by Alyssa Handel '03
Brian Orme ‘96 surprised a lot of people with his writing. Everyone, that is, but himself. Deep-down he’d always enjoyed it—journaling about life’s daily struggles and joys, writing the occasional poem or piece of fiction. In a sense, this “hidden” passion was as constant and vital as his ever-changing relationship with Christ. Now, it’s as public as his ministry: freelance religion writer for the Dayton Daily News, and other associated press newspapers, and associate pastor for Community Grace Brethren Church in West Milton, Ohio.
While at Cedarville University, no one seemed to realize the theology student had a knack for stringing words together. “I didn’t really break that out during my years at college,” the 1996 graduate recalls. In describing his experience, Orme says he went from “late-bloomer” to focused follower. “I changed from aimlessly wandering to being specific and really wanting to follow Christ—to do something with my life, to encourage others and be a part of ministry, too.”
Orme earned his Bible degree from Cedarville and went on to Phoenix Seminary, where for the first time he considered writing more seriously. Returning to Ohio after graduating, Orme became involved with youth ministry and began submitting articles and short devotionals to youth worker journals and magazines.
“I got my first piece published in Relevant magazine,” he says. “That’s probably what triggered it all. I loved that experience and loved to tinker around with the words and craft it and write it in a way that connected with me and, hopefully, connected with other people as well.”
After writing for Relevant for over a year, Orme became the church section editor for their new Website and gained valuable experience editing, writing and dealing with other authors. It was just the platform he needed to boldly enter the world of media. He submitted his first piece to the religion section of the Dayton Daily News, a position he’s continued to find success in.
Besides serving as associate pastor for Community Grace Brethren, Orme has worked with the creative teams and young adults ministries for nine years. For Orme, pastoring and writing go hand-in-hand. “What I provide is something that will point people to ask the right questions, search Scripture and come to God, making sure we’re not just following blindly because it’s something we’ve been told, but because it is truth that is found in Scripture.”
Perhaps that’s why Orme passionately fights the stigma of an un-Christian media. “I have a different view [about writing/journalism],” he says. “I don’t just have the view that I want people to read my article and get saved every week. If I could do that, that would be wonderful, but I’ve been given this outlet in the newspaper to create and talk about current culture and religion. And I hope to do that in a way that points to the Cross. Sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes there are more questions to be asked to lead someone there, but that’s the goal.”
Orme encourages people to keep a balanced view if God has laid it on their hearts, to enter into the media and “redeem” it. “I’ve had lots of calls, comments and feedback, lots of conversations with people about the Gospel because of things that I’ve written. And others who’ve said they’ve been really encouraged, saying those were just the questions they were asking or just the answer they were looking for.”
So while Orme is busy with full-time ministry at his church, along with being husband to his wife, Jenna, and dad to three young boys, he’s still committed to making time to write—often late in the evening or early in the morning while the kids are still asleep. He’s currently studying the short story form and intends to write more fiction, hoping to create stories that relate to others and ultimately point to Christ.
“There’s this side of me that’s been hidden, but, deep down, it’s a part of me I really love. And I think it blends into my pastoring,” Orme says. “When I write and prepare my sermons, I can see how the craft connects to God’s Word. I get a sense for what God has been doing all along—taking something hidden and surprising me by using it in my public ministry—to bring glory to Him.”
Brian Orme and his wife Jenna (Crowe) 96’ live in West Milton, Ohio, where Jenna home schools their three sons (Noah, 8, Sam, 5, and Ethan, 4) and Brian serves as associate pastor of Community Grace Brethren Church. You can visit his website for more information: www.brianorme.com