For a lot of people who go into the ministry, there’s that “eureka moment” when they instantly realize that God is calling them to do his work on a full-time basis.
But for Joel Wood, pastor of Waymaker Church in Roswell, it was more of progression over time.
The youthful pastor said he has always loved Jesus and always loved people.
“But I can’t say I had an inspiration,” he said. “I talked to some friends from high school and they thought I was nuts (about becoming a minister.)”
But Wood was in a good place where he could work his way up and get into ministry a little bit at a time instead of making a big heap.
While living in Las Cruces, he started as a volunteer at First Assembly of God. He went on staff as youth and young adult pastor for five years before moving to Roswell with his wife, Jennifer.
The couple have three school-age children.
Wood became pastor of Waymaker in May 2016. The church is locate on North Sunset Avenue a block south of West Second Street. The church building was the former YMCA, and since Wood’s arrival the church has done considerable work to fix up the large gymnasium, which Wood said will give a welcome boost to their youth programs.
A native of West Texas, Wood studied ministry with the Berean School of the Bible and the New Mexico School of Ministry through the Assemblies of God.
Wood said he enjoyed growing up in Texas, and feels that Roswell is a lot like Texas.
“I feel like this is home,” he said. “It has about 50,000 people, but Roswell has the feel of a small town.”
Wood said he has seen the numbers go up on Sunday mornings since he’s been in the pulpit, but it’s more than just filling seats in the pews.
“Sometimes people go to a church and don’t feel welcomed,” he said. “I want them to feel welcomed and valued here.”
Wood is active with the Homeless Coalition, one of the city’s newest and most ambitious nonprofits that assists the city’s homeless population with housing, food and variety of other services.
Wood said he attended one of the very first meetings at Penn Plaza a couple years before the coalition had its status as a 501(c)(3). He picked up an information packet, and has been committed to the mission of Homeless Coalition ever since.
The Rivers of Life shelters for men and women have been established, and now the coalition is looking to set up a resource center and possibly a thrift store.
“We are not quite there yet,” he said. “The Homeless Coalition has been such a whirlwind. W’ve all been working together to help people get the goods and resources they need.”
Along with his work with the Homeless Coalition, Wood said the church has “unofficially adopted” nearby Missouri Avenue Elementary School, where a lot of the students come from less fortunate home environments.
He is excited that that renovated gym will become a fun and safe environment for many of those youngsters.
“The biggest thing God has called us to do is to influence the next generation,” he said.
Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or firstname.lastname@example.org.