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Young pastor hopes to revitalize youth in church
1224MINISTER1
Price Road Community Church co-pastor Austin Houston and fiance and church pianist Courtney Allen.

Price Road Community Church
When: Services Sunday at 11 a.m. and Thursday at 7 p.m.
Where: 4807 Patterson Lane, Gainesville.
More info: 678-315-2179 or www.priceroadcommunitychurch.com

Meet the Minister

Editor’s note: This series introduces one minister from a faith-based organization in the community each month.

At 21 and 20 years old, respectively, Austin Houston and his fiance, Courtney Allen, may seem a little young to be leaders of a church.

But for the co-pastor and pianist of Price Road Community Church, working in a house of worship is not new. Both of their grandfathers were preachers and both were raised in the church.

With this background and a strong faith in God, the young couple hope to bring a new perspective to church at 4807 Patterson Lane in Gainesville.

“It’s a lot of responsibility, and no one expects us to be that young,” Allen said. “Sometimes there’s doubts, because we’re so young. But then it’s definitely a God thing, because he’ll work it out. And they respect us a lot more for being so young.”

Houston said growing up in the church has given him a different perspective, which he said is an advantage. And his age has a second advantage: He’s more relatable to youths than some of his counterparts.

“It’s the young people who are going to make up the church,” he said, pointing out the church has seen 15 or 16 teenagers attend Sunday services. “We try to make them try to enjoy it.”

Houston, who shares pastoral duties with senior pastor, Phil Wills, said he still has fun and cracks jokes while preaching. But he said he preaches from the heart and shares the word at a level appropriate for younger generations.

“Kids like to see that because I’m goofy,” said the Chestatee High School graduate who was the band chaplain. “I’ll say something and the crowd will get tickled.”

His pastoral duties, however, do not keep him employed full time. He is a licensed funeral director and works at Ingram Funeral Home And Crematory in Cumming. But the skills he uses there transfer to his work at Price Road Community Church.

“I fell like that plays into the ministry,” Houston said. “You get to help people.”

Houston and Allen have been at Price Road Community Church since September. Prior to the move, they were youth pastors at Pleasant Hill Full Gospel Church in Dawsonville. They still do a Thursday night service there for young people. They recently spoke to The Times about their service in the church.

Question: What is your favorite part of being a pastor at Price Road Community Church?

Answer: My favorite thing is getting to help people with their situations and minister to them. Being a pastor, or being a leader at all, people are constantly coming to you. People tend to come to leaders because they’re looking for leaders. I enjoy getting to give people structure, give people the word. I enjoy

getting to give people the advice and the word that’s in the Bible. For every situation everyone goes through, it’s in this book. I always try to help them out the best I can.

Q: What are some of the strengths of this church community?

A: This church really pulls together at the time when you need them. They’re willing to go out and get things done and speak about the church. The church is more like a hospital for those who have been hurt before. A lot of people get hurt at churches and just get hurt in general. They don’t want to come back to church and don’t want to go to another one. So here we are trying to show the love that God has for everybody and try to encourage them to come here. Everyone is perfect about surrounding them and showing the love of God and that’s the biggest key we’ve got going on here.

Q: What are areas that need growth or improvement?

A: I want to see a good bit of musicians come in. We’ve got two piano players and they’re here every service. We’re trying to teach two young gentleman to play the drums. We’ve got a guitar player and he works out of state all the time. I have to play the bass. I’d rather have someone else play the bass. I remember the little church that I was raised in having five or six guitar players at the same time. I kind of loved that from my childhood, and I want everybody to feel welcome and feel like they have a purpose around here. We’re looking for those with musical talents who would like to come in and play with us and looking for those prayer warriors who like to pray through the whole service. We’re looking for willing vessels.

Q: What is your hope for Price Road Community Church?

A: We’re trying to help get the church going. The church itself had been hurt before. So when we came in ... people not coming. There were plenty of Sundays where it was just 10 people. Last Sunday we had 33. Slowly but surely we’re growing.

We’re looking and seeing people healed and people being saved. Half the church here has gotten saved and wants to be baptized. Some of them want to wait until it’s warmer, but everybody is starting to get excited around here. There’s a hunger and a spark that’s lit up around here.

I really want this church to be able to help people. I want to be able to feed those that are hungry, those that can’t afford to pay their house bill. I want to be able to help those in the community and help those who can’t help themselves. We want to help people get out of a trying time, get back to work and back on their feet. Right now we’re not able to do that 100 percent. We’re praying that God keeps sending in people and sending tithe givers.

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