Though Darren Frazier jokes that his "congregation" of 29,000 people in McPherson County is now down to 900, he said he is glad to have the opportunity to transition from law enforcement to ministry.

Though Darren Frazier jokes that his "congregation" of 29,000 people in McPherson County is now down to 900, he said he is glad to have the opportunity to transition from law enforcement to ministry.

Frazier became an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in McPherson in July. Prior to working in ministry, Frazier joined the sheriff's reserves in 1983 and became a full-time deputy in 1985, working for the McPherson County Sheriff's Department for 23 years. In 2008, Frazier took on the role of director of McPherson County 911 and went on to become head of McPherson County Emergency Management in 2013. Frazier retired from that position in June of this year.

Born in Michigan, Frazier's family moved to McPherson when he was young. Frazier is a graduate of McPherson High School and said he appreciates being a Midwesterner and living in an agricultural area.

"It's a great community, it really is," Frazier said. "I mean, we've got our problems like all other communities do [but] I think as a whole, we've got good people here. McPherson has a lot of industry here that keeps us thriving. It's a good place to live and raise your children."

Frazier said he has felt a call into ministry since he was 10 years old, but he pushed the thought aside until he "just had to answer." In 2000, Frazier began to be more involved with the church. A few years later, witnessing multiple death scenes in his work deeply affected him.

"It was pretty moving for me," Frazier said. "I was able to minister to a couple of families and one [family] actually ministered to me in the middle of all that. In law enforcement, especially in the investigations that I worked in, you tend to tear people down in order to get what you need. I just decided I didn't want to be a part of tearing people down anymore; I wanted to be a part of building people up.”

Frazier began working as a youth pastor for the church, spending 10 hours a week for five years with children there, on top of his other duties.

"Things just kind of steamrolled and the next thing you know, I was offered an appointment here and accepted it," Frazier said. "It's definitely a blessing to be here."

Frazier said being at First United Methodist, which is his wife's home church, has made the change in vocation easier. Frazier also noted Mike Marion, Karen Rice Ratzlaff and Harold Nelson have been "very good role models."

"I get a lot fewer calls at night, which is really nice," Frazier said. "I miss [law enforcement] a little bit — I miss the people and the relationships. I had a lot of guys that I worked with for a long time. But we've got a lot of great people here, and it's a good fit."

In moving from law enforcement to ministry, Frazier said he found there are similarities in that both positions deal with people having their worst days and who are in pain.

"It doesn't matter what people want to come in and chat about, there's not a lot that's going to shock me," Frazier said.

Frazier shared his hopes to make an impact in people's lives through his ministry.

"There's a lot of people who don't know God's love and they have hard lives; their socio-economic [status] is not the greatest. I think that's the biggest thing, to make sure they know God's love through us," Frazier said. "We're a pretty large church and we've got a great mission here being servants of God. That's our mission — to serve others."

For more information about First United Methodist Church, 1200 E. Kansas Ave. in McPherson, visit www.mcphersonfumc.com or call 620-241-3626.