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Pastor Leads Church With a Financial Mind

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Growing up, Rev. Dean Pogue, was immersed in the culture and liturgy of the Presbyterian Church. He was so involved in fact, that he was ordained as an elder of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church before he graduated from high school.

“I’ve done a lot of things in the church; from teaching Sunday school to working as a camp cook for youth retreats to becoming a youth director to consulting on Session retreats. For years I was a ‘semi-pro’ in the Presbyterian Church,” Pogue said.

But although Pogue had a love for ministry, he didn’t respond to God’s call to full-time ordained ministry until much later in life.

After graduating from Memorial High in 1973, the future pastor left his Houston-area life behind and got his BSc. in geology from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. This degree, along with an MBA in corporate finance from the University of Dallas, gave Pogue the chance to become involved in the oil and gas industry and its financing.

“I worked with large financial institutions, and I know how it feels when the price of oil fails and people are laid off,” he said. “I’ve been in oil and gas during economic crises and the ‘boom times.’ Because of that, I can relate to what folks in the pews are feeling.”

It was this connection to working men and women along with his passion for ministry that eventually led Pogue to attend Austin Presbyterian Seminary when he was well into his 40s.

After gaining his M.Div. degree, he was ordained and succeeded Harry Slye as the pastor of Grand Lakes Presbyterian Church, a new body of believers with an old-school, “orthodox” way of serving Christ.

“We believe that we have a strong history that we shouldn’t ignore,” Pogue said. “That history translates into what we call ‘old school’ worship at 9 a.m. and a transitional worship time at 11 a.m.”

The pastor said the first Sunday worship service is indicative of a 1950s church worship service that relies heavy on a Reformed, liturgical style.  A piano and small choir lead what’s effectively a small, chapel service.

Grand Lake Presbyterian’s second service is a bit more modern, with the inclusion of a mini orchestra of trumpets, clarinets and sometimes violins.  But the worship is still very much Reformed in its practice. Pogue said the old-school, liturgical approach unites those who worship, instead of separating them by the kind of music they like.

“We don’t define worship by music,” he said. “It’s defined by the liturgy and the order of worship. Presbyterians have a very distinct Reformed kind of worship.”

The pastor, who is in his sixth year at Grand Lakes, said the style of their services helps the parishioners to remember their sole purpose in attending church—to worship the Lord.

“I discovered an important lesson from the business world:  When you lose sight of your mission and become distracted, your ‘customers’ suffer,” Pogue said. “That’s why we have an intense focus on Jesus.”

The pastor is not only passionate about following Christ, but he also desires to empower leaders among the congregation.

“In our tradition, the best thing a pastor can do is be around a lot of smart people,” he said.

And although he won’t readily admit it, he is also one of the “smart people,” especially when it comes to finances.

“I’ve really focused on the financial aspect that a lot of pastors don’t want to mess with,” he said.

The pastor believes that it’s the church’s responsibility to use God’s assets to do His work. That is partly why Grand Lakes has allowed a myriad of non-profits and local ministries to use their facilities for their activities.

“We have a Coptic church that meets here,” he said. “They are the Egyptian folks who are being murdered by ISIS. There were a bunch of them in the neighborhood, and they asked if they could worship here on Thursday nights, and now they do.”

A Norwegian church, a vocational training program for special needs men and women (“Sweet Heat Jam), and a group that offers counseling all use the space when the Grand Lakes congregation is not.

“We want to do ministry, per square foot, per hour,” Pogue said. “We have a lovely facility, and our leaders like to see it humming with ministry.”

The facility is not only humming during the week, but it is also vibrant on Sunday, when more than 350 people gather to worship.

The church that began at Alexander Elementary School across the street from where it sits now, is located at 6035 South Fry Road in Katy, TX.  Pogue is there every week, ready to talk about everything from the books of the Bible to the ins and outs of Texas high school football.

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