Pastor Bo Ireland is the Associate Minister of Congregational Care at Southern Hills.
My name is Bo Ireland and I have been married to my wife, Alanna, for 24 years. We have three children: Tarron (22), Magnolia (18), and Ezra (16). Before committing to fulltime ministry, I owned and operated my own general contracting firm in Norman for 23 years (closed in 2018). Nine years ago, I decided to return to school and finish the degree I had originally begun in 1993. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Christian Ministries from Mid-America Christian University in 2012 and completed my Master of Divinity from St. Paul’s School of Theology in 2018. I am currently pursuing ordination in the UMC as an ordained elder.
I have previously served as the associate pastor at Moore First UMC with my emphasis in discipleship in and out of the church and pastor of the Moment contemporary service. Before this I served as half-time bi-vocational pastor for Wayne United Methodist and enjoyed serving the Wayne community for five years. I am very active in Alcoholics Anonymous and I am sober for 14 years. It was through AA that I found my way back to the church and found a new concept of God. It was at St. Stephen’s United Methodist church that I found theological doorways, minds, and hearts open wide enough for a desperate and broken man to find God’s grace and have a renewed call to ministry.
My wife has a degree in Education from OU and teaches writing and tutors students in the Norman area. She also works as an administrative assistant at McFarlin UMC. She is discerning a call to ministry as an ordained deacon and has begun applying to seminaries. We homeschooled our children and remain connected to the local homeschool community. Our oldest son, Tarron, has an apartment in the Norman area and is exploring education in the medical field. Our daughter, Magnolia, has graduated high school and enjoys sewing, 4-H, and costuming for theater productions. She is working in the Norman area as a childcare professional. Ezra is very active with 4H and his robotics team went to nationals in Houston this year. Our children are very active in the Norman Medieval Fair and you can usually catch them performing in the human chessboard. In addition, our family enjoys hiking, camping, and travel. All who know me know I love order, transparency, and clarity. That said, I love my God, my family, my church, my recovery community, in that order, oh, and motorcycles.
Two areas of ministry I am passionate about include recovery ministries and restorative justice. I am passionate about a God who meets us “in the dirt”. As Christ met me in the dirt of a dark night of the soul, dealing with addiction and alcoholism, so I am called to share that moment when I was bought to recovery and restoration through Christ with others. I have found that in being attentive to the holy spirit’s leading I am gifted with an intuitive sense, disarming authenticity, and spiritual transparency, that allow me to recognize and minister to the least, lost, and broken. I am affirming and inclusive in extending God’s love and call to All who seek God’s mercy through Christ and affirm embracing All God’s kids, empowering them for ministry regardless of race, nationality, age, education, status (or lack of), gender, political or religious affiliation, or sexual orientation. I am empowered through Christ Jesus to experience God in recognizing, as Tex Sample says in Earthy Mysticism, “God who surprises us, one who comes in the ordinary and the seamy. It is about a God who will goose you. It is about the mystical moments when clearly the only thing that finally matters is this God who will never leave us alone”. I am one of those who has had the experience of God presented through Christ in the mystical redemption of the desperate. I am I one who practices mysticism (reveling in the mystery of God) through piety (Christian discipline) in the determined effort to deepen my relationship with God and share what I have found with a broken world in need of God’s love.
My favorite scripture Philippians 3:10 (AMP) “It is my determined purpose that I may know Christ and may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His person more strongly and more clearly, and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection, sharing in His sufferings as to be continually transformed in spirit into His likeness even to His death.” I am looking forward to getting to know the Southern Hills faith community and am very excited to practice discipleship in service, outreach, and evangelism to All God’s kid’s through this partnership with Skyline Urban Ministry and Southern Hills UMC.