New Pastor at The Life in Old Westbury

New Pastor at The Life in Old Westbury

Bringing People Together: A Background in Hospitality meets a future in ministry with Pastor Brian in Old Westbury

Carol Mittelstaedt recently interviewed Pastor Brian Crocitto, SMP Pastor at The Life Church in Old Westbury, Long Island.

Brian was born and raised in Nesconset, New York, where his parents, Linda and Paul Crocitto, instilled in him and his sister, Kelly, the importance of family and church. They baptized Brian and Kelly at a young age, and for that he is truly thankful. As Brian says, “I was introduced to my faith when God’s Word, combined with water, was poured over me, and in that moment, I received God’s promise — that He will be in my life, forever.”

Brian gives thanks to God for his loving wife, Christina, and their two beautiful daughters, Lilliana and Madeline. They live in Massapequa where they relish spending time together as a family. In the warmer months they can be found enjoying the beach on Long Island’s south shore, going for walks and riding bikes in their neighborhood, and playing in their backyard. When it’s cold out, they most likely will be playing in the snow, baking treats in the kitchen, and covering their dining room table with arts and crafts.

On those rare occurrences when Brian has a few minutes to himself, he likes to explore local parks where he can run, walk, or go for a hike. He also appreciates spending time with family and friends, working on their houses as they continue to make them their own.

A fun fact to know about Brian is that prior to working in the church full-time, he spent over 20 years in hospitality management. He loves bringing people together and planning events. Whether it’s over a home-cooked meal, gathering for an outdoor movie night, or on a mission trip to help others in need, he appreciates every opportunity to bring God’s people together in fellowship and celebration.

When asked about what got him into ministry, Brian replies, “Growing up, my family and I attended worship services at St. James Lutheran Church where Pastor Kenneth Hansen consistently preached the Gospel: “The Good News is that you are loved and forgiven in Jesus Christ, no strings attached.” Hearing this truth proclaimed at a young age had a profound impact on my life. I believe it was during these services that I first felt called into ministry. That calling became clearer for me as I continued to grow up in the church. In 1998, I met Pastor Justin Vetrano, the new Youth Director for the church at the time, whose leadership and passion for service was inspiring. I was thankful for the opportunity to assist him as he developed a thriving program where youths were encouraged to live out their identity — as forgiven and renewed children of God.

In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina made its way through Florida and Louisiana, Pastor Vetrano organized mission trips to help the people of New Orleans. Fortunately, I was able to be part of many of these trips. I was in awe of the destruction left in the wake of the storm. People were left without power, food, or water; they lost their jobs, their homes, and many lost their loved ones. I began to see that the world was much larger than the one in which I lived. It was there in New Orleans, helping people rebuild their homes, listening to their stories, and praying together, that I saw the power of the Holy Spirit at work. Through these experiences, God’s call for me to enter a life in ministry became even clearer.”

What makes Brian excited about being a pastor is that each day in ministry is different than the last. While he spends time planning, filling out calendars, and scheduling appointments, the truth is those plans may change at a moment’s notice. “The phone rings, or someone comes into your office, and the conversation that follows completely changes your day. Sometimes those conversations are difficult and sometimes they are cause for celebration. At other times people just need a place to talk and for someone to listen.

“What inspires me to jump out of bed each morning is that no matter what the day may bring, no matter what surprises may be in store or conversations that may be waiting for me, in ministry, we have something to say. Wherever people are in their lives, we can always point them to the cross. We can remind them that they are loved and have been forgiven — not because of what they have done, but because of the work of Jesus Christ on their behalf.

“We all go through different seasons in our life. We experience ups and downs, moments of weakness and of strength. And through it all, we can cling to the hope of the resurrected Christ. We can find hope and peace in knowing that whatever season we may be in, we are not alone. In the waters of Holy Baptism, our heavenly Father promised He would never leave us nor forsake us, and that nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God — not even death itself.”

Brian’s dream in ministry is that as he continues to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel — the message of Salvation through Jesus Christ — his congregation will experience Joy in fellowship, find Peace in the Lord, and discover Hope in the confidence of the presence of God among them. Brian’s hope is that this Good News will be carried out into the world by his congregants so that God’s message of Grace, Mercy, and Forgiveness will reach those living in darkness who desperately need to hear it.

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