Check back over the next six weeks as we get to know the Newsom family better, learn more about Les and hear about the decision making process that led to his nomination from our Pulpit Nominating Committee.
Week 1: Les’ Background
written by Les Newsom
I am originally from Memphis, Tennessee. I stayed home to attend college at Memphis State University and worked with the youth group at my church. I left Memphis in the summer of 1991 to attend Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. I loved every waking minute of graduate school.
While I was there, I met a lot of people involved in a ministry I had never heard of called “Reformed University Fellowship”. The more time I spent around them the more I wanted to work with them, so after graduating in 1994 from RTS with a Masters of Divinity I headed back to Memphis.
In the summer of 1994, I returned to Memphis State University to start their RUF ministry. That fall, there was a cute young math teacher who kept coming to the cafeteria to hang out with the students and me. Ginger and I were engaged by September of 1995 and married in June of 1996.
In 1999 Ginger (who was pregnant with Anna Grace at the time) and I moved to Oxford, Mississippi, to become the RUF campus minister at Ole Miss. Caroline, my second daughter, came along in January of 2001 and Luke showed up in the summer of 2004.
My 12 years as campus minister at Ole Miss were some of the busiest, craziest, most rewarding, and often heartbreaking years of my entire life. We came to know thousands of students in our 17 years on campus and loved every second of it. However, in 2011 RUF National asked me to take the position of area coordinator for Alabama, Mississippi, West Tennessee, and Arkansas.
For seven years I have put approximately 35,000 miles per year on my car as I traveled to the various campuses in my region. During that time I was able to get to know many young ministers and pastor their families through transition, fundraising, and pastoral development.
Random Questions of the Week
Each week you will find answers to a few random (and sometimes silly) questions that Les and those closest to him have been asked to give us a little more insight into him.
If you could learn anything in a day what would it be?
Les: Honestly, one of the things that drew me to this job was the chance to study to prepare lessons again. I consider it a fantastic day if I have learned one more way in which every place the scripture points to Jesus. Mining the Bible for those insights is the greatest privilege and joy of of any preacher. I know that sounds like a Sunday school answer, but I kinda mean it.
What do you miss most about being a kid?
Les: Honestly, not much. My mother will tell you that as a child all I ever wanted to be was a grown-up. My parents were lay leaders in our church for the college department, so I have never known a time when I did not have college students in my home. That influence made me wish that I was older. I couldn’t imagine serving at a church that wasn’t in a college town. They have been my anchor for my entire life.
How would your closest friends answer this question: What makes Les laugh the most?
Les: People falling down. I raised my children on America’s Funniest Home Videos and most of the loudest laughter can be heard while watching episodes of that show. That said, it doesn’t take much to make me laugh, mostly due to the dialogue going on inside my head I would rarely share with anyone out loud.