No Building, So Where Do You Meet? – The Life of a Community Pastor

I can almost always see it coming. A Community Pastor, huh? Then with curious facial expressions come the predictable questions. “So what church do you pastor? Where do you meet?”

Early on in my role as a Community Pastor I would bristle at this line of questioning. Now a few years on my journey outside the walls of the church building, I’m more at ease and can even chuckle, owning my personal fears and insecurities. Recognizing that much of my prior identify was wrapped up in impressive titles, in name brand churches, with big buildings.

Now I simply share with those inquiring that as a Community Pastor I get to help and serve those in my community who for whatever reason(s) don’t find themselves walking into a church building. And that number continues to increase, especially with our younger population.

So in short we get to bring the church to people! As we follow Jesus we are able to live out his ways in our neighborhoods.

  • We get to show his love to kids in our schools.
  • We get to bless and encourage our local businesses, as they give back.
  • We get to provide companionship to those in our senior adult homes.
  • We get to partner with our city officials in building a wonderful community.
  • We get to welcome and offer friendship with refugees and those new to our country.
  • We get to encourage and offer hope and resources to those economically ravaged.
  • We get to celebrate with couples being married and mourn with those grieving losses of loved ones.
  • We get to train others in a missional way of living.
  • We get to parter with and train faith communities in helping them be a blessing to the community and embracing their sentness.

So what exactly you ask does a Community Pastor do to populate his/her calendar? What does it look like? Thanks for asking!

As I reflect on this past week and my time investment, these are some of the ways and places and images of how I was able to be the church, and bring the church, and love my neighbors as Jesus asks us to do.

  • Spoke and prayed over the ribbon cutting ceremony for a project by Leadership Lewisville at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Denton County.
  • Worshipped with my friends at Vista Ridge UMC on Palm Sunday.
  • Spoke at the church services at Arbor House and Vista Ridge Nursing Home.
  • Presided over the funeral service of Wille Mae Sails at Mukley Mason Funeral Home.
  • Officiated at the wedding of Tristan Hack & Kortney Longoria at the Flour Mill.
  • Met in local coffee shops and provided pre-marital counseling with two engaged couples for their future weddings.
  • Along with AP Melvin Owens from Lewisville HS – Harmon picked up suits from International Suit Wearhouse for the young men in our Men of Distinction mentoring program.
  • Mentored and/or read with the students at Rockbrook Elementary School via Rockbrook Reading Initiative and Boys2Men.
  • Led high school mentors from Lewisville HS Student Counsel in mentoring 6th graders at Durham MS.
  • Hosted our neighborhood community group on our front lawn for a cookout.

During this Holy Week and as we remember and seek to embody the ways and life of Jesus, I offer to you the words of St. Matthew as he gives us a window into the priorities of Jesus and his Kingdom.

“Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!” ~ Matthew 9:36-38 The Message

May it be so with us as we love our community!

Jim

John 1:14

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