I am already praying for you, and how God is going to use Gila Valley Baptist Church for generations ahead.
By His Grace,
In middle school I attended a summer camp and realized the need for the forgiveness of my sins. I lived a sinful life before coming into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and continue to put to death sin in my life as it arises. I do not consider myself to be perfect, but one thing I do, is forgetting my past and reaching forward towards the heavenly call in Christ Jesus. God’s mercies are new every day and I am in love with the Savior of my soul.
My greatest strength is mercy, forgiving and showing grace as I remember my sins that have also been forgiven by God. I am often told that I have a servants heart, I am always looking for and meeting the needs of the church. My number one weakness is my strong passion for Gospel ministry. Having the desire to meet all needs in the community but not having the time or resources to do so.
I am learning the yes and no of ministry and understanding that God is in control, and we only need to be still and trust Him. My most obvious weakness is written communication. Spelling is not my friend. While, I take that back, the most obvious weakness will be my singing ability - so there is three for you. :)
My senior year of high school I surrendered to the gospel ministry at a evangelistic concert by Seventh Day Slumber. I had never heard of the band and don’t know much about them today but I understand the need and calling God put on my life to serve His people. I recently understand that I have been serving in ministry roles that I am not called to, to meet a position of need. I care for all people, and having the personality and skill set gifted by God to serve a church as their senior pastor.
As much as I would like to wake up at 5am every morning and study God’s word that is not always the case. My personal study time may change depending on the season. My favorite personal time in God’s word is reading the same chapter of the Bible for a week as many times as I can in as many translations as I can with supporting commentary. My desire is to mark up and highlight key words through the week and study them deeper. I live out my faith by also leading my family spiritually. Currently, we are doing the Luke Challenge as a family, reading a chapter of Luke a day for the 24 days leading up to Christmas. Opportunities like this are great to disciple my wife and our two sons.
In 2020 we have become great friends with our next door neighbors and are experiencing the joy of answering spiritual questions and watch God work in their lives. My wife does a weekly Bible study with the wife next door and she has started to join us at Church with their kids. The husband is a self identifying atheist asking spiritual questions as God continues to work in his life.
A growing believer understands the responsibility and importance of evangelism. A business without new customers will die. A church without a passion for evangelism will die. Not sharing your faith with others requires great pride in ourselves or enteral hate towards the people we claim to love.
Spiritual Discipleship is a relationship between two or more people with a focus on growing in understanding of God’s word and putting to death the things that hinder are relationship with Christ. Discipleship is a buss word in the church today but sadly doesn’t often play out in the lives of believers. Believers may have seasons of feeling “stuck” in their faith when in reality they are just craving the community of discipleship. It is my responsibility to disciple my family. Personally I have several spiritual mentors and accountability partners that allow for spiritual growth.
The need for Discipleship never stops, but may need to be reorganized as we get comfortable in our faith and stop to growing in our relationship with a perfect God.
This may be weakness number 5. I know that I do better than my peers in ministry however the standard God has called us to is not “better than others”. It is a biblical requirement for pastors to lead their family well and sadly the “pastors kid” is often known for the wrong reasons. Ministry gets busy and is a 24/7 job. In my current setting I do not work on Fridays unless it is an emergency, recently Fridays have served as Daddy and Son dates with my 2 year old son giving him the needed extra time and attention from his Father.
My wife has served in Student and Children ministry roles for local churches. She is my greatest friend in ministry, however keeping church politics and family conversations separate is a good practice that I would recommend to anyone in ministry. My wife is a committed servant to the people of the church, however it is not her job to serve the church as it would be mine. If the kids are sick, I expect my wife to have the freedom to stay home with the kids. My wife will serve the church using her spiritual gifts, other church members should be expected to do the same.
I have served in ministry since (2007) before my wife and I were married (2015) and she supports the calling God has on my life. Her ministry experience alongside me and on her own ministry gives deeper understanding to the demands of ministry. My first ministry is to my family as a Christ follower, then to the church as a pastor. As a family we will follow God’s call wherever He leads. We will agree to terms in the best interest of the Church as make sacrifices as a family to serve the LORD.
The people! Relationships and a huge part of ministry that can not be ignored. The church members should know their pastor personally and he should be a friend to them. The most depleting part of ministry is transitions from ministry to ministry. I believe a healthy ministry takes time and the most influential churches have long tenured staff. This requires taking care of the team financially, meeting the needs of their families and having hard grace filled conversations when needed.
My desire is for God to call my family to a church were our children can grow old, where we can genuinely be apart of the church community and most importantly watch the community be impacted by the word of God being lived our through our church members.
Every church is different so you may need different layers of church government from church to church. Biblically I believe in a church that is led by an elder board. Some churches have deacons that function as elders but call themselves deacons. Deacons in the Bible are simply servants of the church. Some churches function as if the pastor is the only elder and can do whatever he wants. Accountability is an important part of a healthy church.
We should all be leaders in some regard as Christians. A leadership team may be formed for special projects such as the pastor search team, or you may have a leadership team over church finances and personnel. A leadership team in these regards should be chosen by the church body and entrusted with the responsibility of such matters. Likewise, if an pastor is over a ministry program for example students or worship they should be overseen by other elders (deacons) and/or the personnel team and may or may not need a leadership team for that ministry.
A "team" over certain ministries is beneficial for accountability and helps with the workload. A team should always serve with a servants heart and not be prideful or controlling over the ministry. We need to keep our eyes fixed on the author and perfector of our faith.
To meet the biblical qualifications of an overseer in the church, to respect the word of God and the importance of sound doctrines and theology and to Shepard (minister to) God’s people.
