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Meet the Elder: John Going

Story told by John Going on October 24, 2016

Name: John Going, Elder Class of 2019                 

Occupation: I own a small company that specializes in showing physicians and their families how to make smart choices with their finances.

Family info: Shannon and I married in 1999. Our three boys, Jack (almost 11), Henry (8) and Daniel (5) are quite active and keep us on our toes.

Where are you from? Houston What’s the best thing about your hometown? Like most Houstonians, I love the 5 months summers replete with 115% humidity. Kidding, of course. The best thing about Houston is the people. Spending much of my time for work in the medical center it’s apparent that we have some of the best minds in the world and a wealth of diversity.

How did you find your way to FPC? I was baptized at FPC before my parents transferred their membership to Memorial Drive since they were on the west side of town. After college, and just before Shannon and I were married, we went church shopping around Houston. With my grandmother having been a member since the 1950s, we gave FPC a chance and felt called to FPC in part due to the preaching of Vic Pentz. 

Why did you keep coming back? Being young and engaged we didn’t have a lot of peers upon moving back to Houston from Austin. The Trinity Sunday School class was a place where we could find folks like us – young, married/engaged and (at that time) mostly without children. When Vic announced he would be leaving our church, we were part of the first new members class to join after this announcement. It was clear this was our church home, despite knowing the pastor who attracted us to FPC would soon be leaving.

What is playing on your iPod/computer right now? I’m listening to Henry’s 4th “Birthday Mix” on my phone. When he turned four, the venue that was hosting his birthday party asked us to bring a CD to play over the speakers. I believe they were expecting it to be something in the vein of Raffi or a Disney soundtrack. Since Henry is every bit the music fan as I, we put our heads together and created a collection of some of his favorite songs at the time, highlighted by artists like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, the Beastie Boys and AC/DC. This has become an annual tradition four years later, and his favorites are for the most part mine too, although I can grow weary of the constant playing of Weird Al.

What is your favorite Houston restaurant? Food! That’s what I should have said was the best thing about my hometown. Gotta go with Masraff’s. Although it’s no longer the intimate dining experience inside a French country chateau, having moved to a more modern space near the Galleria, it’s great food and entertaining people watching.

What do you love about our city? Definitely the recent successes of our sports teams. (That answer, much like said teams, is a joke.) I’ve already mentioned some great things about this town so I’ll add that it’s nice to have a strong economy during a time that much of the country is struggling financially. While lower oil prices have been a burden, we’re much more diverse in employment than we were during a similar time in the ‘80s.

What countries have you traveled to? Canada, Mexico, The Netherlands, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Germany. We have (very) tentative plans to visit Iceland in the next couple of years. Oh, and I almost forgot Texas.

What do you do for fun and relaxation? Play outside or on the Wii with the kids, basketball, and play music – guitar, piano and my wife’s favorite, drums.

If you could have brunch with 3 people from history, who would you choose? Mr. Burns, Dr. Nick and Hank Scorpio. I would prefer it to be over afternoon tea as opposed to brunch.

Who has been a mentor for you in the Christian faith? My parents and the readings of CS Lewis, particularly during my college years.

What is your greatest hope for the church? I imagine you’ll hear this answer from a lot of other elders, but I am excited to see Vision 2020 manifest itself in our congregation. Along these lines, I would love our church to be known among the residents of Houston as being a place of hope where all are welcomed. I hope our church can be the manifestation that God is love.

Discuss a bit of your faith journey. I’ve been a Christian all my life. With the ups and downs of a faith life, one constant seems to be evident: God is good and reveals his Word to us. Although I’m not always fully aware of this, God has set me back on the right course in the times I’ve strayed off the path. The Lord has blessed me with a loving wife and family, a great church, fantastic neighborhood, lasting friendships and a fulfilling career. Sometimes it’s easier to feel God’s presence in the hard times. The real challenge for me is recognizing the blessings right before my eyes and using those to be a blessing to others.

What are some of the mission/service programs that excite you? I think one of the overlooked “missions” that is a strength of our church is teaching. Although we frequently think of missions involving getting outside of our own walls, it’s vital that we foster spiritual growth within our congregation. We have fabulous teachers within our membership in addition to our pastors. I am humbled when asked to teach Sunday School and pray that these lessons help grow our knowledge of God and his transforming Word. Now that our boys are getting older, we also would like to participate in a mission trip outside Houston.

What service do you attend? Sunday School class? We probably attend 8:15 most often, although in the past several months we’ve attended all four services at least once. I teach adult Sunday School and occasionally drama for the preschoolers which keeps me inconsistent in any one class; however, Life Together has been my home base.

Interesting facts

  • Served as Deacon at University Presbyterian Church in Austin
  • Wrote and directed a short film about a brick
  • Co-wrote and recorded an album containing a leaf blower solo; recorded two other albums with songs about astronaut chimpanzees and a socially maladjusted alligator
  • I brew beer faster than I can drink it
  • My wife and I met before either of us was 2 years old; we didn’t get married right away
  • The Longhorn Network is my favorite TV channel