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A Tip For New Pastors - Get A Haircut

As of July 1, 2012 I have been appointed to serve as pastor of Manchester United Methodist Church in Manchester, MI.  In the United Methodist tradition, our bishops along with the appointive cabinet have assigned pastors to their respective churches, and as a United Methodist pastor I have agreed to "itinerate" as the bishop calls and the Lord leads.

Upon arrival to Manchester, I realized that my hair was beginning to make me look like a shaggy dog and naturally I went for a haircut.  I found a great barber shop in downtown Manchester called Reed Barbering (yes, there really is a downtown in Manchester! And it's beautiful!).  As I sat waiting for my turn to be up, there were three other gentlemen ahead of me - two of them were farmers who had clearly been up and working longer than I had even been awake that morning.  I could tell that they were local farmers because of their conversation about crops and livestock, as well as the farm-fresh scent they brought with them into the barber shop.  The other gentleman was another long time resident of the area and talked a bit about local politics, much of which I have not been aware of in this area.

As the gentlemen talked, one of them asked who I was and I told them that I had just moved into town and was going to be the pastor at MUMC.  They all shook their heads and began to include me in their conversations as we each had our hair cut.  I learned quite a bit that day about Manchester, local politics, farming regulations, and a little bit about patience (I was at the barber shop for nearly 2 hours!)  All in all it was well worth it!

If you are a new pastor in a new area, look for a barbershop and get your hair cut.  It may prove to be a very worthwhile experience.


  1. Wow! Great idea. It would work in many areas, but not where I live. I drive about 7 miles to my barber and there is rarely more than 1 or 2 others there and they are likely to be tourists (I live in Kitty Hawk, NC). Maybe the coffee shops would be a better bet. I've been here a year and I quickly learned that end of June is not a good time to move into an area like this and get to know the locals! After school started and the crowds diminished I was amazed to go into stores and restaurants and actually see people I knew instead of tourists.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Alan. After I submitted this post, I thought about the many different areas where pastors might "schmooze" a bit to get to know the community more, including coffee shops as you mentioned. I suppose anywhere the people are would be a good bet! I am thinking that where I am serving as well, in the Fall many more folks will return to the area and I'll have many more opportunities to talk with people. Either way, it's about getting out of our offices and into the community. Peace!

    2. The places differ based on the community. In Wilmore I understand it is at the grocery store for breakfast. I suppose asking the pastor who is transitioning out would be a good start. :)

  2. That's totally true. It's good to find those often unofficial information hubs and places like that will help you run into folks who may never just happen upon your congregation. :)

    1. If we never leave our offices we don't get these opportunities, that's for sure! Thanks for the comment John!


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