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That Road Less-Traveled

A Profile of Pastor Samuel Strachan by Fiadanantsoa Vonjimalala

toward the mainly neglected areas of ministry within the 21st century churchthe areas of preaching, outreach, Bible study and intercessionsnothing if not increasing. A slender dark-skinned Jamaican man, Strachan possesses a short stature, a slightly weary-looking smile and a couple of gray hairs that enunciate his years of experience in ministry. His office is a detail of his life as certificates obtained in ministry trainings decorate the walls, as cabinets full of neatlyarranged files stand tall and proud by the corners and as a variety of ministry-related documents spread across his office table. Strachan himself, when engaging in a topic that holds his passion, would become as detailed and expressive as his office. When it comes down to it, he summarizes fiercely, ministry is not a country club but a service to bring change. And indeed by the reports of his congregation, Strachan lives by this principle with the habits he adopts as he frequently visits his congregations houses,

Ministry is not a road of roses. If youre called you will run through some troubles, but you will also see the faithfulness of God.

It may be gift and heart of pastoring he possesses or the principle of dedication he has followed down through the years, but the Rev. Samuel Strachan, after fifty years of serving in the ministry and twenty-five years of being the senior pastor of West Pullman Church of God, finds his passion

makes regular trips to the sick and the incarcerated, and adopts the custom of providing Sunday morning free rides to those who do not possess available transportations. His congregation also knows that they can depend on him.

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Such was the case when a family experienced the death of their daughter to a car accident. No sooner did they call the pastor that he arrived, and he stayed by their side throughout the whole ordeal. The rest of his congregation would offer similar reports when asked of what their pastor has done for them. Yet, beneath this spiritual giant lies a storm. We need to train people to take lead, Strachan states. The church is in need of active committed members and a strong youth program. Revivals have not helped us; what we need are practical workshops. The churches is battling against the spirit of inconsistency as members come and leave as they please, and as parents send their children to the church by themselves and remain uninvolved from the church experiences of their children. Indeed reformation is needed and it is at hand as the youth team starts reaching more creatively, openly and boldly to children, youth and parents in the neighborhood. The youth need active participation as well, Strachan comments on the issue, Right now we have our junior church every 3rd and 4th Sunday, and the youth gets the chance to have an interactive service, which they really like.

In order to encourage the members and the parents to be active, Strachan also started a program called the Annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner. Held in the month of October, it is an occasion where the church rewards and holds a celebration dinner in honor of committed members serving as volunteers. With his years of experience behind him and his passion toward training ministry leaders before him, Strachan affirms that the heart of ministry is neither for the fainthearted nor for the prosperity-pursuer. Rather, it includes tremendous lessons in sacrifice, patience and self-control. And down through the years it has taught this man of God what it means to be humbled. Ministry is not a road of roses, Strachan corrects solemnly. If youre called youre going to run through some troubles, but you will also see the faithfulness of God. And for West Pullman, what waits is a hopeful future as the congregation, under Strachans leadership, gradually learns the sacrifice and joy that come in serving.