‘Pastor for Gospel Action’ Puts Feet to Faith

Post a Comment » Written on December 2nd, 2008     
Filed under: News
SANTA BARBARA, CA (December 2, 2008) – Community needs created by wildfires that raged through the area last month have led Montecito Covenant Church to begin a new part-time pastoral position it had planned to “pilot” early next year, says pastor Don Johnson.

The pastor for gospel action will connect members of the congregation to other area ministries and agencies needing their gifts, Johnson says.

“The idea for the position came out of a brainstorming weekend shortly after I arrived in the winter of 2006,” Johnson says. “We dreamed about future staffing and what additional staff we would need. The idea of a ‘missions pastor’ emerged, but not the traditional director of international mission or leader of committees, but one who would link church to community.

“Given our remote location and limitations on growth (space-wise), we cannot grow larger in a traditional way, but need to grow out into the community in innovative ways,” Johnson says. “This person would help us connect with currently operating ministries and maybe even launch new ones.”

The wildfires highlighted the need for the new position. “A large number of members were impacted by the fire – from being totally burned out to temporarily dislocated,” Johnson says. “The gifts coming into the church were also significant.”

When the tragedy struck, church member Jon Lemmond stepped in to begin doing the work of the pastor for gospel action before it was created, Johnson says. As a result, “Both the staff and the council agreed that these needs were an opportune moment to jump.”

The name for the position did not come easy. “Mission pastor” was considered at the brainstorming session, but Johnson says the title carried “too much other baggage.”

The next best title was “ministry concierge,” says Johnson, noting that a concierge is the person at a hotel desk who connects guests with area attractions. The title was deemed “too snooty,” however.

Lemmond, who currently is filling the position, is a Ph.D. candidate in German history, part-time teacher at Westmont College, and licensed pastor.

The Pacific Southwest Conference has set up an assistance fund to help people burned out of their homes. Checks may be sent to Ocean Hills Covenant Church, P.O. Box 21534, Santa Barbara, CA, 93121. Wildfire Assistance Fund should be designated in the memo line.

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