Ott receives ministry award
Rev. John Ott, pastor of Parkway Wesleyan Church in Roanoke, Va., received the Virgil A. Mitchell Excellence in Pastoral Ministry Award during a ceremony Feb. 10 at Southern Wesleyan University in Central.
The award holds special meaning for Ott, who as a child would sometimes tag along with his grandfather to his job as custodian at The Wesleyan Church headquarters when Dr. Mitchell was general superintendent.
“Every now and then (Dr. Mitchell) would pass me in the halls and pat me on the head. He would always call my grandpa ‘Rev. Ott,’ even though he was the janitor,” Ott said.
Mary Mitchell, Dr. Mitchell’s widow, said she is thrilled that Ott, whom she has known for many years, was named the recipient of this year’s Mitchell Award.
University President David Spittal praised Ott as a shepherd pastor to his congregation as well as to his colleagues. Spittal noted that during his 19-year pastorate, Parkway Wesleyan has grown from an average attendance of 70 to more than 1,000.
“He strongly believes in the power of the ministry of the local church and he actively disciples his congregation to maturity in Christ and has a passion for the lost,” Spittal said, adding that Ott is a strong supporter of his district and of Southern Wesleyan University. “Under his leadership and in the midst of constructing and financing a beautiful new worship center, this church has been faithful to its obligations to the ministry, to the denomination and to this school.”
Expressing his appreciation, Ott said that the current economic crisis presents pastors with their “finest hour.”
“We’ve all taken our hits,” said Ott, adding, “everything we have invested in the local church, even this year, is returning great dividends. Everything we’ve invested at Parkway and Southern Wesleyan is still returning a hundredfold even this year.”
Ott also serves as a district representative to the board of trustees of Southern Wesleyan University. Spittal quipped that Ott is also an enthusiastic fan of the 2007 championship Southern Wesleyan women’s basketball team of which his daughter Stephanie was a member.
The purpose of the Virgil A. Mitchell Excellence in Pastoral Ministry Award is to encourage excellence in ministry, enhance the importance of pastoral ministry, to recognize service to the church and support of Southern Wesleyan University, to emphasize the value of ministerial training offered at the university and, most of all, to exalt the greatest preacher of them all -- the Lord Jesus Christ. The award includes a presentation plaque presented by Mary Mitchell, a monetary gift and first consideration for eligibility for the Virgil and Mary Mitchell Scholarship to a ministerial student attending Southern Wesleyan and attending the recipient’s church.
Dr. Mitchell was named Southern Wesleyan University’s Alumnus of the Century at a ceremony in May of 2006.