Joe Basile has a lot of tattoos. He’s also a sharp dresser who seems to favor bow ties and vests paired with button-up shirts and skinny jeans; and the wave of dark hair piled atop his head is a likely source of envy among other men. His is not the outward appearance of a typical Christian pastor, but that’s exactly what Basile is: A pastor. But one that is certainly not typical.
Previously a pastor at Fresno First Baptist, Basile recently founded a church of his own in Clovis called Encounter. And while he says that this new church isn’t reinventing the wheel, it does employ a unique mix of prayer and play stemming from the principle that children bring their parents to church and not the other way around.
But the main purpose of the church, as its name indicates, is for the people who attend to have a genuine relationship with Christ – whatever that may look like for them.
Led by Basile and a collective of other pastors, the church emphasizes spirituality over strategic religion based on need or opportunity. Currently, services are held Sundays at 10 a.m. at the UA Theaters on Shaw and Villa.
Below, Basile talks about why he started Encounter Church, how he knew he wanted tattoos before he knew he wanted to be a pastor and what his personal style has to do with the way he leads his congregation.