The newly elected mayor of Rosenberg, Texas, and First Assembly of God member views governing as ministry.
"It is a good thing I got into ministry first before I entered public service," says Mayor Cynthia McConathy, who is also a certified AG minister. "Both are all about serving others."
McConathy began her first term June 2 as mayor of the city of 36,000 residents, after serving two terms as a council member. Rosenberg is located 35 miles southwest of downtown Houston. McConathy believes prayer is foundational to her public service.
"Prayer is everything," she says. "We are fallible. We may think we are qualified because of experience and education, but I want to make sure that I know the heart of God concerning the decisions I have to make."
McConathy says each council meeting begins with prayer and that she takes the opportunity to focus on God's guidance for impending decisions.
"It is important to lead by example," she says. "When it is my turn to pray, people often ask why I end it in Jesus' name. They remind me there are many religions represented in our area. I appreciate that, but at the same time I end the prayer with Jesus' name because that is what I believe."
Leading by example, she says, means standing on principle. She says God's law comes first and it must be applied to everyday life and decisions.
McConathy says compromise can be an important part of leading, but she has seen too many times leaders are swayed by worries about re-election and fundraising.
"I am not willing to compromise on too many things," she says. "There are some principles you just can't compromise on. Most people later appreciate your integrity."
Spiritual hunger in her teen years led her to investigate many different faiths. As an adult, it was the relationship she developed with a Methodist co-worker that served as a catalyst for a renewed commitment to Christ.
McConathy received the baptism in the Spirit and says her passion for outreach subsequently intensified. She met Rosenberg First Assembly God Senior Pastor Deborah Prihoda in 2009 while serving on a committee planning a community-wide Easter outreach.
The two hit it off, and McConathy began worshipping at the church in 2010. Prihoda says McConathy has become an important leader helping train others for more effective outreach.
"We are so excited for her election," Prihoda says. "We are thankful to have a true Christian in leadership who can have a positive influence on the community. She is very godly and even keeled. I have never had to doubt anything entrusted to her care."