Ponytailed Pastor

I’ve never heard of a “ponytail” being used for the kingdom. But in the case of Mick… it’s the truth.

Mick was nothing like I expected when I was introduced to the senior pastor at this small town Nebraskan church. Mick was wearing jeans, Converse and a t-shirt with Einstein’s face when he met me at the church on Saturday night.

It only took listening to a few people in the congregation before I immediately deduced how much Mick meant to this church.

“Mick has helped make this church the ‘go to’ place in this community when someone is hurting,” Stan McNabb shared. Stan is a volunteer youth worker in the church. “If someone is in the hospital fighting for their life, it doesn’t matter if they go to this church. The family wants to talk with Mick.”

When Mick finished his masters degree at Denver Seminary, he was offered a  pastorship at the small EV Free church in the middle of nowhere Nebraska. Mick moved out there with his wife and kids and immediately got a reputation in the community—the new pastor with the ponytail.

If you live in a small town you understand. Word gets around fast. Everybody knows everybody. When Mick walked into the Dollar General and people got a glimpse of the ponytail, he could almost hear the whispers, “That must be him.”

Big city pastors probably don’t know what it’s like to have the word “Hey! It’s me, the new pastor!” tattooed on your forehead. For Mick, he found that it opened up some incredible doors for conversations. But it also created some serious accountability.

Think about this.

How big a tip do you leave Katy, the waitress in the one diner who has probably served the entire town their breakfast at one time or another?

What films are you renting at the video counter at the gas stop? (Yeah, no Blockbuster Video in this town)

Are you patient when Janet, the town gossip, corners you and talks your ear off for half an hour?

A few years ago the community suffered a series of tragedies. Mick immediately made himself available to the families. It wasn’t long before people knew, the guy with the ponytail is a good listener. If you want to go to a church where everyone is accepted, go to the church with the ponytailed pastor.

Mick doesn’t have the ponytail anymore. He was loosing too much hair on top and didn’t want to do the “Phil Collins.” But Mick doesn’t need the ponytail any longer. Everyone knows who he is. He’s the guy that leaves Katy a nice tip every time.

What about you?

What if you had “I’m a follower of Jesus” tattood on your forehead? Would it make a difference how you lived?

What would the people in your town say about you?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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4 Responses to Ponytailed Pastor

  1. dan manns says:

    Go Pastor Nick! It’s the unsung heroes of the kingdom like Nick that are the real “salt of the earth” and “light of the world”!!!

  2. dan manns says:

    Awwww man! Of course I meant to say: Pastor Mick. My apologies for the typo!

  3. Tonya Berry says:

    Go, Mick! That is awesome. Makes me wish we lived in Nebraska because it’s hard to find Pastors like that here in Ohio. Also – my husband’s hair is clear to his waist! He knows he’s a Christian, I know he’s a Christian and God knows he’s a Christian. We also all know that he would give anybody the shirt off his back. But people we’ve gone to church with? Not so much. Not only would Mick have to prove himself here in Ohio as being a good guy and a good Pastor, but around some Christians we know, even that wouldn’t be enough, because they still wouldn’t believe that he was “really” saved until he got a haircut. I have to wonder what Mick heard when he came to church on Sunday morning for the first time without his ponytail. “Way to go, Mick, I see you’re finally getting some spiritual maturity”. Hmmm…..

  4. Love this story. It takes a long time to build a good reputation and a very short while to tear it down.