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James River Assembly Jobs

Brentwood Christian Church

It may be cold and rainy, but some some 10 to 15, 000 people will make their way to James River Church on this Sunday. One of the largest churches in the nation, approximately one in every 30 people in the Springfield metro region consider John and Debbie Lindell to be their pastors.

"I always knew I wanted to use my life to build the church and build the kingdom of God, but I didn't know how that would look, " Debbie Lindell said.

Lindell never imagined her ministry would include leadership of such a large congregation. The sprawling multimillion dollar Jame River Church campus, complete with its own gourmet coffee shop, is nothing like the church the daughter of a minister knew growing up.

James River is also nothing like the first church she and her husband first started in Kansas City. The couple knocked on 700 doors and made 13, 000 phone calls inviting people to join.

"The first year and a half we averaged eight people, so that's pretty tough to have a church with eight people, " Lindell said.

When asked whether or or now she and her husband John were questioning whether or not they should be in the ministry at that point, Lindell said, "Yes, we went through a season, just because the two and a half years in Kansas City were so tough."

By the third year, that church finally started to grow, but the Lindells had already decided to resign. That's when they got the call to come to a new church in Springfield.

"You could see that the hand of God was on these people. They had started the month before with 40 people, and now they were 80, and that was like, 'Oh my goodness. They're really growing, " Lindell said.

However, the Lindells almost turned down the opportunity.

"Part of it was we just didn't think we had anything to offer them, because we were so tired, and we felt like we'd failed, " Lindell said.

The Lindells said James River church members convinced them to make the move. Within the first year alone, they would see James River grow from 80 people to more than 700.

"It was like being on a fast moving train. You didn't even have time to think about it, " Lindell said.

As the church grew, so did Lindell's role alongside her husband John.

Lindell launched a women's conference that has grown to some 8, 000 women each year with speakers from around the world.

When asked to describe herself in one word, Lindell said, "I think I'm a visionary. I love to look into the future and believe God for big things."

Lindell now has the same title as her husband: lead pastor.

"I am leading alongside and under John's authority, " Lindell said.

It is not exactly commonplace for churches to have female leadership, but the trend is growing. In the Assemblies of God denomination alone, a full 16 percent of all ministers are women, and a full 3 percent of churches are lead by female pastors like Debbie Lindell, according to an article by the denomination's General Superintendent George Wood.

"She is the co-leader and they come together as one. Together they make a phenomenal team, " said James River Church member Hannah Marks.

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