Minister in Dallas, Texas
Minister in Dallas, Texas
Growing up in El Paso, Texas, Dr. Andy Stoker learned to appreciate people from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and passions. As a lifelong United Methodist, Andy found himself called more deeply to ministry with people. He heard God calling him to be a phenomenal weatherman, but that required higher math . . . Then, he heard God calling him to stand-up comedy, but that required a lot of years of Ramen noodles . . . Then, he heard God calling him to share the love of Christ to people who were weathering storms and needed a reminder that God loved them even when the laughing stops.
As Andy was discerning his call to ministry at Texas Tech University, he met a young woman named Megan Callahan; her knowledge of people and faith quickly impressed him. Megan and Andy became partners in ministry and soon found themselves considering partnership for life. After having earned bachelor's degrees, on January 10, 1998, Andy and Megan were married. Megan began work at Children's Medical Center and Andy seminary at Perkins School of Theology.
In 2002, Andy was commissioned an Elder in the North Texas Conference and appointed to First United Methodist Church of Denton. During this appointment, he completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Family Studies from Texas Woman's University. His dissertation research focused on adolescent identity formation in "tweens" and "emerging adults." Most importantly, FUMC-Denton saw Megan and Andy grow their family with two boys: Alex and Wesley.
In 2008, Andy received an appointment to the North Texas Conference as Associate Director of Connectional Ministries. From the Conference, in 2010, he received a Lilly Foundation Fellowship to serve First United Methodist Church of Dallas. After a successful year at Walnut Hill United Methodist Church in Dallas, he returned to FirstChurch, Dallas.
As Senior Minister of First United Methodist Church, in the heart of downtown Dallas since 2013, Andy has forged strong partnerships with numerous civic organizations finding his voice in the areas of advocacy, community outreach and racial reconciliation. During his ministry here, the challenges and opportunities of ministry led him to deepen a mindfulness meditation practice. So, he is finishing the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program through The Awareness Training Institute and the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley with primary teachers, Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield, and mentor Rebecca Hynes.