Pastor describes path that brought him to Brownwood
It was early 2022 and Eric Jordan could not imagine why God would call him to pastor a church in Brownwood.
Jordan, who pastored a Round Rock congregation called A Breath of Praise Community Church, had no ties to Brownwood — he only passed through town traveling from his home in Round Rock to visit his brother in Abilene. But Jordan believed God was leading him to Brownwood.
“‘Brownwood?'” the surprised pastor asked Gott. “‘What’s in Brownwood? Why do you want me to come to Brownwood?’ The compulsion in my heart was so strong that I was forced to come.”
Jordan, 58, has been in Brownwood for 10 months, where he pastors a church that bears the same name as Round Rock Church – A Breath of Praise Community Church. The church is located at 711 Bailey St., the former headquarters of the Emmanuel Chapel United Methodist Church, which was recently dissolved. The shrine seats about 100, and about 45 regularly attend Sunday services.
Jordan continues to oversee Round Rock Church, which has a new pastor in Jordan’s absence. He maintains two residences in Brownwood and Round Rock. His wife, Faith, remains at Round Rock. The two are parents to three daughters aged 33, 22 and 16.
“This is exactly where I need to be at this moment and time in my life,” Jordan said. “I feel really, really good about it — making a difference in the community, that’s the thing. My main priority is winning souls to Christ. Everything else is secondary.”
Jordan was born in Houston, the youngest of nine children. His mother died when he was 5 and he moved in with his brother in Abilene. His father worked for Amtrak and traveled between Houston and Chicago. “He couldn’t really raise me with that kind of job, so he sent me to live with my older brother and he raised me with his family,” Jordan said. “Every summer I used to go to my dad in Chicago.”
Jordan enrolled at Wayland Baptist College on an athletic scholarship, but left after a year.
Jordan has lived in Round Rock since 1991, where he worked in sales and owned a shoe store.
“I was a board-certified podiatrist,” Jordan said. “A podiatrist is a person who works hand-in-hand with doctors to develop diabetic shoes, shoes, artificial foot orthoses and things like that, and that’s what I’ve done. After that, when I started my ministry in 2007, I sold cars to make a living. I worked for Lexus and Mercedes. So I was bi-professional for a while—pastor and salesman.”
Jordan spent his early years in ministry as an unpaid curate at a Baptist church.
In 2006, Jordan’s wife and newborn daughter were hospitalized with some complications, and Jordan spent some time in the hospital chapel praying for his wife and child. “I was already a preacher,” Jordan said. “As I prayed for the health of my wife and child, I heard God say to me, ‘It is time to go.’ I didn’t know what he was talking about at first. I thought he was talking about leaving the chapel.
“He came back a second time. He said, “It’s time for you to leave your church.” So I was a member of the church and I was one of the ministers there in that church and I had a good time. I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “It’s time for you to go and plant a new church. I am calling you to plant a church in Round Rock.’ And that’s what I was called.”
This led to the founding of A Breath of Praise Community Church in Round Rock.
“Our mission and vision is to plant churches,” Jordan said. “When we started praying at Round Rock and asking the Lord where we could plant another church. He started drawing my heart to Brownwood, Texas, which was weird because I didn’t know anyone in Brownwood. I don’t know Brownwood. After we prayed about where we could plant another church, God began to draw my heart in this way. When he started doing it, I started praying about it. I made a few trips here just to get a feel for the city.”
The pastor of what was then the Emmanuel Chapel United Methodist Church allowed Jordan to hold Bible studies on Wednesday nights. The congregation had split from the denomination and dwindled to about five members, who surrendered the congregation to Jordan.
“The moral of this story is that our church stepped out in faith and came to Brownwood, and God just opened doors for us to start a ministry here,” Jordan said. “It was just unbelievable what happened. Nine people gave their lives to Christ, 15 people were baptized. We did a wedding.”
Jordan said the residents of the neighborhood “are hungry to learn God’s Word. I just thank God for her. They have been a blessing to me and what I have seen here has really encouraged me.”
Jordan said he will eventually train another pastor to take the pulpit at Brownwood Church.
Jordan wants the church to have an impact on the community. He was the keynote speaker at the Jan. 16 observance of Martin Luther King Jr. in Brownwood and said he met with Howard Payne University President Dr. Cory Hines, and Brownwood City Manager Emily Crawford. He also scheduled a meeting with the city’s police chief and mayor.
Jordan said he teaches his church members, “When you find your true purpose, you can truly have the plentiful life that Christ promised. He said, ‘I came that you may have life and have it abundantly.’ But you must know what your purpose is, and if a person does not know what their purpose is, not only in life but more importantly in the kingdom of God, you can never truly be fulfilled.
“So when I found my purpose and calling, I truly began to have the abundant life that Christ has promised us. And we’re not talking about material things. I speak of peace, joy, contentment – Galatians chapter 5 – longsuffering, patience. This is life in abundance. So if you walk in your destiny, you are fulfilled.”