Advice about being at pastor at a church

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by tank1976, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. tank1976

    tank1976
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    I have a SBC background.

    SBC churches are where I have mostly preached. A door has opened for me to fill-in at a General Baptist church. This is not the first one I have filled in at.

    I am only filling in at churches for now, but I am seeking God's direction for the church He would have me pastor.

    I am not sure if they are interested in me - to pastor. We are just starting to talk. The church is in the town I live in.

    What is your experience with General Baptist Churches?

    I just want to be open to where God wants my family and I to serve.
     
  2. StefanM

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    The biggest difference would be theological: General Baptists are 5-point Arminians. If you believe in perseverance and/or eternal security, you would have a conflict there.
     
  3. tank1976

    tank1976
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    I read about their stance on their Convention website. We have not gone any further than me filling in, but I could see it going beyond this point.

    I do believe in eternal security of the believer. That fact would be a point of discussion. It has not been asked of me yet. The leadership is aware of my SBC background.

    Thanks for the input. Any other help would be great.
     
  4. glfredrick

    glfredrick
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    I'm probably just the man you are looking for... I too am SBC and have served as the pastor of a General Baptist (General Assocaiton of General Baptists) church. If you are looking at another of the General Baptist sects, some of my comments may not be pertinent.

    A couple of observations from serving as both pastor (5 years) and associational moderator (3 years).

    First, the people were God's people. Nice in the way church people are nice. In the GBC, they tended toward social awkwardness and were seemingly a decade or more behind current social trends, dress, worldview, etc. I found this to be true even at the national level in the GBC, but that may not be a bad thing... Depends on your own perspective!

    Second, I found that they were theologically and doctrinally "shallow." That does not mean "uninformed" but it does mean that they lacked a wide exposure to the way others thought about certain theological or doctrinal issues. Many, or even most, had not been exposed to any other thought than what was taught in their church(s) and they really were not very interested in finding out, either. At the national level, their leaders were reasonably well trained, but they too had the "folksy" attitude rather than the more serious attitude that often goes along with SBC national figures. I suspect that comes from a much smaller denomination, where the entire denomination is smaller than one or two of the largest SBC churches, but I have nothing quantitative to back up that opinion.

    Third, they are indeed "general" in their doctrine, and this was perhaps the thing that caused the most work for me. With their fully-fledged doctrine that one can or could loose their salvation if they were not "prayed up" there was a steady stream of work to do with congregants who thought that they "did something" sinful (or worse, when they started staying away from church, you knew that they had some reason wrapped around a sin they did not want to confess). They were also very staunch about "whosoever will" even to the extent of being categorized as holding "easy believeism." That was more individual than denomination wide, with different people holding different levels of that doctrine.

    Fourth, there was a lot of talk about "preaching the gospel" but not much action to back that up. They mostly gathered to themselves and did not much deal with "the world" outside the church. The attitude was along the lines of, "If those people out there in the world would get right with God, they would come in here and join us." When I laid plans to enter the neighborhood in an evangelistic sense, they balked and found reasons to not do that sort of work. We managed to get out a few times, but it was always difficult. They much preferred the lunch after...

    The particular little church I led had seen their last new member almost 20 years before I arrived (yes, their only new member was 20 years ago!). I added several families, cleaned out the baptistery, and started doing outreach, weddings, etc. As soon as new families came into the church and wanted a say in the business meetings, the "this is my church" thing started up pretty quickly. While they liked the money and attendance (hands to do the work) that came with new blood, they did not like the idea that "the Pastor could add a few families and have his way with our church." That was the beginning of the end for me.

    Fifth, they do some things differently than the SBC, especially in church polity. In the GB, pastors and deacons are "credentialed" by a presbytery, made up of the pastors and deacons of sister churches in the association. If you did not meet their criteria, they would not credential you, and I did not, with an SBC ordination, so I never ended up as a credentialed pastor, or a member of the church I led for 5 years. When they elected me as moderator over the association they had to figure out a way to handle that, seeing as how I wasn't credentialed, so they made a new category for me to accommodate me, seeing as how I was the one willing to do the work. They have a lot of business meetings, which I found very similar to SBC church meetings overall, save that they seldom had much in the way of business to accomplish. They also direct support missionaries, so we were expected to get on board with deputation campaigns and visits from missionaries when they were in town.

