Apr 19, 2023
Hello and welcome back to a new episode of Pastor to Pioneer. This week, Britton continues his time on the road and meets up with Melvin Airhart, a man based in Birmingham, AL and involved in ministry for over five decades. Melvin shares with Britton about his experiences in Bible college from fifty years ago and how even then, it seemed like much of what the church in America was doing didn’t line up well with what he read in the Bible. Even though he had no ambitions of being a pastor, Melvin became one after Bible college because he had a deep desire to look after and guide God’s people. As he got into the role of pastor, though, he still didn’t see the things he read in the New Testament actually happening in the church, so he went to seminary, thinking he must have missed something because he didn’t have enough training. Melvin continued to try new things in ministry and was a pastor at 6 churches over the course of 45 years. Eventually, though, he experienced a powerful vision from God that guided him to move to a simpler expression of the church.
Melvin shares with Britton about the difficulties of speaking critically about the church without it being taken personally by those involved in it, as well as the ongoing debate over how much of the culture should be used in the church to reach the culture versus creating a counter culture that reaches people by standing out. Melvin also discusses the fact that he hasn't preached a sermon in over three years but has seen more fruit in his current approach. Instead of preaching to people he tries to ask good questions to get them to see what the Spirit is saying to them through the Bible. Melvin ties this to stories of doing ministry in Honduras and planting traditional churches—but he soon realized how many resources it took to plant churches this way. Instead, he started training his Honduran friends to make disciples and plant house churches. Over the past few years they have seen nearly 1500 house churches planted. He found that a lot of the people he was ministering to were coffee growers. This led him to start a coffee business called Principio Coffee, though he still isn’t a coffee drinker. The profits from the coffee business fund the work in Honduras.
In addition to the coffee business, Melvin has started a life coaching business to help fund the work of planting house churches and disciple making in Birmingham, AL where he lives.
You can find more info about his coffee www.principiocoffee.com