Jonathan Mansur is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Willow Park. Get to know his background and how you can be praying for his church during Pastor Appreciation Month.
Q: When and how did God call you to be a pastor?
A: My call to the pastorate is a winding road. I first felt called to ministry my freshman year in college. So after graduating I began seminary at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, pursuing my MACE with a Student Ministry focus. At that point I would have told you I'd be a "lifer" in student ministry. But about two years into my degree my heartfelt something strange — concern for adults as well. I cared about their walk with Jesus too!
After spending time praying, talking with my wife, and hearing confirmation from some trusted friends, I concluded God had called me to serve as a pastor. So I switched degrees to an MDiv and added some hours and years to my time in seminary. After graduation I didn't receive the "Abrahamic calling" most do. You know, "Wander around without a place to live until God says, 'Here!'" So I stayed and served as the Student Minister at my church in Willow Park. That was an interesting time because, in all honesty, we tried to leave. We figured, as did many in the church, that God was going to lead me somewhere else to serve as a pastor and leave student ministry.
After two and a half years of waiting, we concluded the place to serve — in whatever capacity God decided — was here at FBC Willow Park. So we bought a house to settle down where God was apparently planting us. Little did we know that one month later our pastor would retire. Even less did we know that two months after that, the church I had served as the student minister for over eight years would call me to serve as their next pastor. That was six years ago. So by God's grace I have had the privilege of serving the same church in two roles for over fourteen years.
Q: What is one exciting thing God is doing in and/or through your church right now?
A: The Lord is revitalizing our church. To give one example, during a recent business meeting we discussed changing the name of our church from First Baptist to Cross Timbers Baptist Church in Willow Park. That's exciting enough on its own because it better identifies us geographically with the park and garden across the street which bear the Cross Timbers name. It's also exciting to have a sense of newness with this kind of rebranding as our church looks forward to what God has planned for us in the days ahead.
But you know what else is exciting? Half the church attended the business meeting — and no one argued! Honest questions were asked, a few concerns were voiced, but we politely and sincerely discussed what this would mean for our church and what it would look like to make this change, as well as a number of other changes, as we move into next year. So the fact that our church gets along so well speaks volumes to what the Spirit has been doing in us.
Q: How can people pray for your church?
A: Please pray for our church as we make a number of changes moving into next year — that God would keep us "one" and we would be known as disciples of Jesus because we love one another. Pray that we would have a renewed zeal to serve our community, share the gospel, and grow in our faith. Pray for more people to become part of our church family — for those who already know Jesus but don't belong anywhere, and for those who will come to know Jesus, Lord-willing, through our witness.