It was while he was attending Carson Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., that he found out.
At Carson Newman he majored in religion and applied psychology. He wanted to be a Christian psychologist because he’d always had a passion to counsel people.
“I have a sister who has cerebral palsy,” said Sims. “She’s 28 and is fully dependent on my parents. The psychological toll that something like that takes on people amazes me. This idea of living the Christian life, but still dealing with things mentally always fascinated me.”
Sims said that he feels that people need other people to get them through mentally or emotionally challenging places in their lives. He’s always had a passion for doing that.
When he was taking a speech class at Carson Newman, he said he realized the Lord wanted him to do something a little different with his life. After one of his speeches, the teacher went up to him and told him that he had a gift at public speaking.
“I cringed at that,” said Sims. “I realized God was changing what he wanted me to do. He was opening my eyes to what He wanted me to do all along, and maybe I was a little too fearful to admit it. I realized that God wanted me to be a pastor and proclaim the gospel and lead a church. I think He began formulating what kind of pastor I would be and how I would lead a church.”
It was at that moment that Sims suddenly realized he wanted to spend his life being in front of people and leading congregations.
He still has that passion for counseling couples, individuals and families, and he thinks that’s a good thing for all pastors to have because it comes with their job.
“Having that degree under my belt is the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “Psychology is a broad thing.”
He has a dual arts degree in religion and applied psychology from Carson Newman.
Sims recently graduated from Beeson Divinity School at Samford University with a master of divinity.
“Beeson did a tremendous job of helping shape me and prepare me to be the kind of pastor I would be,” he said. “It was there that I came to understand and realize my place denominationally.”
Sims came to Cumberland on Dec. 14. He had been a pulpit supply at a church in Hueytown for two years.
“We looked at several churches when I was finishing up at Beeson,” he said. “We first looked at Piedmont back in June, but I had another semester to go and really wasn’t sure about where I wanted to be. The more we prayed about it, we realized it would be Piedmont.”
Sims said he believes that Piedmont is a diamond in the rough ̶ a hidden jewel.
“The schools attracted us,” he said. “I love how they’re using the school system to progressively grow the community into a quality suburbia.”
He said he has big plans for Cumberland Presbyterian.
“We really want to build the youth and children’s ministries here,” he said. “I’m a firm believer that churches aren’t about numbers. My belief is that if your pour into the people and adequately teach them to be authentic disciples, then the numbers will come without trying. I think a lot of churches get lost in the numbers game and they forget to adequately pour into people building disciples.”
He said he wants to let the youth of his church know that they can make a difference in their schools.
“I want people to know God and walk with God,” he said. “We’re so excited about that. With a community that’s as connected as it is to its schools and churches, I think amazing things can happen in Piedmont.”
He and his wife, the former Lindsey Reed, grew up together in Corner, which is at the corner of Jefferson County, above Gardendale, adjacent to Blount and Walker counties. They graduated from Corner High School. They have three children. Victoria, 7, is in first grade at Piedmont Elementary. Christian, 5, goes to pre-school at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville. Juliet was born Dec. 23.
He confesses to being a sports nut.
“I like to run, and exercise,” he said. “One job that I had in school was a personal trainer for a while. I’m looking forward to getting back into biking, hiking and just being outdoors.”
Contact Margaret at email@example.com.