Rev. Dr. Marty Cauley was a friend and colleague committed to the work of creating new spaces for new people to gather in communion with Jesus Christ. Marty served as the Director of Partner and Planter Development with the Office of New Faith Communities in the NC Conference for five years (2014-2019). One of Marty’s many lasting contributions was the development of the Mary’s Path program which was designed to help existing congregations discern and participate in the co-creation of new faith communities. Marty believed that “Conferences don’t birth churches. Churches birth churches.” The role of institutional leaders was to “simply act as a midwife in the process.” Marty was incredibly gifted at coming alongside congregations and leaders as a holy friend, committed to helping them discern how and where God might be leading them.
In 2020, Marty was recognized for his work and commitment to bringing people into life-transforming relationships with Jesus when he was presented with the Harry Denman Award for Evangelism. In presenting the award to Cauley, Rev. Tim Reaves said at the time, “We cannot think of anybody more deserving [of recognition] for a lifetime achievement of evangelism. In every role you’ve had in the church, it has been about reaching people for Jesus.”1
With Marty’s life and words, he challenged us to live as authentic and vulnerable servant-leaders. He challenged us to stretch ourselves and be uncomfortable and as disciples of Jesus to seek to love our community, listen to our neighbors, and live “in the neighborhoods” to which we were called. Marty wrote, “We have to be willing to make inconvenient and costly sacrifices to live out the calling God has placed upon our lives.” (October 2018, NRS Newsletter)2
Marty also reminded us that “those seeking to be real, radical disciples crave living examples of discipleship, not perfect ones. We crave relationship, not showmanship. We crave community, not just crowds.” (January 2018, NRS newsletter)3. Not only did Marty remind us of these truths, he tried to live his life embodying these values. He authentically shared his life with his friends and colleagues and invited many to journey with him as he journeyed with Jesus through the rejoicing and the pain.
Marty was also not afraid of death, for the church or himself. In one of those vulnerable moments, Marty shared his own journey as a parallel to challenge congregations to consider leaving a legacy for the next generation of disciples. Marty wrote, “Death is inevitable; hope is optional. Let us be resurrection people who allow our hope to live on and our legacy to continue.” (May 2018, NRS Newsletter)4.
Marty will be missed. However, his legacy is strong and will continue. We will always give thanks for his life, his witness, and the ways his work created new spaces for new people to gather in communion with Jesus.