By Jackie Bridges
The goal of the new Commissioned Lay Pastor of John Knox Presbyterian Church, 610 Charles Road, Shelby, is to grow the 45-member church and to bring people to Christ.
“This is an open and friendly church,” said Deborah Lesenger, who was officially assigned to the church June 30. “We are trying ways to get to know people – to let people know John Knox is here and our doors are open and we welcome everybody.”
Lesenger has filled in at the church for 18 months while finishing her studies at the Presbytery of Western North Carolina School of the Laity in Morganton. Students attend classes every other Saturday for two years to complete the program. Commissioned lay pastors play an important role in the Presbytery, because smaller churches can’t pay the salary ordained pastors need to pay off their school debt, Lesenger said.
Lesenger hadn’t planned on being a lay pastor. When she finished homeschooling her sons, she enrolled at Gaston College intending to finish her nursing degree.
“But I kept feeling like it was wrong,” she said.