By Sharon Mager
Joshua Vogt, a native of western New York and recently called pastor of Mt. Airy Baptist Church (MABC) in Mt. Airy, Maryland, says MABC’s strength is its people. “There are unfriendly churches, and some are ‘fake friendly,’ but this church is truly loving, and it will serve us well moving forward,” he explained.
Vogt, who follows in the footsteps of BCM/D Church Services Consultant Mike Trammell, who pastored MABC for a quarter-century, added, “There’s not a single second I have not felt welcome.”
While sharing about his spiritual journey, Vogt said he recalls attending a large children’s church service when he was about 6. The children’s pastor said, “If you don’t know Jesus, come forward and repeat these words.” Then he told the kids they were Christians. Vogt recited the words but was a bit confused. Others said he was a Christian, and said he now had to “do” certain things and act differently.
The young Vogt learned a lot about the Bible, but he knew he wasn’t where he needed to be. “Looking back, there was a lot of sinfulness and pride in my heart, even as a kid,” he remembered.
At 15, he moved in with this dad in Buffalo, New York, and he stopped going to church. “That’s part of the reason I know I wasn’t saved,” he said. “I had no interest.”
But God was pursuing Vogt. “I lived that first summer going to the beach, relaxing, and having a good time. One day, I was walking down the street, past a Baptist church, and they had an outdoor concert. I began hanging with the teens, and then I was there every time the church was open. I still was not a Christian, but I liked being back in church again, and I believe that was God’s hand on my life,” he added.
Vogt said he graduated high school with a plan, but that plan fell apart, as they often do. God had a better one.
One Sunday in May 2000, Vogt heard a message that cut him to the quick. The pastor said, “if you are sinning, and He is convicting you, then that’s a good thing because that means He’s in your life and working with you and on you. If you sin and don’t care, I doubt whether or not you’re saved.’”
Vogt was immediately convicted. “I’d go out and do whatever I wanted, and I didn’t care. I realized I was nothing but a Pharisee,” he said. “I repented and gave my life to Christ.”
Vogt said that while he planned to live a normal life for Christ, God wanted him in a more direct capacity in ministry. “The call was almost immediate,” he recalled.
Surrendering at once, he was baptized in August and left for Practical Bible College in Johnson City, New York. He later attended the Northeast Campus of Mid-American Baptist Theological Seminary in Schenectady, New York, where he earned his Master of Divinity.
He pastored churches in New York and Arkansas before God called him to Mt. Airy.
“I’m excited to be here and with the convention,” he said.
Vogt arrived in August and his immediate task has been to lead the church in continued spiritual growth. “We are more than even a church, we are the body of Christ, and we are here with a purpose, and we’ll be pursuing what that purpose is,” he emphasized.
In the coming year, Vogt said he wants to concentrate on being more visible in the community, serving at events and festivals, and building relationships.
“There are no shortages of churches,” Vogt observed. “When people are struggling, have questions, are seeking something greater, I want our church to pop into their minds.”
Vogt met his wife, Alicia, on the first day of his freshman year in college. They have been married for almost 17 years, and they have five children: Adeline, 15, Ella, 13, Caleb, 11, Benjamin, 9, and Charlotte Grace, 8. Alicia works as a teacher in the church’s preschool.
The couple enjoys playing games, and hiking, though, he laughs, with the church and the kids, they don’t have a lot of spare time.