The pervasive element in our two-thousand-year pastoral tradition is not someone who “gets things done” but rather the person placed in the community to pay attention and call attention to “what is going on right now” between men and women, with one another and with God—this kingdom of God that is primarily local, relentlessly personal, and prayerful “without ceasing.”
–Eugene H. Peterson, The Pastor: A Memoir
Brookview called me as pastor in April, 2012.
I was born in Louisville to a young mother and a father who was beginning pastoral ministry. Through my parents’ witness the Spirit convicted me at an early age, leading me to trust Jesus and profess my faith by baptism. While I began my growth in the knowledge and love of God, my family lived in a strange variety of places. God settled us when I was ten in Danville, KY, the hometown of my future love, Kari, and there the two of us graduated high school together.
Kari and I have been married since 2006 and were living in the Wilder Park neighborhood when Brookview called me. Now we live nearby on Kenwood Hill. Kari has worked full-time while I, alongside pastoral ministry, have stayed at home with our son, Henning, but recently she has been able to start working from home. We have two cats and, more importantly, two dogs.
My spiritual journey is a long story, and it continues. I keep coming more and more alive to God’s story, and as I enter into it, Christ becomes increasingly my daily strength. As a pastor, I’m focused on leading my sisters and brothers to grow deeper in Christ’s love, to create a community that causes the goodness and loving-kindness of God to appear to those around us, and to form ourselves individually as well as communally in dependence on God in prayer. I’m still learning how to be a Baptist pastor who cares about creation and locality, justice and mercy, culture and the arts, contemplation and attentiveness — and so the journey goes. Since you’ve read this far, I ask you to pray for me.
Along with the loves a pastor must have, I also enjoy Shakespearean and contemporary theater, local and classical music, art history, good books, pulled pork, food trucks, and exploring this awesome city on my bicycle.
–Pastor Joseph Payton
Lenten Greetings to Members and Friends of Brookview:
I am prayerful that you will have a blessed and holy season preparing for our Lord’s passion and resurrection, growing in your faith and devotion to him by self-examination and repentance, by hearing his words of forgiveness, by prayer, fasting, and self-denial, by generosity to the needy, and by daily reading and meditating on God’s holy word. With renewed vigor, may you pursue purity towards God, towards yourself, and towards your neighbor.
When your fasting saves you money, whether on food or entertainment, do not count your financial benefit; rather, use your gain, in money or time, to bless the poor with charity and to bless God with prayer, not with a gloomy face, nor to be seen by others, nor allowing your right hand to know what your left hand is doing. Hope in Jesus’ words that “your Father who sees in secret will reward you,” but calculate nothing.
Try adding the discipline of weekly prayer with the body of Christ each Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., in addition to Sunday worship. Donate money or bring non-perishables for our Food Pantry. Volunteer time to clean or to do other manual tasks around the church. Find out who among us could use a friendly visit or assistance, and ask how you may pray for others.
We are about to learn again the mystery of the wilderness. It is a hard way, but the one who conquered it before us and for us is the one who knows our every weakness. And the downward way of the cross has been found by a multitude of saints to be none other than the way of life and peace.
Ask yourself, “How much of my happiness is based on instinctual needs, and how might new habits help me change?” Recognize your weakness so that you may rejoice and trust in the strength and protection of your loving Savior.
Finally, let no temptation or accusing word take away the assurance that God beholds you to be his beloved child, for whom his only Son was willing to suffer death on the cross. You are God’s beloved, and for you he has richly provided.
If ever you seek direction, prayer, or deeper friendship, I am always here.
Your pastor and brother in Christ,
Some Personal Writings