    Otherwise, it was mostly church as usual, and other than keeping in mind their "general" theology, we got along well. I taught SS and preached every service. I did some of my most Calvinistic sermons while I was there, and one was for the annual meeting of the association, which had the entire assembly standing and shouting praise to God. It was sort of fun to lead them to a deeper understanding of God's sovereignty and to challenge some of their shallowly held doctrines, but I always had to bear in mind that I was the interloper, not one of their own. I've since returned to the SBC, but the thought has crossed my mind of reuniting with the GB because they have open pulpits all over and are a people that need leadership. God would have to say so, however. :praying:
     
    #4 glfredrick, Mar 14, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2011
  5. Jerome

    Jerome
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    What is this "GBC"?

    Are you referring to the the General Association of General Baptists?
     
  6. glfredrick

    glfredrick
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    Duh... Yes. Brain fart! :thumbs:

    Fixed my post above. For some reason I added "convention" in my mind instead of "association."
     
    #6 glfredrick, Mar 14, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2011
  7. tank1976

    tank1976
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    Thank you for your take on the GB church. I only have experience with two GB churches. The one I have been at the most seems to be more open then the one you wrote about. Open to outreach and change. They recently built a new church building.

    I will see where God leads in this new ministry challenge He has laid before me. As I stated, the church is in my town so it could be God preparing the church and myself to go in a new direction.

    I thank you for your point of view and information.
     
  8. tank1976

    tank1976
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    By the way, in seen you live in Louisville, KY. I will be there the end of next week. I'll be visiting my sister-in-law and her church. The church (SECC) is having a Passion play. That will be one of the main things we do while we are visiting her. Also going to Mark's Feed store. I have never been there, but that is where they all want to go.
     
  9. glfredrick

    glfredrick
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    Enjoy your visit to the 'Ville. Mark's Feed Store is worth the visit. Good stuff.

    I'm assuming that SECC is Southeast Christian. Just a small place that we lovingly call "Six Flags Over Jesus." You'll know why once you arrive.
     
  10. tank1976

    tank1976
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    I have never been to the 'Ville...never heard it put that way.I understand the food is great.
    It is Southeast Christian Church. My sister-in-law is on staff at the church. She works in the childrens ministry. I have seen many pictures, but that is all of the church.

    Where is your church located?
     
  11. glfredrick

    glfredrick
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    Sojourn is at 930 Mary Street. We are an urban SBC church plant.

    You can google maps us: 930 Mary Street, Louisville, KY

    Street view gives a good look at our ministry field.

    SECC is doing a lot of good ministry work in the city. They are one of the largest churches in America. The scope is hard to imagine until you are there.

    Sojourn has chose to expand in a different way. We are spreading new churches around the city to impact more neighborhoods by having our members move to the areas surrounding the church, then living the gospel in community with the residents. We are reclaiming burned over districts in our city, and just announced a new launch in New Albany, IN on Sunday. We were able to purchase an abandoned K-6 school building there and will begin our 4th location as soon as we can get things ready.

    Let me know if you are thinking about a visit. We have the same service 4 times on Sunday (9am, 10:45am, 5 pm, 7pm) at the 930 campus.
     
  12. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Really!?! People are actually moving into bad neighborhoods? How do you swing that (economically & socially)? Give me some idea of the logistics necessary to put it together. Honestly I'm fascinated.
     
  13. glfredrick

    glfredrick
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    It is very simple. The pastors/elders of our BAPTIST church simply suggest to the people that they locate housing around the neighborhood surrounding the church, and they do. They sell their homes and move. They exchange a simple life for an extravagant one. In other words, they become missionaries.

    We are in the business of doing God's work, which includes reconciliation and outreach, but ALWAYS coupled with the biblical expression of the gospel -- spoken, not just somehow "lived" -- and that through prayer, lives can be transformed.

