About Face Church Outreach Consultants is a partnership to equip and encourage the local church to engage their community with the transforming love of Jesus Christ.
John heard the call into the ministry just after graduation from high school, attended the University of Pittsburgh for his undergraduate degree and obtained his Master’s of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. Pastor John is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and served as a pastor in local church settings for 28 years. He always recognized the spiritual gifts of preaching, healing, and evangelism in his Christian life. God has allowed these gifts to be used in a variety of local church settings which include rural, suburban and city.
In 2013 Pastor John left local church pastoral ministry to be appointed as General Evangelist in the United Methodist Church. He developed a consultant ministry model called, “About Face Church Outreach Consultants.” About Face helps churches discover transformational development ministry with the poor, broken and lost. He believes the Church is in the unique position to offer hope and transformation of our broken lives. This is a replicable model to share with local churches around the country as he engages in long-term relationships within the context of the local church mission field. He envisions helping churches move into a new paradigm of ministry that reflects more fully the New Testament Church.
He speaks throughout the United States and develops and leads online classes through the Institute for Discipleship. He was honored as the recipient of the 2015 Harry Denman Evangelism award for his commitment and service to sharing the Good News. His heart, however, finds its greatest fulfillment when he is leading the church into mission outreach right in their own backyard.
Christine first experienced the joy of ministry through her parents (the late Rev. Dick and Jean Burns) who taught her the true meaning of loving one another. She faithfully served as a minister's spouse for 28 years while caring for her family of four boys. She attended Geneva College where she received her K-6 teaching certificate and then Edinboro University for her Master's Degree in reading. She also took graduate-level courses at the University of Pittsburgh towards a supervisor of curriculum and instruction degree. Currently, Christine is being considered and approved as Conference Evangelist in the Western PA Conference of the United Methodist Church
Christine is a teacher at heart. She has taught in many settings from working with teachers at the University of Pittsburgh to the public school setting. She now uses her teaching abilities in new ways with the About Face Church Outreach Consultants ministry started by her and her husband, John. Christine is the heart of the ministry as she is often found mentoring individuals out of the poverty of addictions and abuse. She speaks, teaches, mentors and leads workshops that illuminate Scripture and engages the student with practical hope and real-life examples. She puts flesh upon the spiritual principles of mission and outreach that motivates the church into action. Christine enjoys camping, spending time with her husband, four boys and three daughter-in-laws, four grandchildren, and sharing the love of Jesus with all whom she meets.
The "About Face" name describes the heart of the ministry in two ways. It borrows from the military term of taking an about face and applying it to the local congregation. As we come into church, God calls us to do an about face and get out into the world. It also relates to the highly relational face-to-face emphasis they promote.
John and Christine live full-time in a 5th wheel RV to apply their call to relationship. They actually move into the community and context of the church of which they are in partnership for a 3-5 month stay. They work within the church through preaching a sermon series, leading Bible studies and small groups, mentoring core missional leaders, and immersing the whole church with a heart for outreach.
They also build relationships with community leaders, institutions, agencies, and social services. They gradually help build bridges between the church and community to allow God to unfold opportunities for ministry outside the walls of the church. Their emphasis is on relational development rather than emergency relief ministry.
The gradual release style of "I do - we do - you do" leads the church into discovery of new lay leadership, outreach, and a courage to press on. Finally, at the end of their time together, the church has adopted ownership and an excitment for new adventures of love to the broken.
Check out this seven-minute video that describes the ministry.