In today's world, where many of us are working ourselves to the bone to buy the dream home, fancy cars and materialistic things, we often come up stressed and empty. Often, the pursuit of the dollar doesn't bring true joy and peace. Maybe we can learn something from Pastor John as he shows us that having a purpose to help others is more fulfilling than anything money can buy.
"My wife and I had been pastoring and working in our denomination’s headquarters for more than 25 years when I felt God pulling me back to the front lines. Where light meets dark. It was a huge step of faith and it changed everything – for the good.
We started pastoring what would become Crimson House, as we know it today, in 2001 at an old building. We felt the Lord wanted us to create a place of restoration. The building was built around 1918 and it was a beautiful building, but was in quite a bit of disrepair. It was June 2012 when a terrible storm came through Springfield. We lost nine years’ worth of renovation in one day. It was actually my 30th wedding anniversary. Nine years’ worth of renovation, piece by piece renovation, was lost when a third of the roof blew off the building and water came pouring into our church. Everything we had done had just been totally lost. Everything.
We thought we had replacement cost insurance, and we did if the building would have been totally demolished. We only go 60 cents on the dollar. But that’s when the Lord really started to show his strength. We had a new roof put on and the company that did it asked us, ‘What did the insurance give you for it?’ And they did the whole thing for that price. It was just miracle after miracle. We started in the downstairs and worked up, repairing what we could when we got the funds. That was about the time Ozarks Food Harvest contacted us with the possibility of doing a pantry. The Kitchen had closed and the help was really needed in this area.
We prayed about it and felt that is what God wanted us to do. The first month we served 50 people through the pantry. Now we serve 450 a month. We’re a small church, about 75 people attend every week. But it’s a place that really touches a lot of people and that is because of the heart of the people we help. Last year we served over 7,000 meals and 9,932 people came to the pantry. We also send a monthly newsletter to those incarcerated in the jails.
We’re really trying to live out Matthew 25. Living in the practical is huge. We live month to month, but God always provides. On a personal level, my wife and I have to stay at a decent spiritual level, or it becomes overwhelming. Every day, you just think, ‘God, if you don’t do something, it’s not going to happen.’ This is a constant reminder of our dependence on God.
There was one time after that storm when I almost said, ‘That’s it.’ They patched the hole in the roof and it leaked. They patched it again and it leaked. The third time the roof leaked, I didn’t know if I could do this. It was so deflating. But God’s grace is sufficient. He dusts me off, like he does a lot, and says, ‘John, it will be okay.’
We see people come in every week with so many needs. Addiction, family resolution, trying to get kids back, losing a home, they need food or prayer. Our target here is not a homeless rescue mission, but we direct people to those services. We are a church that targets the community which is mostly working poor. That’s why the meals we serve become so important. Our mission is to be a place of restoration and to restore Christ in the community. Everyone is equal at the foot of the cross.
We’re not about making Crimson House a big church, we are just about meeting people’s needs. When I first started in ministry in 1984, I never imagined myself doing this kind of work. I wouldn’t change it for anything."
Pastor John: Pastor John Pace is the lead pastor of Crimson House Ministries located in Springfield, Missouri. He runs the C-Street Connect Food Pantry, which distributes food from Ozarks Food Harvest twice a month.
The only food bank in southwest Missouri, Ozarks Food Harvest provides food to more than 200 hunger-relief organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. It serves more than 260,000 individuals and distributes more than 14 million meals, annually. Ozarks Food Harvest believes that together, we can Transform Hunger into Hope. Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org.