Offering Jesus’ Love to Those Who Need it Most

Pittsburgh Seminary prepares people for ministry in the way of Jesus. That ministry might be in a church, a denomination, a seminary, a foreign context, or inside the home—and for alumni Michael and Jennifer Haddox (M.Div., ’12 and ’06), it has been all of the above!

Mike serves as the senior pastor of a Presbyterian church in Idaho. If you ever want to visit, he provides these directions: “Fly to Boise, drive west until you get to the middle of nowhere, then turn left.” Meanwhile, Jen is the director of global engagement for the ECO denomination, where she connects and equips local churches to help them participate in global mission. This role, which currently involves developing global missions that facilitate mutual partnerships, is a natural expression of her passion for cross-cultural Great Commission work. It’s also a great next step for her after her ten years as PTS’s associate director of the World Mission Initiative!

So why did Jen and Mike choose to set up in remote Idaho for their pastoral and missional ministry? Because it was an area of great need for another one of their callings: foster parenting.

During their time in Pittsburgh, when they were struggling with infertility, the Haddoxes sensed a calling as foster parents because of their previous experience with vulnerable children on mission trips. Their first fostering took place here, and while it was an endeavor filled with stress and tears, it drew them closer to Jesus.

Now in Idaho with two biological children, Mike and Jen continue to foster children because their sense of calling to this ministry hasn’t waned. But this is just one aspect of a holistic life of love and service. One week, Mike was preaching a sermon about responding to the needs of the sick and poor, and their four-year-old son was in the sanctuary. Later that week, when Mike had been dozing off, he awoke to find that son throwing snack food over their fence to some neighborhood kids.

“What are you doing?” Mike asked.

“My friends said they don’t have enough food to eat at home,” his son replied. He was putting into practice his father’s teaching. This one act of service soon blossomed into a neighborhood-wide summer hot dog ministry, providing meals for local children living with food insecurity.

The Haddox family’s ministries stretch from the pulpit to their neighborhood to the global Church. They also reach into the academy, as Jen is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in missiology. What ties together all these efforts? Jen sums it up: “Our calling is to offer Jesus’ love to those who need it most.”

Mike and Jen Haddox, pastor, ECO denomination, MDiv