Questions like these, coupled with an increasing population defining themselves as “nones”, with no church involvement provided the “push out of the nest” for Jim and Sharon to not only dip a toe in the waters of being good neighbors but also dive head first into a new God adventure.
In June 2014, after 34 years of being a successful pastor, nine years at Valley Ranch Baptist Church, Jim and Sharon became the founders of Loving Community a faith-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Jim’s business card now reads Community Pastor and Neighborhood Advocate. Their prayer is to develop a way of life and ministry that can be replicated in neighborhoods throughout the world.
Loving Community, this church without walls, seeks to faithfully live out the mission of “being good neighbors by connecting people into relationships and serving the needs of the community”. Based in their town home neighborhood in Lewisville, TX, Jim & Sharon are practitioners of a holistic model of life and ministry, living out the Jesus model, “The Word (Jesus) became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood…” John 1:14 (The Message)
Their daily rhythms are rooted in their community. They build relationships by hosting missional community groups, discipleship huddles, and seeker discussions. They lead teams of neighborhood, business, and church volunteers to serve in schools, senior adult homes, and other ministry venues. Jim provides community pastoral counseling and officiates at weddings and funerals, typically for those with no church involvement. He consults with churches, helping them imagine a missional posture.
Developing strategic community partnerships is a core value of Loving Community. As such, they partner with Communities in Schools of North Texas, having co-developed initiatives such as Boys2Men, Men Who Mentor, Operation Success, and Rockbrook Reading Initiative. Jim coaches missionary residents and oversees resident care through Forge Dallas. Loving Community is the Denton County Regional Champion for Unite – Greater Dallas, an organization helping churches collaborate for the good of their communities. Jim is also an active member of the Lewisville Chamber of Commerce, helping businesses to volunteer in the community via Employee Volunteer Programs.
Loving Community’s daily challenge is expressed in the words of Darrell Guder, “What would a theology of the Church look like that took seriously the fact that North America is now itself a mission field?”
Their prayer is that of the missionary Paul, ”So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much — but well.” Philippians 1:9
You’ve Already Been Sent!
Jim & Sharon