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Andy Houltberg, senior pastor
Onevillage Community Church
Roeland Park, Kan.

A heart for the underdog might best be what describes Andy Houltberg, founding pastor of Onevillage Community Church, a Foursquare congregation near Kansas City in Roeland Park, Kan.

“To see the church proclaim Gods love, and building trust to those who only know brokenness, exploitation, fear and suspicion,” he says, are among his greatest thrills in ministry, along with “working alongside people, communities and organizations as a voice of Jesus’ love and compassion for all people.”

His passion for people is something that goes all the way back to his childhood, says Andy, who in addition to pastoring serves as a reentry specialist for Prison Fellowship.

“My desire to serve the body of Christ was birthed in me by observing my father and discovering who God created me to be,” he explains. “As I grew up in the church, certain things would grip me deeply. Like when people came to the understanding of the grace of God through Jesus Christ; or when the church came together in unity to serve; or when my dad would see past all the imperfections and messiness of peoples’ lives, and loved them through it all.”

So it’s no surprise that one of the core values of Andy’s church is ongoing outreach to the community. Onevillage’s ethos, he says, is “all together following Christ as we reshape our world through grace and mission.”

The church has also partnered with JustOne, a community-based non-profit organization that raises awareness and stimulates action to fight poverty and social injustice. JustOne’s Laundry Love Project is another of the church’s community initiatives. Partnering with a local Laundromat, the church helps provide clothes for those who can’t afford them, and invites those in need to join in for a time of food and fellowship.

The outreach efforts of Onevillage are plentiful and regular. This last Easter, they held a benefit concert, art auction and awareness event to educate people about the scourge of human trafficking. The event, Andy says, helped people discover what they can do to end modern-day slavery and raised $1,000. Onevillage is also a part of the Kansas City Human Trafficking Coalition.

Onevillage also serves a local homeless day center, and helps men and women who have been incarcerated, Andy says, “by truly welcoming them into our church and helping them pick up the pieces of their broken lives.”

And that’s what it’s all about, Andy asserts. It’s “when the church comes together from all walks of life, from many different circumstances, and shares the pain as well as the joy, the struggles as well as the peace, the faith as well as the doubts, and helps one another transform and grow in the likeness of Christ for the sake of the world.”

is a credentialed minister and freelance editor living in Sacramento, Calif.