While God has engraved his people “on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16), Pastor Greg Morgan engraves God’s words (among other things) on wood, leather, and even glass. Morgan, lead pastor of Pleasant Street Baptist Church in Mechanic Falls, Maine, balances the demands of ministry with a burgeoning side business—striving to honor Christ in both roles.
Four years ago, Morgan learned a new hobby, woodturning, after the church’s youth pastor demonstrated how to use a lathe. Hoping to supplement his ministry income (and have spending money for date nights with wife Sarah), Morgan began selling customized items at a local flea market and on Etsy.
After a slow start, the pastor took a leap of faith and purchased a $5,000 laser engraver. Now he offers 92 items and sells thousands of dollars in products per month, all while pastoring full-time.
Greg Morgan Creates Products ‘To Let Your Light Shine’
Greg Morgan named his side business COAH Creations, with COAH standing for “City On A Hill” (from Matthew 5:14). On his Etsy page, the hobbyist describes his store as a place “to let your light shine bright through great products—Matthew 5:16.”
Products range from pens and razors to engraved urns, charcuterie boards, and glass stones. Morgan crafted pens from an old wooden pulpit, writing: “Made these 3 beauties with a retired pulpit…[that] was preached from and prayed at for decades!” Some products feature olive wood from Bethlehem, including a custom-made pen made from a piece of wood containing a nail hole “to remind us of Christ…being nailed to the cross.”
Morgan also creates gifts that are ideal for Pastor Appreciation Month and holidays. During the Christmas season, he devotes at least 20 hours per week to his side business, on top of 30 to 50 hours of pastoral duties. Often that means working seven days a week, with his wife and youth pastor assisting on big orders and rush jobs.
Pastoring Remains My Priority, Says Greg Morgan
As he balances church leadership with craftsmanship, Morgan says his business “will always come second to pastoring.” After programming the laser engraver, he can write his weekly sermon while the engraver runs. If a church matter arises while he’s working in his basement shop, “I just shut off the machine and go,” he tells a local newspaper. “It will be here when I get home.”
Another benefit of the side venture is that it provides instant, visible results—something pastors don’t always see. “Most of being a pastor is dealing with people in struggles and problems,” says Morgan, noting that services such as counseling tend to involve long-term efforts and lots of patience. With the engraving gig, however, he can “see results every single day.”