Justin Dunton, center, is the new Pastor of Ministries at Green Hills Church. Justin, here with Worship Pastor Josh Bronleewe and Lead Pastor Mike Harder, wants you to know a little more about his first impressions of being on staff at the church.
- Tell us about your reasons for coming to Green Hills.
I knew coming out of seminary that Nashville was a place where I would love to be involved in ministry if possible. In many ways, Nashville reminds me quite a bit of Austin, Texas, where I lived nearly seven years through college and post-college. Nashville is an artist’s town and full of energy. It is a culture-maker city. It is in the Bible Belt, but it is not a Bible Belt city. Furthermore, it is a place that is becoming rapidly de-churched – one of the fastest de-churched cities in the nation. For me, that is a fun combination for ministry and life.
I think that the moment I heard about and visited Green Hills, I knew it was a place where I wanted to serve, Lord willing. Green Hills has a refreshing commitment to teaching truth from the whole counsel of God, to seeing those far from the Lord brought near to Him, and to the maturity of all believers under its care. As basic as that may sound, it is not a combination I have seen so readily apparent in many churches I have attended. I love the Elders’ vision for the church as a disciple-making, church-planting, gospel-loving church. The more I got to know Mike and the people of this church the more my desire to come here grew. I am just really thankful that the interest was mutual!
- After three weeks at Green Hills, what has captured your interest most about the church?
We started the vision series for Green Hills the first week I was here. So I would say GHC’s vision for 2016 and beyond has captured my attention most. The four hopes/passions could not align with my own heart more perfectly. I am intrigued how the passions that Green Hills has for (1) missions (both local and global), (2) diversity, (3) the unborn, and (4) empowering all believers to live into their unique calling will find tangible expressions in the coming months and years.
- You have been visiting our life group leaders the last couple of weeks. What are some of your impressions about them?
By far, I have been blown away by the amount of maturity, creativity, and unique passions that each of the life group leaders have. More than once, I have thought to myself while talking to a life group leader, “You know, I think they should be doing my job!” I am just really impressed with the level of leadership and commitment to mission that all the leaders have. Truthfully, I could probably also say that about a lot of people I have met so far at Green Hills that are not life group leaders. GHC is really blessed to have the kind of people that it has here. For my part, it is equal parts humbling and exciting to have the opportunity to work with such a group.
- What are some of your hopes for our life groups in 2016?
Broadly, I would hope that every member of Green Hills Church would grow in conformity with the image of Jesus Christ. Of course, that is not just in 2016, but my long-term and never-ending hope for this church. I would hope that life groups would be a place where we foster community for the purpose that we spur one another on to love and good deeds – toward each other, our neighborhoods, our work places, and our city. I am under no illusions that life groups have to be structured in any one particular way to achieve this hope. In fact, I am excited about the many different, creative approaches that our life group leaders take to structure and shape their own groups to see this hope realized.
- Have you discovered any great restaurants or coffee shops here yet?
Not sure I would say I have “discovered” any great restaurants, but Josh took me to Hattie B’s when I visited in November – it blew my mind right off! I also got a chance to try the hot chicken biscuit from Biscuit Love – again, mind blown! Regarding Nashville hot chicken, I think that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.