Monday, March 19, 2012

True Chicagoan: Pastor Tomas

My aunt's friend, Pastor Tomas, appreciates the storefront church. I like what he has to say about it. "Within the city of Chicago, much can be said about small church ministry in comparison to big church ministry.
For instance: Most of the larger congregations (150 or more) are primarily commuter churches. For fellowship people leave their neighborhoods; driving a distance to fellowship for about an hour or two with others doing same. Storefront churches on the other hand tend to be anchor churches where both the pastor and the members usually live within a two mile radius. From the visiting friend to the invited guest, from the vagabond to the drunks, from the local children to the next door neighbor, from the immigrant to the lost soul, from believers hurt within a big church to the sheepish trying once again to reconnect with God but from a smaller fellowship, small churches receive the few, the special and the unique. Often established in areas where big churches can not locate, because of the lack of parking or space, they tend to remain small but with big hearts.
For all of my pastoral ministry, I have served within storefront churches having membership of less than 150. As either a Senior Pastor or an Associate Pastor, I still walk the streets of the surrounding neighborhood or the local park where I grew up. Though I have a Master's of Divinity degree, I still focus on doing "presence" ministry or just straight-up outreach in Humboldt Park. I believe that doing "church" is a matter of of anchoring - anchoring the local community to the local temple and to its ministries. Though little glamor, economics or prestige is associated with this type of ministry, I still love it!."

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