Dr. Krista Kiger sits at First Presbyterian Church where she has been a pastor for 11 years.  She is leaving ministry to pursue advocacy work locally.

A St. Joseph minister is reflecting on nearly three decades of ministry as she prepares to leave her church role for one serving the homeless population.

The Rev. Dr. Krista Kiger of First Presbyterian Church has been a pastor and teacher for 29 years.

“I’ve been a minister since 1990, that’s always been my primary vocation,” Kiger said. “I did take a little break from full-time parish ministry from 2005 until the middle of 2008. I taught social studies there at the learning academy for three years. I was still part time pastor during that time out in King City.”

For the past 11 years, Kiger has been at First Presbyterian Church, but her first pastoral role was at Westminster Presbyterian Church when she was 27.

“Twenty-seven is young, but it was a good congregation to learn to be a pastor, and that’s what I took away from from that time,” Kiger said.

Kiger will be leaving her role at First Presbyterian on Sunday, June 30, to serve as the executive director of Community Missions Corporation.

“Community Missions is a mission to help eradicate homelessness in Northwest Missouri. Right now it has three facilities: one is the Judah House, which is permanent housing for what had been chronically homeless men; The Haven, which is transitional housing for chronically homeless men; and the Cold Weather Shelter, which opens up during the winter months as a shelter for men who are on the streets in the wintertime,” Kiger said.

The pastor said her love for advocacy came when she was studying for her doctorate.

“I did my doctor of ministry degree in the area of poverty, and my decision to pursue advocacy work full time was driven out of that work,” Kiger said.

Kiger said while she is sad to leave parish ministry, she is excited to start a new chapter.

“I really felt a pull by God because I’ve had a passion for social justice and advocacy work,” Kiger said. “This was an opportunity if called to work fully, but it’s a mixed bag. I love parish ministry. I love the folks here and it’s hard to leave.”

Her love for advocacy work and service also has been an integral part of her time at First Presbyterian.

“We’ve expanded our advocacy work to also include care for the environment. This church launched what is now an independent group called the Ecumenical Eco Justice group. We’ve been involved through our connection to InterServ because InterServ is partly a partnership of the Presbyterian Church in immigration issues, and we’ve been involved with welcoming LGBTQ folk here,” Kiger said.

She said her favorite thing about ministry is the people of the church.

“I think the thing about being a pastor is that you’re invited into people’s lives at every epic moment of people’s lives,” Kiger said. “So you’re often invited when children are born, you’re invited to funerals when people die, marriages, baptisms. These are sort of the highlight moments.”

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