It is important to mention a difference between a spiritually growing church and a numerical growing church. It is possible to have one without the other, you often see this in churches that value events and programs more than the ministry itself. A new member to the community will attend the church down the road with a bigger program if we focus just on the dynamic nature of ministry we will find ourselves competing with other churches and with the worlds entertainment.
We need to focus on the person, not the program. If there are members in the church that need a community of students to grow in their faith then we should empower such a ministry with the required staffing, finances, and support needed to foster a growing ministry. A healthy church builds community around the people they influence. If you have kids in the nursery build a relationship with others in our community in the same season of life that shows them Christs love. We need to focus on the individual, not a program.
A Church that is growing spiritually will naturally grow numerically. As a church we need to invest time and energy in next generation ministries because these ministries were important to God, they should be important to us. Look at the church ministry areas mentioned above, are they clean and safe? Look at the churches budget for these miniseries, that will tell us if the church values them and is actively supporting their growth.
My philosophy of ministry is to Empower the Church to share the Gospel. Equip Believers to grow in their faith and to Encourage families to minister to their children.
How many people in our church know how to share the gospel? Are we giving them opportunities to learn and practice this? A new believer needs to be equipped with a community of faith and resources to grow in their walk with God, were as a mature believer can find resources on their own and create their own community of faith. The church is partner in ministry to the new generation. Parents are called by God to lead their families the church needs to encourage families in doing this and create opportunities for parents to lead their children.
Although this is going to be the first church I serve as their senior pastor. I have served as an interim pastor for a campus of a mega church. I also serve as a ministry consultant in my current role as Vice President of Operations for a faith-based software company. (Faithson Solutions) I currently have the privilege to be a pastor to pastors and am surrounded by God fearing mentors and friends that we bounce ministry ideas off of each other. I have 16 employees that I manage most of them are in bi-vocational ministry.
Worship is our rightful response of awe in God’s grace through our life. The most known method of worship is through songs during a Sunday morning worship service. However, worship is a day to day attitude of giving God the praise He deserves. Our worship of God should impact our families, finances, and friendships. Those around us should know the God we worship in word and in deed.
God created everything good and for His glory. These tools and gifts God has given us should be used to worship Him. Everything is a gift from above. It is easy for us to let our pride and sin creep into non-traditional forms of worship, we have to guard that and have a proper attitude of genuine worship. Worship services are not a time to show off our personal talents for example a 2 minute guitar solo however, a small guitar solo can add to the worship experience if done correctly and with a pure heart.
I support the Southern Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as a guiding tool to explain our beliefs. I do not hold the SBFM higher than the Holy scriptures.
The Holy Spirit is a gift to all believers and seals our relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. Baptism is the expression of what God has already done in our lives and the first step of obedience for a new believer. When a church celebrates baptism it is a charge to the congregation introducing a new brother or sister into the family of faith and welcoming a new member to the church. A healthy church should celebrates baptisms often.
This is personal for Amanda (my wife) and I. We are not able to have biological children. We are friends with a OBGYN who had a patient come into the office and wanted to choose life, knew that they couldn’t provide for the child. This is how Elliott (2) and Kaydon (8 months) came into our lives. Elliott’s adoption is final and Kaydon’s is nearing a close. A lost world knows so much about what churches are against and not enough about what we are for, we are for life. God’s word describes true and perfect religion as taking care of widows and orphans. Churches should have ministries that meet both of these needs. It is easy to say that we are against abortion, but let’s also be for adoption. After all, we are all adopted into God’s family.
I support the role of women in leadership roles, I do not support the role of women leading in areas were they would be over a man spiritually. I have dear friends in ministry across different denominations and see their fruit that can not be ignored. God can and will use anyone in any role that is submitting to His calling on their life. Likewise, a man should also not serve in certain roles where it would be of better judgement for a women to serve.
For example, I consulted with a church that had a ministry to enslaved women in a foreign country led by a group of men. They were wondering why these men kept falling into sexual sin. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. We need to be wise and place all church members in their position of calling, not a position of need. Women can be and are effective in leadership roles throughout the Bible and can also be in the local church. It is the pastors responsibility to protect and guard the flock.
The church is for believers to grow in their faith with a mission to reach the lost. We live in the Bible Belt where we have lost people in our churches, serving in ministries, and the people in our community have formed their own understanding of Church. In current studies of those not attending church very few have no church background. Most people living in the Bible Belt grew up in church and were hurt by a church member or pastor. They may have a family member that claims to be a follower of Christ but is just religious with no fruit of the spirit that is present in their life. All churches should minister to their flock as well as reach out and welcome the lost souls around them.
This means allowing people that look different, think different and may even vote different into our church and showing them the love of Christ. If the church is not on mission in reaching the lost, the church is simply no longer a church just a gathering of religious people at a social club. This does not mean that we ignore the needs of our members to meet the needs of others. Jesus came to serve not to be served, all church members should understand their spiritual gifts and use those gifts to serve the church.
I have served in many ministry areas in the church (Young Adult, Students, Family, Discipleship, Communications) as of November 03rd I resigned from my current potion as Associate Pastor of Students and Discipleship. My primary responsibility was leading students and in recent months I have felt God calling me away from Student ministry and towards the senior pastorate role.
Where it is common to serve in a role until you accept a new job in the secular world. I believe this to be lack of faith and disobedience to God’s calling on my life. When I understood that I was no longer called to student ministry I stepped down.
I continue to serve at the same church as a lay leader until they find the man that God has called to minister to these students.
I take the calling of God seriously and my only desire in this life if to follow the LORD in obedience. Where He calls me I will go, my personal desire and prayer is that He calls me to Gila Valley Baptist Church.