Frank Burns sees volunteering as being a faithful servant

Senior Reporter
Monday, December 30, 2019
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Central Baptist Pastor Frank Burns has been giving back to the community since he moved here in 1997.

Photo by Charlie Denison

As the holiday season comes to a close, Central Baptist Church pastor Frank Burns hopes to remind community members that this time of year is a time to commemorate Jesus, who came “not to be served, but to serve.”

It’s this mindset that has kept Burns volunteering since moving to Lewistown in 1997.

“My desire to volunteer is motivated primarily by my Christian faith, to love God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength and my neighbor as myself,” he said. “[Volunteering] is part of the identity, part of the DNA of a Christ follower.”

A proud member of the Lewistown community, Burns got involved right away, joining Kiwanis and the Booster Club, but it is the Salvation Army that really captured his heart.

“There was an opening on the advisory board, I was asked to participate and said ‘sure.’” Burns said. “I’m glad I did. I enjoy the teamwork involved. There are so many volunteers from the community that get involved and I like working with them.”

Burns said he feels a sense of satisfaction when people in need are helped. There is nothing quite like helping others.

“It gives people a sense of purpose, a sense of self-worth and a sense of accomplishment,” he said. “It also gives people a sense of gratitude. When you help those in need you realize how good you have it.”

Serving others elsewhere is a great way to have such an experience. For the past 12 years Burns has led construction-related mission trips to help churches around the Rocky Mountain West with projects. He’s also served in Peru, where he saw unfathomable poverty. During this trip overseas he thought of Luke 12:48: “Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required.” 

As a pastor, Burns enjoys volunteering for the opportunity to develop relationships with members of the community who may not meet otherwise. 

“Everything is about relationships,” he said. “You have no ministry without relationships, so for me volunteering is an opportunity to get to know people and meet a physical need with the potential of meeting a physical and spiritual need.”

With this in mind, Burns got involved with Heart of Montana Love in the Name of Christ, a faith-based clearinghouse that recently opened on Main Street. 

“Love INC serves people with a hand up, not a handout,” he said. “That’s what I like. Just a handout isn’t really going to help many people. It’s not a long-term solution to anybody’s problems.”

But when it comes to the Salvation Army, sometimes a handout is exactly what is needed, as those asking for help are in a crisis, and Burns is there not to pass judgment, but to serve that individual. He wants to be an example of Jesus here in Central Montana, and he’ll do so anytime he gets the opportunity.

Burns is not alone, as there are many others in his church community and in the Central Montana faith community who subscribe to this philosophy and are doing their part to make this a better place. This has been a tremendous blessing for Burns and his wife, Mary.

“We are really grateful for our church family,” he said. “It’s been a really good partnership.”

It’s hard for Burns to imagine a better life, as this is what he hoped for after leaving his dairy automation career behind. He’s in a kind, caring, community where he serves the Lord, giving back and lending a hand as often as possible.

Living this way has made him a better man.

 “You grow when you go and serve others,” Burns said. “You grow personally, you grow more thankful, you just grow.”



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