I may be young, but I’ve been a paid part of church staffs for the last 13 years. I’ve served in many roles: youth director, consultant, pastoral associate, communications coordinator, and associate pastor, and I’ve worked with many church staffs. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. So it is from more than a decade of experience that I say: this church staff is one of the best there is.
It makes such a difference in the life of a church if a staff can work together, and the one who leads the staff sets the tone. Trust me, I’ve seen it when it works and when it doesn’t. Guilford Park is so blessed to have Jeff Paschal as the head of staff. I get to see all sides of Jeff as we work together each day, and I want to share with you what I see.
For two years prior to my arrival, Jeff led the congregation on his own. There is more than enough work for two of us, yet Jeff did the work on his own. He preached weekly, visited the sick and home-bound, cared for the underserved in our community, and wrote a column for the paper. He led classes, welcomed new members, led stewardship campaigns, and hired staff. He prayed for the congregation, studied and attended continuing education events, and in all he did (and continues to do), he worked to make Guilford Park a place where God’s light is readily seen.
That’s a brief overview of what Jeff did and still does for the congregation. But he is much more than what he does.
Jeff is a pastor. The Latin root of the word pastor is shepherd. And who is a shepherd but one who cares for the flock? At the heart of all that he does, is Jeff’s great love for the people of Guilford Park. All that he does is rooted in this love and bears fruit from this love.
In even my short time here, I have learned a lot from Jeff. Not only does he intentionally invite me to learn about areas of the church where I do not have much experience, he teaches through example. I watch and learn as he leads meetings, provides pastoral care, and navigates difficult situations. His example pushes me to work harder in areas where I am too comfortable. He stretches me to grow in areas where I am learning.
Together I think we make a great team. His gifts and interests are different than my own, so we compliment each other well. Having worked for many different heads of staff, I am so fortunate to call Jeff friend, colleague, and mentor.