I’m a pastor and a mom. This is a blog about having a foot in two worlds, and being imperfect, inadequate and available to God in both at the same time.
If you came here looking for a Catholic nun a-lá “Climb Every Mountain,” you’re in the wrong place. If you came here expecting someone who’s got it all together and has all the answers, you’re going to be disappointed. If you think pastors are some kind of spiritually-evolved creatures that never makes mistakes, never lose their cool and always speak in King-James-Christianese… yeah, this is probably going to ruin that for you.
I’m an Associate Pastor at The Woodlands United Methodist Church, an 8000 member mega-church near Houston, Texas. Although my job title is “Pastor of Creative Ministries,” I really consider myself more “Worship Architect” – designing space for people to connect with God and getting to work with amazing contractors whose gifts in music, media and preaching bring the whole experience together. Working at a mega-church is a surreal experience on a daily basis. It’s really more small-town than single-church, with lots of communities within the larger community and countless gatherings of people with a great passion for growing in relationship with Jesus. After I got used to the fact that I would never learn everyone’s name I began to realize that I could love a large church, with its capacity for big dreams and big impact on the world, just as much as I had loved smaller ones.
I’m the first female pastor in the history of this amazing church. The congregation welcomed me with open arms, and the ten male pastors on staff treat me no differently than they treat each other, which usually means a good dose of sarcastic remarks and embarrassing nicknames. I’ve learned that’s how guys show each other love. So I offer love right back at ‘em. (We’ve actually added another female pastor since I’ve been at the church).
My absolute passion is communicating the Word of God in ways that draw people in and make them realize it’s really for them. I love to do this through preaching, writing and blogging.
I met my husband Jim LaGrone (AKA iHusband) online on a Christian dating website in 2003. I knew he was the man for me when, in an early phone conversation, he used the word “eschatological.” Anyone who is so spiritual and so funny at the same time, and puts up with me, well, let’s just say there’s no question that we were made for each other. When we got married in March of 2005 we had a pastor performing the ceremony, two groomsmen who were pastors and two bridesmaids who were pastors. Let’s just say we had it covered.
Jim is a Software Developer with Masters Degrees in Math and Computer Science, which forces him into the role of reluctant I.T. department for his wife and extended family. He’s also the sole reason that we eat homemade meals regularly, have groceries in our pantry, and a yard that earns compliments and not complaints from the neighbors.
Our dreams of starting a family were delayed several years by a battle with infertility and miscarriage. Those years of heartache and grief brought us closer together and closer to God, although it didn’t feel super-spiritual at the time. In 2010 Andrew James, our miracle baby whom we call Drew joined the family and proved to be totally worth the wait. His sister, Kate, entered the scene in 2012. Since then I’ve been learning to stumble through this dual life of motherhood and ministry while leaning on God for support. So far, we’re making it.
Reverend Jessica LaGrone
After earning an undergraduate degree in Biology from Southwestern University and serving several years in Youth Ministry, Jessica LaGrone earned a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. She served as an Associate Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Pasadena beginning in 2002, overseeing the Missions and Evangelism ministries. She was ordained an elder in the United Methodist Church in 2005.
In January 2006, Jessica began her current appointment as Associate Pastor at The Woodlands UMC, a church with over 10,000 members. Currently she servest as Pastor of Creative Ministries, a position that includes the role of Worship Architect, planning and developing four of the church’s seven weekly worship experiences, as well as helping the congregation be a resource church by extending the tools they develop to other churches and ministries. She is also the leader and teacher of the nearly 400 member Radiant Bible Study for women.
Her other projects have included leading the development of TWUMC’s Online Church initiative and acting as the church’s Pastoral Liason and Chaplain to the Asbury Theological Seminary program, ACE that held classes at TWUMC 2011-2013.
Her Bible Studies, “Namesake” and “Broken and Blessed,” have been received with acclaim by groups across the country.
Jessica is married to Jim LaGrone. Together they have two young children, Drew and Kate.
Jessica is a frequent guest speaker for congregations, events and retreats. See the Speaking Tab for more information and booking.