Meet Steve Moss
HOMETOWN: Born in Mexico, Mo. Moved to Muskogee in December 1982.
CAREER: Student minister at Boulevard Christian Church during 1982-1990. Started current duties in family life and Bridge Builders in 1990.
EDUCATION: High school, Rolla, Mo.; Ozark Bible College, Joplin, Mo.
FAMILY: Wife, Dawn. Four sons: Drew, Lane, Tyler, Dylan. Five grandchildren.
HOBBIES: “I like to read, play the drums, listen to music — especially jazz. My wife and I love watching sports together.”
The way Steve Moss bounds down the halls of Boulevard Christian Church, it’s not readily apparent that he’s been at his job almost 30 years.
But, Moss, the church’s family minister, bounces with each step. When he discusses the work he does at the church, his eyes light up. When he mentions something that really fires him up — such as when he felt God calling him into ministry — it almost seems as if he’s ready to leap to his feet — that the couch he’s resting on is a hindrance, bottling up his natural energy.
“I tell people that I’m the guy that really gets paid for doing what he loves to do,” Moss said. “There have been very few days in my 29 years that I have not enjoyed coming to work here.”
Before Moss started at Boulevard, he realized that his passions included family life and helping other people develop healthy habits. As a family minister, he spends the majority of his day helping people become who God created them to be.
“Every day I come to work and everything falls under that heading, it’s a pretty good gig,” Moss said. “Before I even started in student ministry, my mentor asked me, ‘What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?’ I said I could see myself doing marriage seminars and counseling. Now, all this time later, it’s like, son of a gun, that’s exactly what I’m doing.”
The beginning of
a long relationship
It’s not a stretch to say a family minister and marriage counselor should probably have a pretty strong relationship with his wife. Steve Moss married his wife, Dawn, while they were students at Ozark Bible College in Joplin, Mo.
They met during Moss’ freshman year, on the first day of what he calls his “college experience.” Their meeting, it turns out, was foretold.
“I was a drummer in a band with her brother the summer before I went to college,” Moss said. “He said, ‘When you get to Ozark, you should look up my sister.’
“Literally, when I got there, I’m standing in line and she introduces herself to me. I said, you’re not going to believe this, but I’m supposed to look for you.”
Moss said they didn’t start dating until more than a year later, but after 10 months, the two were engaged.
“We got married the summer before my senior year at Ozark,” Moss said. “We actually got married in Wichita, Kan. Her dad was a pastor there.”
That was in 1981. More than 30 years, four children, five grandchildren and a move to Muskogee later, their bond is as strong as ever.
“She’s an amazing woman,” Moss said. “I thank God every day for her and our life together.”
Moving to Muskogee,
joining the church
In 1982, Moss and his wife came to Muskogee for her grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary reception at Boulevard Christian Church’s old building.
While they were there, someone asked Dawn Moss’ mother whether she knew anyone who was looking for a youth ministry position.
“She said yes,” Moss recalled. “And five minutes later, I was talking to someone about it.”
Dawn Moss volunteered for 20 years at the church as a children’s minister. She’s now a staff member, working with elementary school children.
“I’ve always felt that it was God’s plan, like God placed us here,” Moss said. “My heart has always been for broken people, and Muskogee has broken people. I feel like God placed me here, that my heart and gifts fit this community.”
Moss said he was at a Christian conference for young people “a long time ago” when he realized that he was being called to a life of ministry.
“At the time, I felt like where I needed to be was to be helping young people who were struggling with some of the same stuff I had struggled with,” he said.
After about five years of student ministry, Moss realized a more effective way to make a difference.
“I said to myself, man, I have only two hours a week with these kids,” Moss said. “But their parents are with them all the time. Maybe it’s more effective if I can help moms and dads have a strong marriage. I can help young people by helping their parents be good role models. I can help young people more by teaching dads to be spiritual leaders for their family.”
Moss said the church’s elders asked him to become the family minister when they realized how many young families were in the church.
“They came to me and said, you know, we have all these young families, and we need to be taking care of them,” Moss said. “It was a role that needed someone to fill it, and when they asked me if I was interested, I jumped at the chance.”
“I heard in a conference once that only 23.5 percent of all families in America are what we would think of as traditional two-parents-and-kids families,” Moss said. “What I keep coming back to is that so many young people are growing up in homes where the boys have no one to show them what being a man is, what being a man means. It all comes back to family.”
Moss said he’s saddened each time he hears of violent acts in Muskogee. He said the church, to his knowledge, hasn’t been affected directly. But the indirect effects are there.
“We don’t have anyone here that I know of that has lost anyone in one of these shootings we’ve had,” he said. “But if it affects the community and the community morale, it affects us. This is a community that needs hope and that is in need of comfort. The people are more fearful, in a sense.”
When it comes to doing his part to help, Muskogee might not have anyone more qualified than Moss.
“From my angle, it just reminds me that the families here in this community are struggling and more broken than ever,” Moss said. “They are desperately in need of the hope and the truth that we want to be about in our family ministry.”
Moss is the owner of what amounts, pretty much, to a revolving door. Whether it’s planned counseling sessions, phone calls or drop-ins, Moss spends the majority of his day doing the job he loves.
“I’ve always enjoyed seeing people be in an area where they’re in their sweet spot,” Moss said. “Helping them understand where that sweet spot is and why it’s there is an incredible passion for me.”
HOW DID YOU COME TO BE AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE?
“I moved here with my wife, Dawn, after graduating from Ozark Bible College in Joplin, Mo.”
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR FREE TIME?
“I enjoy reading and playing drums. I enjoy hanging out with my children and grandkids and watching sports and talking with my wife, Dawn.”
HOW DO YOU MAKE A LIVING IN MUSKOGEE?
“I work in Family Ministry at Boulevard Christian Church. My responsibilities are twofold. I’d say 80 percent of what I do is developing programming for healthy families — marriage counseling and teaching. The other 20 percent is Bridge Builders, which is completely different. It’s helping people understand their spiritual gifts.”
WHAT WOULD MAKE MUSKOGEE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?
“Because I work in helping families, I see our community existing in broken families. I think a great improvement would be if people would step up to serve as mentors for young people and those needing a positive influence in their life.”
IS THERE AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE YOU ADMIRE?
“I have these three ladies I call my heroes. They’re named Lila Volz, Better Eller and Virginia Little. They’re all 80 years old or older, and they live with this incredible joy that I want to have in my life. Every Sunday, they’re at the front door, smiling and laughing. I hope to be that way.”
WHAT’S THE MOST MEMORABLE THING THAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU SINCE YOU HAVE LIVE IN MUSKOGEE?
“A real memorable moment for me is that when we were overflowing at our other building, our elders were behind us 100 percent when we made the decision to move into a larger building. When, as an eldership, we realized that us moving was what God wanted to happen, it was really memorable.”
HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP MUSKOGEE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS?
“I’ll say this, I’ve always told people that Muskogee is a town of 40,000 people with a much smaller town feel, but some of the social problems of a larger city. At the same time, I’ve always been amazed at people’s genuine willingness to serve and be helpful when there’s a need.”