Evangelism happens in many contexts and settings; impacts and engages all generations; and calls for relationships with a variety of people. The Harry Denman Evangelism Award honors United Methodists in each annual conference whose exceptional ministry of evangelism brings people into a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.
Kim Hairston serves as Community Connection Coordinator at United Methodist Church and Community Development for All People in the Capitol Area South district. In her role, she cultivates ongoing relationships of accompaniment and mutuality with community members who are most at the margins. In the following interview, Kim explains how and why she was called to a life of service.
West Ohio: Describe your ministry. How do you share God’s love with those you meet?
The ministry that God has placed inside of me is all centered around mission and service. Each day, I intentionally connect with church and community members to gauge how I can best serve in that respective moment. I purposefully listen, show empathy, and assist the best way I am able. I truly believe in the transformative work of Jesus Christ and make every attempt to embody that in my daily service. One example includes when I am blessed to meet a community member for the first time. Initially, I take the time to introduce myself and look the individual in the eyes. I believe that Jesus took the time to see everyone, and it is my job to mimic that. I truly believe the eyes are a window to the soul. That, along with sharing a smile, and taking in the beauty and uniqueness of God's creation standing or sitting in front of me, is truly the practical way to show God’s love.
West Ohio: Describe the impact this ministry has on your community. Why is this ministry important?
I believe - through conversations and feedback - the impact of this ministry (Church and Community Development for All People) on the community has been of great magnitude. This ministry holds significant importance because it is the word of God in motion. Jesus went beyond the four walls to reach souls, and I believe it is my job as His disciple to do the same for the transformation of the world.
West Ohio: Tell us your story. How did you become involved in this work?
Ministry has always been at the forefront of my life as I was brought up and raised in the Church. I was blessed to have both my mother and grandmother active in my life, and they introduced me to various ministry concepts, such as church planting/missions. This upbringing shaped my cultural and religious viewpoints and resides within me to date. We [my siblings and I] were fortunate not to have an alternative to ministry work. As a result, this deliberate action from my mother and grandmother shaped me for ministry today. They remain two of my heroes in the faith to this very day.
West Ohio: Describe your calling. Why do you do what you do?
My calling is in service wherever and whenever I am needed. I wholeheartedly subscribe to the school of thought that the greatest commandment is love. As a result, I meet people every day who just need to be shown some love, and I willingly oblige. When I meet the ones who have not had the opportunity to process the various traumas or things such as that, that's when God's supernatural love kicks in and He can trust me to take it from there. I am so excited to wake up each morning just to see what God is going to do in my community.
Congratulations, Kim on being one of this year’s West Ohio Lay Denman Award recipients!