PROSSER - After nine years as the pastor for Grandview Christian Church, Dennis McDonald is now the director of sales and marketing for the Inn at Horse Heaven Best Western in Prosser.
McDonald, who lives in Grandview, is the church's interim preaching minister until a replacement is found.
He said he decided to make the switch from vocational church work because of a pull to minister and serve God more in the community.
"We're all ministers," he says. "I feel like sometimes you have a better opportunity when you're outside of the walls of the church."
McDonald sees himself as "bi-vocational" in the sense that while he is working outside of the church he still represents Jesus Christ.
The goal, he says, is to "benefit a business and be used by God."
McDonald started working for the Prosser motel last month and, after extensive training, recently began working out of the Prosser office.
The position became available when McDonald's predecessor, Jake Van Pelt, was promoted to assistant manager of the hotel.
He says his focus at this time is forming "quality relationships" with other businesses.
"I'm meeting a lot of new, wonderful people," he said. "Hopefully I can be a productive part of the Prosser community."
McDonald says that could eventually mean forming connections with wineries in the Prosser area to form package wine tourism deals for those visiting the area.
In the big picture, he says, the goal is to "bring more business into Prosser."
As marketing director, McDonald is also directly involved in monitoring the motel's website to make sure pricing information is up to date. He also helps with developing and distributing brochures and other printed materials.
McDonald is not new to the hospitality industry, as for 17 years he worked in a restaurant in southern Oregon. He rose from the ranks of dishwasher to becoming general manager.
McDonald was on track to becoming part owner of the restaurant when, he says, "God got a hold of me."
God still has a hold of McDonald and he plans to continue serving and ministering, only now in the everyday work world outside the church's walls.
He says his hope is to continue on as an active member at Grandview Christian Church after a new preaching minister is selected.
"I'm still planning on being a part of GCC," McDonald said.