Little Zion Baptist Church has a new pastor and he hopes to lead the congregation to think outside the box and work outside the building.
Josh Miller became pastor of the church at 7151 New Glendale Road in Glendale last June.
Also a special education teacher at John Hardin High School and a basketball coach, Miller said he knew from a young age that he was called to ministry.
“I think I was about 11 when he told me he was leading me in the direction of preaching,” Miller said. “It’s something I’ve always felt compelled to do. Being able to pastor people is an incredible feeling.
Miller said the church, which typically has between 35 and 40 congregants on Sunday mornings, is a multi-generational church with members ranging from babies to seniors.
Miller, 33, said the congregation had many senior members. Although he considered himself to have an old soul, he wasn’t sure how important his age was to the older members.
“When I interviewed for the job and came here the first Sunday to preach, they didn’t say much to the senior members my age because they didn’t know how they would react to me. “, did he declare.
“But once we got there, we started to feel at home, and the people were so warm and welcoming and inviting to us. I don’t think age played a role in the decision or in my leadership.
He said he is a very mission-oriented pastor.
“Jesus spent about 80% of his ministry outside the four walls of the church,” he said.
Although Miller said he hopes to increase membership further, having a smaller, tight-knit group has its advantages.
“I grew up in a little church like this, and everyone knew each other,” he said.
“Everyone was ready to lend a hand. It’s just this family atmosphere, this closeness that brings us together.
Miller said he believed church was not meant to be endured, but rather enjoyed.
He wants the church to be an oasis of hope for members and a respite from the trials and tribulations in their daily lives.
“The world is going to beat you for about six days,” he said. “We want this to be a place where you can come, have hope and have something to fight for when you return to the world.
Miller hopes to serve the whole person, giving the congregation the spiritual tools to think for themselves.
“We want you to connect with God in a way that even if the doors of the church are closed or I’m not preaching, you have already established that relationship.”
Miller credited his wife of three years, Courtney, with being a strong support system for him. The two have a 2-year-old daughter, Kinleigh, and Miller said her first ministry was still the family home.
He said God thinks, moves and works outside the box, and that’s an important concept he wants to convey to his congregation.
“We want you to come and experience Jesus in a new way,” he said. “It’s the same Jesus, but a new way of living it. You may have somehow locked God in a box, but God cannot be confined to a box.
He wants to be innovative in his approach without compromising the gospel message.
“I don’t believe that in this generation, which is an iPad generation, you can entice them with VHS,” he said.
“You have to be willing to think outside the box and teach people, show people that there is a God who thinks and thinks outside the box.”