By Jake Hall

 published in Family Matters eNewsletter, January 21, 2016

Busy people who are juggling work schedules, kids’ sports schedules, grocery lists, or caring for their aging parents are rarely the ones who make appointments to meet in the pastor’s office. Active teenagers who juggle schoolwork, social events, after-school activities and church involvement are not the ones who make appointments with the pastor either. But these folks have things on their heart that need attention, and things they want to talk through with the pastor — changes at work, frustrations with aging parents, fears about medical tests, concerns about children, frustrations with their own lack of energy in their faith life, and ideas or concerns about church life.

Starting next week, I will begin a new practice aimed at making space and time for these and other conversations. It’s called “out of the office” hours. In addition to my typical time in the office, I will set up in a coffee shop or local restaurant on Friday afternoons. You are invited to stop by. Your teenagers are invited to come with you. Come by for a quick hello, and let me know how your week is going, or stop in for half an hour, and we can talk through the bigger things that are in your life. Whatever your needs are. Whatever you have been wondering about or want to talk through. Chances are, we won’t solve all the world’s problems in an hour, but we can hear each other. We can discern direction and learn how to pray about things.

I’ll be there, with coffee and things to study. If no one stops by, all is well and more study time for me. If you happen by, I will be delighted to talk with you. This would also be a great way to talk with people who are looking for a church home or have questions about faith and church. As you invite your friends to Highland Hills, this is a great way to bring them and talk through their questions.

Make no mistake, pastoral care means visiting those who are homebound, in the hospital, or in need of the pastor to stop by their home. This is a joy of mine and something that will always be. But this new practice is aimed at being present in the lives of all generations and being open to all.

Next Friday, “Out of the Office Hours” will be at Starbucks from 2:00 - 4:30. It may be a good idea to text me at 678-939-8235 to see how busy things are and let me know you want to stop by. “Out of the Office” hours will be.

See you soon,