Show Notes

What can churches do in a culture known for its skepticism? Nestled between Seattle and the Olympic National Forest, Belfair Community Church focuses on consistent, small acts that reflect God’s love and goodness.

In this inspiring interview, you’ll hear from Jamie McMahan, head pastor of the 75 year old Belfair Community Church, about Christmas Coffee Giveaways, mobile showers for the homeless and everything in between.

Jamie McMahan is the pastor of Belfair Community Church (ABC) in the small town of Belfair, Washington. Jamie has degrees from Oklahoma Baptist University, Baylor’s Truett Seminary, and Portland Seminary. She married her husband, Guy, three years ago, and on June 24th they will celebrate the first birthday of their son Miles. Jamie loves exploring the mountains on a hike, bike, or trail run, and she’s a big fan of Baylor sports.

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Related Resources:

A Culture of Scarcity And a God of Abundance: Leading a Church into a Bigger, Better, More Beautiful Story

A special thank you to Alabaster Grace Ministries for their music.

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Interview Summary

“Seeking to know better the heart of God and our community,” Jamie McMahan opens up about the transformative power of simple acts of kindness in rural ministry during the Rural Renewal Podcast. As a pastor at a small American Baptist church in Belfair, Washington, Jamie shares innovative and heartfelt approaches to community engagement, sparking a deeper connection and demonstrating the love of God in practical, everyday actions.

Jamie McMahan serves a vibrant community about an hour and a half west of Seattle. Leading a congregation that stretches broadly across the rural expanses of the Olympic Peninsula, she brings a dynamic blend of pastoral care and community activism. Her background in church leadership across different states, paired with her deep understanding of the unique challenges of ministering in a historically unchurched region, positions her as a key voice in rethinking how to effectively engage and support rural populations.

Community Engagement Through Small Gestures

Jamie emphasizes the importance of small, consistent acts of kindness rather than grand gestures. She believes these build lasting goodwill and demonstrate genuine care for the community.

All of these little things that we’re doing… we are seeking to know better the heart of God and our community.

Leveraging Social Media for Broad Impact

Utilizing the local town’s Facebook page, Jamie discusses how her church reaches thousands with simple posts, increasing visibility and support for various initiatives. Discussing the “Signs of Life” photo challenge, she notes, “it’s all over our town’s Facebook page… and right there, 14,000 people see it, which is more than the population of our town.”

Resourcefulness in Ministry

Facing the realities of a limited budget, Jamie advocates for a shift from a scarcity mindset to one of abundance, focusing on what can be achieved with available resources.

How do we instead see what we do have and begin to imagine what in the world the living God could do with that?

Inclusivity and Accessibility

The church’s efforts extend beyond typical congregational activities, opening their doors for diverse community uses. “We’ve got the Boy Scouts and the weight loss group and an immigration service that meets in our space,” Jamie shares, ensuring that the church remains a central, welcoming space for all.

Empowering the Community

Highlighting a significant initiative, Jamie shares about the church’s plans to address the housing crisis by exploring the development of a tiny home village for the unhoused.

Why can’t our church? Nobody else is doing it… why would God not be able to use us for this?

Jamie McMahan’s insights remind us that the heart of rural ministry lies in the persistent, loving interactions that knit a community closer. By focusing on accessible, inclusive, and resourceful methods, rural churches can profoundly impact their surroundings, demonstrating that small acts of kindness are not just acts of service, but powerful declarations of faith and hope.

Reflection Questions

  1. What small act of kindness could you introduce in your community this week?
  2. How can social media amplify the reach of your community projects?
  3. In what ways does your community currently reflect a mindset of abundance?
  4. How can you better utilize your physical church space for community benefit?
  5. What local needs can your community address that you have not yet explored?
  6. What lessons can be learned from attempts that didn’t initially succeed?
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