Pastor of Discipleship
Rob Renfroe grew up going to a Methodist church in Texas City, but it wasn’t until a summer youth service that he sensed it might hold the key to his future. A summer youth director very clearly explained the Gospel and how to start a relationship with Christ, and Rob realized that it was a message he didn’t hear often in Methodist churches.
“I began to realize that there were probably a lot of good people who went to church and maybe hadn’t put it all together,” he says. “I didn’t know if I could preach — I didn’t really know what preachers did — but I did sense that people in Methodist churches need to hear this plainly and in a way they can relate to and help them understand the depth of God’s love and His desire to be in a relationship with us as opposed to just having a religion.”
He believes that moment was the beginning of God calling him into ministry. During the ‘70s, he dove headfirst into the Jesus Movement, a revival that saw Hippies coming to know Christ in large numbers. Rob and his friends led events around the city where scores of kids would show up and choose to follow Jesus.
“As I was getting ready to go to college,” Rob explains, “I kind of felt like that’s what I wanted to do, but I thought I needed some kind of lightning bolt experience, and I hadn’t had that.”
A youth director told him, “Rob, you have the desire, you have the gifts, and God’s already using you in this way, so that is a calling.”
Encouraged, Rob moved forward towards a life in ministry. After college at Rice University and a year working with his wife-to-be, Peggy, at a Methodist mission school in Laredo, Rob attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary near Boston.
“I always intended to come back to Texas,” he says about his return upon finishing seminary. He was appointed to The Woodlands UMC, which was only five years old at that point. Dr. Robb and he got along so well that Rob stayed as an associate for six years instead of the typical three.
Rob then took charge of his own church in Atlanta, Texas, near Texarkana. After four wonderful years there, their family returned to Houston to Mission Bend UMC, a church that was having troubles. Within a few years, the church was back on its feet, attendance up and a new facility built.
Rob spent the next three years at First United Methodist Church in Houston before receiving the first of many calls from Dr. Robb to “Come home to The Woodlands,” a promotional slogan the area was using at the time. After having a good laugh, Rob began to really consider the offer.
“He and I spoke, and we realized that we still had these complimentary gifts and passions and areas of emphasis in ministry,” Rob says. “It just made very good sense for me to come here.”
So Rob returned in 2001 to take the position of Pastor of Discipleship and to further the church’s mission to reach those who are unchurched and may not know Christ.
“One thing I’ve always appreciated about our church,” he says, “is that from the very beginning, it’s an outward-focus, both in terms of missions and of reaching people who don’t know Christ.”
One of the ways he is directly involved in that approach is in heading up Quest Men’s Fellowship, which ministers to around 500 men at two weekly meetings. While he was initially hesitant to take on more responsibility since he already had a full-time job, he realized the importance of presenting men with a version of spirituality that appealed to them.
“We’ve been successful with Quest because we treat men like men and talk about real life issues that matter to them,” Rob says.
Rob is also the President of Good News, a national organization committed to the doctrinal integrity and spiritual renewal of the United Methodist Church.
Rob and his wife, Peggy, have two sons, Stephen and Ian.