Victor Long, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, wanted to get to know his members better and get to know people in the community better as well. So he invited members to take him to work. One day a month he spends up to eight hours accompanying a church member at work. He’s been out to a wide variety of workplaces and has met hundreds of people. Better yet, now when he walks through the community for those hundreds of people Victor is now known as the pastor of someone they work with.
Click on the image to watch his story:
Here is the transcript of the video:
I came up with the idea of inviting people to take their pastor to work and I had some really amazing experiences. I wanted to do it in this church and as a part of this workshop, I thought this might be a good time to try that again.
Well for one thing I get a glimpse into their everyday life. You know, spending time with somebody in the landscaping business. I knew he was an entrepreneur but I got to hear the whole history of how he got started in the business, how that business has grown, his plans, his dreams for the future, as well as hearing about his personal life, his wife, his family and really getting to know him at a deeper level.
When you go out to visit its not just the person you’ve gone to see you get to meet other people.
It gets me out of the office and gets me into the community. And I get to meet other people I probably would not happen upon in any other situation.
The first person to take me up on this during this summer was our State’s Attorney, who is a fairly new member of the church, a young man, a young adult about 32-33 years old. And went in the courthouse, met up with him in his office before the court session that morning. He kind of explained what would be going on. Went through and met his staff and sat for a couple of hours just watching them process a number of cases that had to come before him. Then afterwards went back out of the courthouse, had lunch with him and again got to know him at a much more personal, deeper level.
First thing, it gets you out of the office.
Second thing, it helps you connect with your own church people at a level that you would not have otherwise had just meeting them on Sunday morning.
And you really, I think, I found they’re so thrilled to tell you about what is going on in their lives. They seem very honored that you’ve expressed that kind of interest and spending that kind of time with them. And you know, while I ask some questions along the way, they just almost effusive in telling you about their life and their work and what they do. And I think they feel very affirmed and then I return to the church and kind of give a small encapsulation of what I learned and its good for the whole church. They get to know that person better. They feel good that the church knows them. I think there is a lot of good will that gets generated from that kind of a thing.