Dr. Hunter Brewer, pastor of Trinity Church PCA, explains how, in Tennessee, there seems to be a church on just about every corner. However, he contends that there are still many people there who haven’t found their church home yet. Dr. Brewer joined Main and Mulberry for a discussion about Trinity Church PCA’s arrival to Collierville, TN and what it’s like to found a church in the middle of a pandemic.
Hello and welcome to another episode of Maine and Mulberry. I’m your host Anna Bell today. I’m excited to have with us, Dr. Hunter Brewer, pastor of Trinity Church PCA in Collierville, Tennessee. Dr. Brewer. Thank you so much for being with us today,
Anna, thanks for having me. I’m glad to be here.
Yeah. I’d like to kind of get things started by learning a little bit about you Hunter. Tell us maybe a little background about yourself, where where’d you go to seminary and, and how did you come to be in Collierville Tennessee?
Sure. I’m originally from Gaston, Alabama, which is in the Northeast part of the state. Went to Samford University in Birmingham where I met my wife who’s from Tupelo and was in law school at Alabama when just felt like the Lord was calling me to ministry and left to go to reform theological seminary.
Well, you know, what a switch going from law school look out.
Right? Definitely. And so graduated from seminary and took my first position as an assistant minister at a church in Jackson, Mississippi.
Okay. Oh, that’s great. Okay. And so how long were you in Jackson?
Gosh, we were in Jackson almost 17 years. I was called to plant a church there in a suburb of Jackson, Madison, Mississippi. Planted a church called Madison Heights. And I was the senior pastor for 10 years and left Madison Heights to start a church planting network and Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and West Tennessee. And as a result of that, we moved to Oxford, Mississippi.
Oh, wow. Okay. And so now how are you getting back to Collierville? So right now you’re are you in Oxford now or have you made your way to Collierville?
So we had moved to Collierville. In my role with the Mid-South church planning network, I spent a lot of time with church planters all over the Mid-South and encouraging them and spending time with them talking about how you plant a church, how you start a church, whether it’s with a core group or no one at all. And as that process unfolded, I really missed church planting. I really missed being a pastor. My role with the network was more administrative and consulting and fundraising, and I just miss being with people and praying with them and talking with them and spending time with them and wanted to get back to that, wanting to plant another church like Madison Heights and was familiar, the Memphis area, there was an opportunity to plant in Collierville. My wife is from the, from Tupelo’s, so not too far away, it was nice and important to stay close to family in some, in some regard. And so the opportunity came available to Collierville and knew a little bit about the area and was excited about the opportunity, excited about Collierville, thrilled to be able to live here. And so that was where we felt like the Lord was leading us and that’s how we ended up here.
Okay. So you’re saying you’re bringing a new church to Collierville what’s that, what’s that old saying in the South there’s a church on every corner,
Right? Yeah, that is, that is true. And I get that a lot, like when I’m walking through the, through the community and talking to people and meeting people, one of the responses I get quite often is there are too many churches or there’s a church on every corner, but the fact is that there are half as many churches in the United States as there was at the turn of the last century, meaning 1900, so half as many. And, and that’s significant in terms of,
Yeah, tell us, why are you starting a church in Collierville then? Kind of give us that, that background.
So we were excited about the opportunity. We liked the area. We liked the people, and Collierville, for our denomination, is the second largest city in the state of Tennessee that does not have a church in our denomination. So there was some interest in having a church in our denomination, in Collierville. But because of that, I think secondarily, there were a significant number of families that lived in Collierville that were a part of our denomination that we’re interested in a church being here. And then thirdly church plants have proven over time to be an extremely effective means of reaching people who are not in church, are wanting to come back to church, looking for a safe place to land if you will. So church plants have, have proven to be unbelievably effective at that. And statistics show that around 70% of the population is not in church. So we felt like this was a good opportunity to to begin a church. That was a great place for people who were interested in coming back to the church or coming to church for the first time that this would be a good opportunity to reach out to them and help them realize that.
