Randy Strode finds a new niche
By Jane Lightbourn • Staff writer
He is still a pastor, and says he always will be.
But now, the Rev. Randy Strode has a new location — the marketplace. He has a offices at Hastings Ford and Hastings Chrysler, where he reaches out to employees, their families and the community. And he’s thoroughly enjoying it.
“I’m a pastor, a coach, an encourager, friend, motivator,” said Strode. “I’m a marketplace minister.”
For several years, Strode (while still a pastor at a Hastings church), was involved in the Lead Like Jesus Ministry “to be more of a servant,” he said.
He was involved in several seminars and facilitated several more in the community. Doug Erickson of the Hastings Ford and Chrysler dealerships was also involved, and Strode was an active participant in the Bless Hastings program.
When Strode attended the first seminar at River of Life Church, he was almost “blown away.”
“I mean wow — the servant leadership is about basic discipleship; everyone should be exposed to it,” he said. “When I attended the second one, I observed the sales people and they really embraced it.”
Strode said that soon after, the dealerships redid their mission statements, and those are now posted at each location. When Strode facilitated a seminar, Erickson and several of his sales people shared their testimonies. The “seed” had been very much planted among them about the value of a marketplace ministry.
Strode, meanwhile, was a participant in two trips (once as a leader) to Uganda through the Lead like Jesus program. There were others changes going on his life.
“God was transitioning me from the church to the marketplace,” he said. “This was exciting; this was where Jesus wanted me. This is more of a one-to-one ministry; there is church every day.”
He talked with Erickson about his ministry. At first, it was strictly voluntary. But then, after Erickson talked with his partners, he offered Strode a part-time position. He began in January.
“The timing was so good,” said Strode. “This is really a discipleship ministry, communication with each other, praying with the customers.”
There have also been ongoing prayer meetings and study meetings (all open to the community).
“I’m still a pastor, but I’m behind the others,” Strode said. “I’m not always in the limelight. This is a changing approach to be a minister in the marketplace, let those in the marketplace take ownership. Our church is in the marketplace, but it does not mean that you cannot stay connected to your own church right here.”
The door his church office at the dealerships is always open, he said. He usually walks around each building when he is there, touching base with employees. If they want to talk in private, that is always available. The conversations are confidential. He offers an ear, encouragement and sometimes motivation. And, if appropriate, he tells them that perhaps they should seek additional professional help.
“I come alongside of them,” said Strode. “I encourage them to go out and help in the community, and share in and live out the gospel.”
The regular prayer meetings are held at 7:30 a.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at Hastings Ford. The discussion groups are held at 7:45 a.m. every other Monday, with the next one Aug 19, also at Hastings Ford.
For more information, contact Strode at 763-201-4340, or by email at email@example.com.