Lincoln United Methodist Church recently added a new religious leader to its ranks.
Brandon Lazarre, who officially assumes his role as Lincoln UMC’s new senior pastor Sunday, previously served as a pastor and youth minister at Cahaba UMC.
“I’ve been a youth minister for close to 12 years, so my main ministry experience has been youth ministry,” Lazarre said.
Lazarre graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky., in 2010.
Lazarre said his main focus area is for Lincoln UMC’s congregation to have an even more visible impact by having their fingers on the pulse of the neighboring communities.
“The ultimate desire is that God’s presence would be shown through Lincoln UMC,” Lazarre said. “I want to be in a church, be part of a church that loves well, so ultimately we can see God in His love, through His truth but also through the way He shows mercy and grace. For us not to just show up, do things and have programs, but to actually be people who are present in this community and are known for being Christ-like in the way that we live, the way that we love and the way that we create.”
He cited several examples of how the church can impact the community, from tasks as simple as assisting someone in need with home repairs to reaching out to nearby community college students who may not be close to home and may have an unmet need.
“Spiritual and physical are constantly indivisible,” Lazarre said. “Our physical needs are sometimes affected and determined by how our spiritual needs are met. One of the ultimate commandments in the Bible is to love God and love one another. If you can break that down, there’s a spiritual love that you must be informed with and connect with, and there’s a physical love that we have that’s always fed by the spiritual love for God. My prayer for Lincoln UMC and Lincoln is that the supernatural spiritual love of God found in Jesus Christ will be shown in the way that we tend to the physical, human life that happens every day. Ultimately, we believe in a salvation that is spiritual … eternal, but right now we’re in the physical, so our journey is always linking those two.”
While Lazarre stressed the importance of taking a more holistic approach in meeting community needs, he insisted he won’t shift away from the more conventional ways of the church or the vision of the church.
“Church is known and defined by its services on Wednesday and Sundays, and I desire to do that with excellence, to seek out who God is through the reading and studying of His word, through prayer, through the offering of a variety of worship venues,” Lazarre said. “We are a very traditional church, and we will remain to be so, but if a need in this community is to reach out to the current generation who is more contemporary, then I pray that we can stretch and reach out to them.”
Lazarre discussed at length how selfishness can be one of the biggest obstacles in making strides within the church and community.
“Our selfishness is what kills us,” Lazarre said. “It’s our sin. So many times we’re being selfish or sinful. We’re kind of keeping to what we think our needs are. So by us being able to reach out into our community, it shows how Christ gave Himself up and shows really who God is. He’s a sacrificial, loving God who is holy and wants nothing of selfish nature. Christ said the greatest love you can have is to lay your life down for your neighbor. I pray that we can do that to all places, all races and all genders.”
Lazarre is accompanied by his wife, Emma, who works as an oncology nurse, and their two-year-old son, Ethan.
Lincoln Elementary School Principal and Lincoln UMC churchgoer Dr. Donna Hudson applauded Lazarre’s efforts thus far, and said she looks forward to what’s on the horizon for Lincoln UMC.
“We are extremely excited to have Brandon and his family in Lincoln,” Hudson said. “Even before his official arrival, he has been in our church getting to know everyone. He has spent time with the youth group and has already become a member of the Lincoln Methodist softball team. His helpful spirit is already showing. We feel richly blessed by God to have this young man lead our congregation.”