Can church handle its pastor as mayor?

Amy Lisenbe/Nevada Appeal

Amy Lisenbe/Nevada Appeal

Can the Rev. Ken Haskins continue to fulfill the spiritual needs of the 300-member congregation at First Christian Church if he is elected mayor of Carson City in November?

"I don't know how much time the mayor has to put in, but I feel Ken could do it," said associate pastor Gary Bowers, who has been with First Christian Church 17 years.

"I don't see any changes occurring at the church, should he be elected mayor."

"Running the city is not the work of the church," said Haskins. "But city government and the church each have a role in the community. Both are a service to the community."

Had the opportunity or timing for the mayoral race been put to him several years ago, Haskins said, he would not have considered it.

"I have paid staff and volunteers at the church - time won't be my problem," he said. "It takes great skill, administrative skill, to organize a church.

"I'm already involved in the community and have been for many years. I always prioritize and make time for important things.

"And I understand the difference of church and city government. But I wouldn't be surprised if all the candidates have a religious affiliation. I see no difference with the barber (former mayoral candidate Adam Baker, who has decided to run for supervisor) doing his hair cutting. Our faith strengthens us as human beings."

Haskins' duties as pastor include scheduling and organizing paid staff and volunteers, meeting with the church board of elders to discuss financial elements of the church, writing his Sunday sermon, preaching and teaching - three sermons on Sunday and teaching mid-week.

Haskins said the only concerns raised to him is that of the mayor's job being a thankless job and that the mayor gets "beat up on."

"The entire ministry of the church could be negatively impacted," Haskins said. "People have been concerned about my time away from the ministry. It's not been a concern of the congregation, but others, outsiders. Then hey, pastors only work one day a week, right?

"As far as my family, my wife, Cathy, is behind me 100 percent," said Haskins.

The couple has two daughters, Veronica, 29, and Monica, 32, and three grandchildren - Wyatt, 10, Brooklyn, 7, and Madelyn, 7 months. The Haskins family moved to Carson City in July 1980.

Tom Rahme has attended First Christian Church since 1992. He said he has put a considerable amount of thought into Haskins' possible mayoral role.

"I sat down with Ken and voiced my concerns with him on the overall impact this might have on the church," Rahme, 57, said.

"The way he manages his time, I think he'll be able to prioritize and do both (pastor and mayor) without any adverse impact on the church. I don't see him spending any time away from his pastoral duties, which was one of my concerns."

Rahme said there will always be a certain amount of downside to Haskins being mayor, but in the long run would be a positive impact for the church.

"In other words, this will make him even more involved in the community and it may bring some people into the church who may need spiritual guidance. I know Ken and where his heart is. The Lord is his number one concern, as well as the church.

"As Christians, we're scripturally called to be in the community."

Gabe Hull, 40, has been a member of the church about three years. Though he has not spoke with Haskins personally about the possibility of being mayor, he feels it would not hurt the church.

"If anything, it may draw more people to the church to hear him on a different platform," Hull said.

"I think it's better for our pastor to be in the community rather than stuck inside the church building," said Micheal Hurlbert, 27, youth pastor at First Christian Church. "It's something better for the church and community.

"I don't see any conflicts (for Ken) if he is elected, or changes in my role at this time - at least nothing has been asked of me.

"But I'm open to being asked."

• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at or 881-1223.


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