WARNER ROBINS -- The new pastor of the Warner Robins First Church of the Nazarene believes the church should be a hospital and not a museum.
“We want to be a place that works with the sick, the sinners, and not a place to show off how good we think we are,” said the Rev. Jeremy Pass who became pastor at the church in June.
“I hope we’ll always be letting Christ save souls and that we’re always working toward the great commission; getting dirty right alongside people as we live day-to-day and see that God is still alive and still active in people’s lives.”
But how does “getting dirty right alongside people” fit in with a denomination that puts an emphasis on holiness?
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“Jesus walked right beside people,” Pass said. “He did it without sin. We want to reflect Christ in the same way. Too many people see holiness as a better than thou attitude -- but holiness is living the life and love of Christ, laying down your life for others. It’s living out the gospel in deed as well as sharing it in word. It’s not looking or acting like someone else, it’s about loving people.”
To that end, Pass said he’s glad to have already connected with other churches in town through the Warner Robins Human Needs Coalition. He said it allows First Nazarene to work with others to meet community needs and know how and where to best serve.
“The Church of the Nazarene was founded on the idea the Gospel should be accessible to everyone regardless of race or economic status,” he said. “Anyone can walk in and feel comfortable and welcomed because it’s about God and people, not socio-economics.”
The First Church of the Nazarene has its own food pantry ministry operating the first Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m.
Though he previously served as senior pastor in Alabama, taking the position at First Nazarene here gives Pass his first opportunity to be the “new” senior pastor.
“I served as youth pastor at First Church of the Nazarene in Jasper, Alabama, before becoming senior pastor there,” he said. “It’s neat to walk in here and be known as pastor, not the former youth pastor.”
Pass, 34, grew up and graduated high school in Gainesville. He attended Trevecca Nazarene University then served as a youth pastor in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, prior to going to Alabama.
He and his wife, Christen, have three children.
“As far as coming to Warner Robins, God stirred my heart that we were supposed to leave Jasper,” Pass said. “Then I got a call from the district superintendent here saying he felt there was a church that was just right for us. He said he was opening the door but the Holy Spirit would have to put us here if he wanted us here.”
Apparently, he did.
Pass said he met with Warner Robins church leaders in March and everything fell into place. He said his wife even quickly found work teaching fourth grade in the Houston County school system.
“In the last few weeks I feel there’s been a new sense of revival,” Pass said. “I’m coming after a pastor who served here for 27 or 28 years, Rev. David Miller. He had a tremendous impact and is dearly loved but felt it was time to move on a have someone else take things forward. I’m walking delicately as we press on in passion to be the church God wants us to be. And I’m doing it with the help of many mentors and the faithful people of the church. It’s an exciting new ballgame and I’m thankful for what God has done and what he will do.”
The Warner Robins First Church of the Nazarene began in 1956 through a home Bible study which grew into meetings at locations such as the old Warner Robins city hall and Miller Elementary School prior to locating just off Watson Boulevard on Lois Drive where they remain today.
Contact Michael W. Pannell at email@example.com.