Thrive

Andrew Grissom loves God and loves others. Growing up in the church, he always felt comfortable serving, but had a nominal faith until middle school. As his faith became personal, God confirmed his call to pastoral ministry. For the past three years, he has served as Assistant Pastor to Young Adults & East Ministry Center at Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis, discipling others through the church’s interactive service on Wednesday nights and leading the young adult community.

Although Andrew grew up in the church, his faith faltered in middle school. His mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and six months later his grandma was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Andrew became angry at God and decided to follow his own path.

“I thought we had a good thing going,” he said. “I came and worshiped God and he made sure I was taken care of. But my mom and grandma were fighting for their lives and my grandma’s limbs were shutting down because of the disease.”

For six months, Andrew battled pride and anger, fighting with his family and friends. Frustrated and alone, he sat in his room one Sunday afternoon and prayed: “Lord, I don’t know what to do. I’m nothing and I can’t do this anymore. I need you because I don’t know what else to do. Would you really come and be my savior?”

God transitioned his heart to love others. From that point on, Andrew believes God kindled a desire in his heart to know others intentionally and learn their stories so that he could care for them. He continued to serve in the church, and as he did, God affirmed his call. Andrew realized that he had hesitated to say yes to God’s call on his life because he wanted to have control and was scared of the unknowns. But God asked him to be faithful.

“I was overwhelmed with the love of the Father and scared, but I remember praying and saying I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m putting my yes on the table and I trust you that you will carry out every good thing to completion,” Andrew said.

Now, Andrew finds joy watching others experience God’s love. As the Assistant Pastor to Young Adults & East Ministry Center, he oversees and teaches at the mid-week gathering in a local strip-mall and young adult ministries, such as small groups and corporate worship opportunities. Each Tuesday night, young adults ages 18-30 gather for an in-depth look at scripture and participate in small group gatherings throughout the week.

This past summer, Andrew led the young adult group in an in-depth study of scripture and the enneagram, a tool that encourages a deeper understanding of others and offers ways to love each other in meaningful ways. These conversations opened up opportunities for regular attenders to invite others and connect over culturally-relevant topics.

“One of our college students said this study opened up conversations about faith with one of her non-believing friends,” Andrew said. “Now, this friend comes every week as we started studying the Sermon on the Mount and is asking questions. The Lord is stirring her heart and we are on the cusp of something really big!”

In addition to Andrew’s full-time job, he is also pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at Asbury Seminary Memphis. The extension site is also located at Christ UMC and offers classes through the hybrid model, which couples online learning with intensive classroom sessions throughout the semester.

“I have the opportunity to learn and apply it directly to my work at Christ Church,” he said. “This is not just another academic experience, but is helping me grow mentally, spiritually and wholistically. It’s not just about more classes or another degree. It really is a spiritual experience and I’m extremely thankful.”

Andrew expects to graduate in 2022.

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