"There's a Scripture, worded differently in different gospels, which essentially says that Jesus came not to be served, but to serve," Baldwin said. "He sets that example for the Christian community, and it was handed down to me by my family and my community here in southern West Virginia. And as simplistic as it sounds, I love serving others."
Baldwin and his colleagues are leading the church through a difficult time in its history. The denomination last year decided to let local churches decide if gays and lesbians should serve in their pulpits. It was a decision that has caused disagreements among congregants, some of whom oppose it.
"There are churches in the state that are leaving because of that," Baldwin said. "They think it's wrong. They think it's a sin and they're leaving. So yeah, it's a struggle."
As moderator, Baldwin hopes to bring some changes to the church's business meetings. He and others on a committee called the Jeremiah 29.11 mission group wrote their recommendations about what the church should look like in the future. Baldwin co-chaired the committee, along with Todd Wright of Charleston and Tina Vial of Elkins.
"We decided we don't need to do so much business," Baldwin said. "We don't need to go and sit in a church all day and talk to each other."
So plans are that on meeting days, members will spend half the day working on a community service project, or training or education and use the other half for church business.
Baldwin isn't exactly sure how it will look just yet.
"That's probably one of the reasons why they asked me to do this," he said. "Because I proposed this plan and it passed, so they said, 'Well you proposed this plan, you make it happen.'"
At a time when people are not as involved in churches as they were in the past, Baldwin said he agrees with some of the millennial generation's criticisms of the church. Churches can be hypocritical, judgmental and out of touch with peoples' lives, he said.
"The church isn't for saints," Baldwin said. "It's for sinners and broken people like me who need God and need each other.
"I go to church because I need all the help I can get. If we can be that kind of church, the kind that is honest and genuine, concerned about helping others because of our faith, then we'll be on the right track."
Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.