‘P.A.’ new pastor at Church of God
Published 8:51 pm Monday, August 31, 2015
One of the newest pastors of a Suffolk church is named Aaron Burgess, but he’s just as likely to answer to “P.A.”
It stands for Pastor Aaron, and it stuck after a teen in one of his youth groups at a former church began addressing him that way.
Burgess is the new pastor at Suffolk Church of God on Kilby Avenue. He officially began as pastor there on April 20 and was able to move to Suffolk on June 20 after commuting for two months.
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He is a third-generation pastor, but he still says the ministry wasn’t high on his list of career choices when he was younger.
“Growing up, I never wanted to be a pastor,” he said. “It was the furthest thing from my mind. But God had other plans.”
His father retired as a pastor in North Carolina. His grandfather retired from the South Norfolk Church of God, and a couple that used to attend that church now attends Suffolk Church of God.
After 15 years as a youth pastor, this is the first lead pastorship for Burgess.
Somewhere between 50 and 60 people attend morning services on a typical Sunday, Burgess estimated.
“We are becoming a multi-cultural, multi-generational, multi-outreach church,” Burgess said of Suffolk Church of God. “I want the ministry to resemble heaven. When people come to our church, I want them to see a mirror image of heaven, where there’s people from different backgrounds and communities.”
Burgess models his ministry after the encounter Zacchaeus had with Jesus in the Bible. Jesus not only noticed Zacchaeus but also acknowledged him, took time to get to know him and then celebrated with him.
“When you know people, you know how to minister to them,” Burgess said. “That’s what Christ did. He took time with people.”
Burgess already has begun building relationships in the community.
“I’m not a pastor that just stays inside the four walls,” he said.
He has been walking the community and talking to residents near the church about what they see as the needs, he said. One need frequently cited is something for children and teens to do.
Burgess addressed that on National Night Out with a celebration at the church and hopes to have similar events in the future.
“We have to play a part in the solution and not be another problem,” Burgess said.
Burgess said what he calls the church’s “online campus,” where anyone with an Internet connection can listen to his sermons, is growing and has regular listeners in at least seven states.
Burgess and his wife, Crystal, have three biological children, Jennifer, Haven and Zach, as well as three older girls — Ashley, Brenda and Ruthie — that they have taken into their family. They also have a 5-year-old Beagle named Domino.
The church’s Sunday services are at 10:45 a.m. and 6 p.m., and Wednesday evening service is at 7 p.m. Nursery is available for all three services.