 new churches during the pandemic.

Heidi Wilcox:
Wow.

Bishop Linda Adams:
During the last couple years. When we call them churches, many of the them would be small. We talk about relational discipleship. We’re talking about a dozen people meeting in a house or a courtyard or a city park or wherever. And they’re investing deeply in one another’s lives. And so the one anothers of the New Testament are part of discipleship, right? We are related to each other. We care for each other. And of course there have been a lot of losses during COVID. People have lost jobs. People have lost loved ones. Some of our own pastors have died. We’ve had losses along the way, but during this really hardship time, there’s an overwhelming sense of joy and progress that God is not done with us yet, that God is going to help us be a part of transforming all of Latin America. That’s how big their vision is.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And it’s happening in marvelous ways.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Yeah.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And so, they give me some credit for it and I really deserve none. I just cheer them on and pray for them and check in from time to time.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah. I love that. Well, this has been a really wonderful interview. I have one question to ask everyone. But before I do that, is there anything else you’d like to say that I didn’t know to ask or that we haven’t talked about yet?

Bishop Linda Adams:
I think you’ve covered a lot.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Yeah. Yeah.

Bishop Linda Adams:
I’m fine. My heart is clear.

Heidi Wilcox:
All right. Very good. Very good. So the one question we ask everyone, because the show is called The Thrive with Asbury Seminary Podcast, what is one practice that is helping you thrive in your life right now?

Bishop Keith Cowart:
My response is going to go straight to something that came out of Asbury indirectly through JD Walt, and Seedbed. Early this year, JD talked about the importance of hearing the word of God, hearing a word from God. And he specifically challenged us through the daily text to find a scripture that would be that word.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
A lot of times, we go into the new year and like well my word this year, my word is…

Heidi Wilcox:
Right, right.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Mercy or grace or whatever. And he’d say “No, find a scripture, that really is a word that got us speaking to you.” And the Lord led me to Psalm 86 and it is such a powerful word. And what JD really said was dig so deep into that scripture, whatever it is, dig into it deeply, pray it continually. And like Linda was talking about, first thoughts in the morning, last thoughts at night, I find myself praying this prayer or praying this Psalm early in the morning, late at night and often when I feel distracted. And so this, I’ve been finding myself just through the memorization and deep praying of scripture to be something that is really shaping me right now.

Heidi Wilcox:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bishop Linda Adams:
I’ll give a little plug for the daily text too. I mean, to have been grounded for a year and a half goes against my preferred way of being. I love people, I love travel and I had to learn how to be okay with slowing down, settling down and I needed some routine in my life. And so really the first couple hours of every morning, I have my coffee and I’m alone with God. I always listen to the Daily Text and I have another one, Pray As You Go, that I listen to that. Music finds a way a pathway into my soul like nothing else. And so I have another daily practice that involves music, scripture, Ignatian questions about the text and then a repeating of the scripture, just the routine of that. And really, I started as soon as I became a Bishop and I moved into this house with my husband in Holland, Michigan, and I thought, “How on earth am I supposed to do this big ministry from this little house just sitting here every day?”

Bishop Linda Adams:
Of course then, of course there’s Zoom and there’s all this contact with people, but I also needed to settle into a pattern of being okay. And the very first few months of it all, the Lord just drew my attention. There’s a willow tree out the window in the room where I sit every morning and Psalm 1 came to my mind. “I want to be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bears fruit in its season. It’s leaf doesn’t wither.” And then it says, “Whatsoever, that person does, will prosper.” And I thought that tree doesn’t even move. How’s it doing anything that prospers? It’s standing still. But then it just became a food for my soul that, you know what, the Lord’s not going to measure my value and even my productivity by how frenetic my activity is. It’s just not necessary. And so I’ve learned a different rhythm. And I feel like I’m thriving in that.

Heidi Wilcox:
Yeah. I love that. Well, thank you both again. So very much. I really, really enjoyed our conversation.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Thank you.

Bishop Linda Adams:
And you’re delight to talk with.

Bishop Keith Cowart:
Yeah. Absolutely.

Heidi Wilcox:
Thank you.

Bishop Linda Adams:
What a smile. I wish you all could see her smile.

Heidi Wilcox:
Hey everyone. Thank you so much for joining me for today’s conversation with Bishop Linda and Bishop Keith. I don’t know about you, but I really enjoyed learning more about their journey and hearing about God’s faithfulness to them over the years. And his vision that he is revealing through them for the church, not just in the U.S, but the global church around the world. If you see them and know them, be sure to tell them, “Thank you so much for being part of today’s conversation.”

Heidi Wilcox:
As always, you can follow Asbury Seminary in all the places on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @asburyseminary. Until next time I hope you’ll go do something that helps you thrive.