After beginning his ministry in the Oregon Conference nearly 15 years ago in 2008, Pastor Nate Hellman accepted and began working in his new role as associate ministerial director of the Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventists last December. Nate pastored in several different churches over the years, including in the Roseburg/Glide church district, the Madras/Prineville district, and most recently, the Gladstone Park Seventh-day Adventist Church. “I’ve always said it’s going to take exile or divine intervention to get me to leave Oregon,” said Pastor Nate, “because I love serving in this conference, I really do. Even years ago, back when I started as a new pastor, I thought that the conference was very supportive of pastors’ efforts to meet the specific needs of their communities rather than micromanaging and trying to make each work the same way––I’ve always really appreciated that.”
In his new role, Pastor Nate will be helping to train and coach other pastors in meeting the unique needs of each of their communities. “I think an overarching desire for me is to actively listen to our pastors, whether they’re seasoned or brand new, so I can better understand what each of their needs are. Those needs can be very diverse throughout this field of the Oregon Conference. The needs in a church plant can be very different from those of a multi-staff church, and often we can fall into trying to prescribe a cookie-cutter kind of approach to equipping pastors. The way I see my role, though, is to listen and take each pastor’s needs seriously.” Size is one major difference between local church communities, but the diversity of churches in the Oregon Conference goes far beyond that. Some pastors, especially in rural areas, minister at multiple churches in their “district” while others are one of several pastors ministering in a larger church. Still other pastors are working with nontraditional groups, such as the outdoors-based group “Common Ground,” based near Bend, Oregon. There are also a wide range of churches centered on different cultural groups and ministries, such as the White City Samoan Church, RoC Fellowship, Your Bible Speaks Adventist Church, Inside Out Ministries Adventist Church, ECHO Church, Grace Russian Adventist Company, or the Hills and Valleys Adventist Church. Each ministers in entirely different settings and serves people with differing needs.
“Equipping pastors” doesn’t just mean sending out videos or holding seminars for our ministerial team. One important task Pastor Nate is already at work on is connecting newer pastors to more experienced pastors to create strong mentorship relationships. “We’re looking at how best to bring pre-ordained or pre-commissioned pastors up to speed––to learn more about what their expectations are, where they’re at, and how we can best connect them with a mentor––and how to coach them through the process,” said Pastor Nate.
Pastor Nate joins Ministerial Director Rick Jordan in working alongside all of our pastoral staff members as they deepen their faith and learn how to better connect and serve our neighbors here in the Oregon Conference.