What I love about being a CITY Pastor
I love being a CITY Pastor. I’m not talking about being a pastor in a “city” per se, as opposed to a rural community. When I say “C.I.T.Y.”, I mean “Church in the YMCA”. I am a Pastor of a church in the YMCA, and here’s what I love about God’s calling on my life:
I love being a Pastor.
Besides being a pastor of a Church in the YMCA, I love being a shepherd of God’s people. There is no greater joy than being able to see God’s people receive God’s word and grow in Him. I love preaching the bible and seeing it shape and mold people more to look like Jesus. I love sitting across the table with other men, discipling them to be godly husbands, intentional fathers and faithful churchmen. I love sitting in my living room with my wife and counseling couples through hardships and suffering. I’m so grateful to be a pastor, and I love it.
But there is something about being a pastor of a Church in the YMCA that I especially love. As a Pastor, I’m called to model Jesus. When the Son of God came to earth, He spoke of his life and ministry as one that brings people far from God near (Eph 2:13). This means that if I’m to model Christ, I get to bring the message of Christ to those outside my church as well. Being in the Y gives myself and our church a people group to minister to and a place to do it in.
I love our PEOPLE GROUP.
Our church meets in a YMCA. We’re not there because we’re waiting for a building. We’re not there because it was cheaper rent than the movie theater down the road. We are there on purpose and mission. Missiologists (people that study missions) speak of missionaries targeting certain people groups. There’s strategy and careful thought to where you minister and who you are trying to reach. Churches that meet in the YMCA are immediately given a people group because the YMCA is people!
Being in the Y gives myself and our church a people group to minister to and a place to do it in.
Most people in America think of the YMCA as simply a “gym and swim”. But think of it like this, the YMCA is people. Our local YMCA is a day care. This means there are close to eighty-eight families that are sending their children to a common location. These eighty eight families and twenty-five staff each have challenges they are facing, anxieties that are keeping them up at night and spiritual needs. My Dad always says, “You may be the only bible some people ever read.” It is our privilege to make the gospel of Jesus both seen and heard in our local YMCA.
When I say “I love our Place”, I’m not referring to our actual building. I do love the space God has allowed us to meet in and worship Him, but it is more than that. I love being a CITY Pastor because I have the opportunity to minister in the YMCA during the week. The YMCA is where I meet people from the community and develop relationships.
Some of the language that we use is this: The YMCA is often “the well” of the community. In John 4, Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the community well, a gathering place where people went to get their physical need for water met. But Jesus encountered her there and met a spiritual need as well.To this end, my wife and I take a workout class where we are developing friendships with 12 or so other people. My kids take a dance class where we are getting to know the instructor and other adults who send their kids. Our church hosts a chapel for the YMCA day care twice a month where we sing songs and teach them about Jesus. Our church hosts a Harvest Dinner each year for the families at the Y so we can sit with them, listen and offer prayer when needed. Our prayer is that as people come to get their physical needs met, we might be a resource to them to meet their spiritual needs. We love the Y because it provides a place to meet people and build relationships.
So pray for me as I follow the example of Jesus – meeting the spiritual needs of my community in a place where they come to get their physical needs met. Pray for me as a CITY Pastor, that God would give our church the grace to thrive with the people group he has called us to, in the place he has called us to do ministry.