Down the hall and to the left in the Administration Building is the somewhat elusive Pastoral Office. Without any particular name displayed, it’s easy to pass by.
The staff members inside work largely behind the scenes to plan and coordinate community events, spiritual development classes, missions, and outreaches. Their work is at the heart of Faith Center’s Mission Statement: To lead people into a thriving relationship with Jesus by gathering, growing and going in God’s love.
Two of the pastoral office staff, Rick Urban, Pastor of Care Ministries, and Leslie Lemmon, Assisting Minister and NCBI Administrator, had humble beginnings working at the church. Both have only had their current roles since around 2015, but have a long history at Faith Center.
Rick started out in 2008 working in facilities as a janitor.
“I learned a lot being a janitor here for seven years,” Urban said. “I think we all need to have a heart that is ready to clean a toilet,” he added with a warm chuckle.
Rick has a heart that is ready to clean a toilet (or tell a wisecrack joke). With his humor and servitude he reaches out to others continually, warmly welcoming them as they are.
In various ways he gathers people in God’s love by overseeing churchleaders, the van ministry, which transports people to church, ministry to men, ushers and greeters, among others. Although he doesn’t say much about himself unless prompted, there is a lot to learn from his heart for God and for others – exemplifying the ‘care’ in Care Ministries.
Lemmon initially started out as Lead Pastor Matt Messner’s assistant, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that her role grew to encompass more spiritual matters, such as prayer groups, baptisms, North Coast Bible Institute, and various Bible studies. Her favorite part, she said, are the baptisms.
When asked which part of the baptisms she enjoys most – the class beforehand or the baptism itself – she earnestly exclaimed, “Both!”
To her it’s very rewarding to hear someone’s testimony, to baptize them and to see them grow in Christ and in the Word of God. With a sensitive heart for others and a discerning eye, she encourages people in their growth as they draw closer to God, reminding them of both their strengths and their potential for improvement.
While Urban and Lemmon’s work is not exactly at the forefront of the church, they both play a crucial role in discipleship by gathering followers and working alongside them in the hope of nurturing the seed of faith. Before a person can go in the faith, they must first gather and grow their faith.
Last of the Pastoral Office staff is Allan Campbell, Pastor of Missions, Outreach and Home Groups. He joined the staff in February of 2017. To him, the role is perfect.
“I love outreach, and I also love missions, and I also love home groups,” Campbell said.
Campbell humbly considers himself to be a follower more so than a leader, but he doesn’t mind where he serves as long as he’s serving. He’s the kind of person who comes alongside a team, working in earnest to materialize a vision rather than envisioning it.
“Some people build pianos, some people carry pianos, and some people play them,” Campbell said, reflecting on teamwork within the church.
Campbell is the type to build or carry the piano, shouldering the burdenand easing the walk through his consistent work. Along the way he connects with all sorts of people and strives to reorient himself back to God with self-reflection and pointed honesty, a true indication of his heart for God and, in turn, for others.
His role in the church is based primarily on the ‘going’ aspect of the church mission. He helps organize local outreaches to give back to the community and equips mission teams to go and spread the gospel through the world.
Although they all individually serve a different role to gather, grow and go in faith, what the three staff members of the Pastoral Office share in common is an undeniable love for Jesus Christ and the heart of a servant.
Though they may receive little recognition for the work they do, to them it isn’t about that. It is about humbly serving the Lord by helping to gather and grow His children, then sending them out to create disciples.
Whether you’re cleaning the bathrooms, doing administrative work, or folding five hundred copies of the weekend program, the task may seem mundane and small, but in doing so you’re playing an integral role in the salvation of others. Being a servant means being involved in something larger than yourself and working in adherence to God’s will, not relying on our own strength but on God’s.
In Matthew 10, verse 39, Jesus says that “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” When we are willing to do seemingly mundane tasks behind the scenes for the sake of the kingdom – a small scale form of giving up our own desires and goals, and by extension, ‘our lives’ – and continually reorient our hearts back to God, we will actually discover that in the task of gathering and growing others so that they can go in their faith, we will be blessed tenfold.
Alexis Valtenbergs is a 2017 summer intern specializing in Graphic Design in Faith Center’s Creative Worship Team Department. This article is part one of a two part series published in her final project “Behind the Scenes”.