Pastor Appreciation Month: Part Two

Justin Wayne Mullins

Hank, Justin, Zoe and Stacey Mullins

Hank, Justin, Zoe and Stacey Mullins

8 years ago, Joy and I walked into a crowded two-bedroom apartment and found ourselves largely surrounded by people who had nothing and everything in common with us. We had no idea what we were in for. 

It was our first Community Group at Sojourn Community Church, and it was full of people who would change our lives forever. 

One of those people was Justin Mullins. There are lots of things to be said of him, but I can tell you at first glimpse, he was intimidating. He listened to weird music, used strange phrases (hillbilly speak, for example “finer than frog hair”), and (as far as I saw) wore only black t-shirts with band names on them. He was rough around the edges. He was loud and opinionated. But he loved Jesus, and he made disciples, and he knew his bible, and I wanted to be his friend because I saw in him a man I wanted to learn from. 

Our time in Louisville together was sporadic, but the best days were the Saturdays on which we woke up early and met up at Great Harvest Bread Company. He called me, Dave Ainsworth and Jamie Barnes together because he wanted to learn from us. He wanted to learn from us? This man, whom I had grown to respect greatly had the humility to come to a bunch of younger guys and say, “let’s follow Jesus together”. He redefined discipleship for me. He transformed it from this cold, lifeless “accountability group” to a loving, encouraging pursuit of Jesus in all of life. Justin has taught me more than anyone else about what it means to be a disciple. Here’s proof. He has taught me more than anyone else about bluegrass music, zombies, gardening, fighting sin, Tennessee, “good” country music, cigars, Proverbs, cloth diapers, and hospitality. See?  Discipleship happens in all of life and Justin Mullins has influenced most every part of mine. 

Somehow he managed to marry this really sweet and normal woman named Stacey, who deserves her own blog series.

She has been a loyal and fierce friend to my wife and is the only person for Justin Mullins. There is literally no one else in the world suited for the task of being married to him. She has loved the women of our church with a constancy and grace that encourages me to no end.
By the grace of God, the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and my constant nagging, Justin and Stacey sold their house, left his garden, quit his job, moved his lovely wife and two babies down to Texas to help start a new expression of Jesus’ church. Covenant has been forever blessed by the investment of the Mullins family. He has pastored alongside me, holding up my arms, beating the steady drum of discipleship as the core mission of our church. He is a missionary, a restaurant manager, a sommelier, a great neighbor and the best server you’ll ever have. He and Stacey have poured their life out, opened their home up, spent their time, money and their tears for the glory of God. 

I appreciate them more than I can say and am particularly grateful for the fact that one day we’ll enter into a new home that Christ has prepared and we’ll feast at the table together, remembering and telling the old old Story, and singing the good songs. 

For now, here’s what you should do. Tell them thank you. Look for ways to bless them. Pray for them as they run this race and serve Jesus and his people. 

And if you can, Save your money for a couple of months. Go eat at Killen’s. Bring the money you saved. Ask for Justin and try the crab cakes, order whatever he tells you to, ask him about Tennessee, music, Jesus, his family, or his Pappaw, and leave a decent tip. It’ll be finer than frog hair.