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Living Democracy Citizenship Award: Pastor Philip Box

Philip Box is a pastor, chaplain, husband, and father who really cares about being available for the people around him. He actively works to make the community a better place through his work at the Elba Church of Christ and beyond and is a deserving recipient of the 2021 Living Democracy Citizenship Award.

He is one of the co-founders of Restoration 154, which is a nonprofit started in Elba by individuals holding the belief that together much can be accomplished. Their vision is to bring people together through projects that will have a significant and positive impact on the community. To learn more about Restoration 154, visit .

“Everything we do is really meant not to benefit us but to benefit our community and extend our community beyond what people see right in Elba city limits. The ultimate goal for people to talk about that cool town they discovered on their way to the beach,” he said.

Elba is a great city where the citizens are well acquainted and care for each other and the community. However, Pastor Box’s work through the church makes him a standout in my opinion. He makes himself available for all in need.

Box said he strongly agrees with the Corporate Chaplains of America’s mission statement, which is to build caring relationships with the hope of gaining permission to share the life-changing good news of Jesus Christ in a non-threatening manner.

“I believe that it summarizes what all of us as Christians should do. We should not try to force our beliefs on other people. We shouldn’t try to overwhelm people with things, nor beat them over the head with a Bible but instead we should love them first and build that caring relationship and then when that opportunity comes, then we have to be willing to share the good news of Jesus,” he said. 

Despite the many resources available elsewhere in the city, many still opt to reach out to him for help, advice, a word of encouragement or simply just to have a conversation. He has been the pastor of the Elba Church of Christ for over 10 years.

“I’m the minister at Elba Church of Christ, but I try not to go by a title. I just want people to think of me as the guy who is willing to love everybody,” he explained.

His sense of humor, sharp mind, compassion, and generosity attracts a lot of people and helps change their perspective on life.

One citizen noted, “He goes above and beyond for everybody, whether you’re a member of the church and even if you’re not a member of the church. He helps more than anybody I’ve ever met.”

Box said he believes that everyone can make a difference in the lives of others especially in their own community, and his perseverance stems from his attempt to become one those life changers.

He said, “Is it hard sometimes? Yes. Is it a burden? No. I think it is just what I do. I think it’s what everyone ought to do. If everyone would just mow the grass in front of their house and pick up the garbage in front of their house, then it’s just kind of what we do. It’s not really extra,” he said.