So Hunter, there’s a, there’s a few words here that you’ve been kind of throwing out. Maybe you can define some of those terms for us. What is church planting mean specifically? And maybe you can also explain for those of us who don’t know what PCA means, is that the denomination for the church?
That is that’s our denomination. It stands for Presbyterian Church in America, and church planting is there’s a lot of definitions for church planting. There’s a lot of different perspectives on church planting, but my my definition would be a missional pastor moving into a community, gathering a small group of people and training them, helping them to understand the mission, the vision, the core values, the philosophy of ministry, all those things. In other words, raising up families and individuals who understand how you start a church from the ground level and building that up alongside those people so that in the future, you can open your doors and invite people in the community to come worship with you.
Okay. Okay. So that makes sense. So you’re saying you, you kind of start from the ground up with this crew, a core group
That is correct. There’s people that are interested in the church plant, people that I know, several families that have come from other churches in, in Memphis that are a part of our denomination is taking that group of people and really living life with them and working alongside them and helping them understand how you create a church out of nothing, if you will.
Yeah. Yeah. So kind of tell us where, where are we in the current stages of, of Trinity Church right now?
Well, that’s a great question because COVID threw a monkey wrench into all of this, but.
Yeah. You know, it came in and threw us all for a loop didn’t it?
COVID is not our friend. It, it, we were meeting on Sunday nights at ECS, and we are resuming this Sunday night, excuse me, we’re resuming August the 16th meeting at ECS on Sunday evenings. And we are just meeting as a small group of people and it’s, it’s a Bible study and a time where we talk about, as we work our way through the book of Acts, we talk about how do you start a church? What goes into all of this? How do we do this? And we’re also frankly, getting to know each other because everybody has come from different places in different, different locations.
Yeah. Oh I’m sure I can’t, I know you Hunter and your, your team are probably working so hard to get the church started. Will you, will you stay once it gets going, and kind of what’s the game plan leading up to, you know, opening the doors to the community?
That’s a great question. There are typically two types of church planters. You see one type that they get a church up and going, and then they move on and they do it again. And, and sometimes they do it a third time. Then there’s the other type, which they plant a church and that’s it they’re there until they retire. And this is my second church plant and we were, we’ve opened an office in Collierville. It’s right off of The Square. It’s a wonderful location, great location. Can’t wait for people to stop by and say, hello. And we were in there painting. And I looked at my wife and I just laughed and said, I can’t do this again. I’m getting too old. And so to answer your question yet, we’re, we’re, we’re really wanting to make this home.
That’s great. Collierville is a good place to, to be. Anybody will tell you that.
Yeah, it sure is. It sure is.
That’s great. Hunter. As we wrap things up, I’d like to give you the mic. What, what message would you like to leave our listeners with today about Trinity Church? You know, coming to Collierville.
Sure. We’re excited about being in Collierville. We can’t wait to get to know the community better and to meet more people. We’re wanting to be a safe place for individuals and families that perhaps haven’t been in church, or they’ve never been to church. A place that they can come to a place as gracious and forgiving and kind and warm. That’s, that’s what we want to be. And we want to be here for those who are looking for a church home. And so that’s our message for Collierville. It’s just a message of grace and we hope to be a place that is gracious and known for graciousness in Collierville.
Oh, that’s great. Hunter if, if someone is listening today, has some more questions wants to reach out what would be the best way?
The best way would be to visit our temporary website it’s missioncollierville.org. That would be the best way to get in touch with us. They could also follow me on Facebook if they wanted to, but the website is better.
Hunter Brewer. That’s right. Pastor Trinity Church PCA. Well, Dr. Brewer, we sincerely appreciate both your time and your insight today. Thank you.
Speaker 1 (11:58):
Well, it’s good talking to you. Thanks so much.
Yeah, absolutely. Until next time I’m Anna Bell.