LAKE JUNALUSKA, NC—Dr. Ed Robb, founding pastor of The Woodlands United Methodist Church at The Woodlands, Texas, has been named the 2011 Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church. Hailed as a leader with great vision, faith, and humility, Robb has pastored The Woodlands UMC since its beginning in 1978, when it had just 30 members.
Since then, it has become one of the fastest-growing churches in Methodism, with present membership exceeding 8,400 and an average worship attendance of 4,200. After moving to a new campus in 2001, the church completed an on-site expansion called The Loft, which ministers to the unchurched and those who may have had negative experiences with organized religion in the past. The Woodlands UMC seeks to reach people where they are to bring them into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Under Robb's leadership, the congregation has a strong commitment to missions, both locally and globally. Today, the church funds 94 mission projects, 62 deployed missionaries, with more than $1.5 million annually in funding. Fifty-seven people from The Woodlands UMC have gone on to serve in ministry, either as pastors or in the mission field.
Educated at Asbury College, Robb received a Master of Theology degree from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. He also holds an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Asbury College. In addition to pastoring The Woodlands UMC, Robb also serves as chairperson of A Foundation for Theological Education (AFTE), as a trustee of The Institute of Religion and Democracy, and as a trustee of Asbury Theological Seminary.
The Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church Award is presented annually by The Foundation for Evangelism, to an individual whose personal ministry in evangelism has been recognized throughout the United Methodist denomination. The Foundation for Evangelism is an affiliate of the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church. Founded in 1949 by the late Dr. Harry Denman, the Foundation provides grants for Doctoral Education, Leadership Development, and Leadership Enrichment.