    We believe in God's sovereignty to the point where moving to be involved in furthering His kingdom is no big deal to most of us. Rather than run away to the suburbs and build ourselves a fancy and comfortable campus, we "gather" on Sunday to charge up for the "sending" on Monday. Simple plan. Working wonders in one of the most crime-ridden areas of Louisville.

    FWIW, I live in the middle of a large area of Section 8 housing (welfare). My neighborhood is not quite as bad as the area directly surrounding the church, but it is close. Sunday morning, there were gunshots fired on the street right behind my house. I have over 20 registered sex offenders living within 10 blocks of me. My across-the-street neighbors are lesbians (we get along fine, and I've invited them to church -- they accepted!). In the 4 years we've been at this house, a crack house has exploded 4 doors down, we have a garage at the end of the dead end that is manufacturing something drug-related, and there are two homes that have been taken over by a VERY large Mexican family (over 20 cars for those 2 small 2 br houses). We are making a difference on our block, and the neighbors all know and like each other. We get together often.

    Isn't that the way it is supposed to be? :saint:
     
  14. PeterM

    PeterM
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    Yes it is!!! Praying your faith family continues to see victories!!!
     
  15. tank1976

    tank1976
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    I will not be able to visit this time, but I hope to be back again this year. Maybe we could meet for coffee or something. Thanks for serving God.
     
  16. tank1976

    tank1976
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    Are you the pastor at one of these churches?
     
  17. glfredrick

    glfredrick
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    Not currently. I am one of the community group leaders -- how our "large" church gets small -- we meet in homes on a weekly basis where most of the real ministry of the church is conducted, from in-depth Bible study to counseling, to loving, fellowship, and ministry to and with each other. Sort of "pastor lite". :thumbs:

    PeterM, thanks!

    We have seen another big victory (and another neighborhood to re-vitalize) in the past two weeks.

    We've been working toward another campus in the New Albany, Indiana area (across the Ohio River from Louisville) and we were given a $300 K grant (yes, $300,000!) to found this campus. Late last week, we were successful in our bid to purchase an entire middle school that the New Albany school system had ceased using.

    http://blog.sojournchurch.com/weve-...n-new-albany-learn-about-our-new-campus-site/

    With the announcement of the building, we were anonymously gifted with a $2 million gift to further our ministry outreach.

    Further, just 2 months ago, we were behind on our budget by about 25% overall. We reached big over the past several years, increasing our budget by 18% 2 years ago, 25% last year, and another 16% this year, but with the economy downturn, we were struggling a bit and the church made the decision to cut 20% of our budget across the board and also cut a couple of staff positions. We made the need known to out people and they have responded. Within one month, we have made up the budget shortfall almost completely.

    Meanwhile, we're investing in the renovation of an old Catholic cathedral just around the corner of our existing main campus at 930 Mary Street. We will pour $6 million into the renovation and have a facility that can hold our ever-growing congregation, while retaining the renovated school building that we currently use at Mary Street for offices, art gallery, music studios, and youth work (which is now growing due to the age of our congregation -- we have 85 kiddos below the age of 12 at the 930 Mary campus who will move into the youth department soon.

    God is at work, souls are being harvested, and the church is being built!
     
  18. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
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    GLFrederick -
    That is an amazing story. I love it!

    Just what believers ought to be doing!
     
  19. glfredrick

    glfredrick
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    That's what I think as well.

    More so, the church is Reformed in doctrine, but off the hook in culture. Makes us an eclectic blend to say the least, but we're not politically or socially driven in our quest to "live" the gospel and all that entails Let the politics and social/cultural aspects land where they may -- that stuff is in every community, and is different in each -- reach the people God gives you, not someone who only exists within the walls of the church!
     
    #19 glfredrick, Mar 21, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2011
  20. tank1976

    tank1976
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    It is amazing to hear how God is working in His church.

    My home church just paid off a debt that was $30,000 plus in Nov. 2010. This will allow for more outreach and ministry. God does not use our wordly math.

    He has such greater plans than we can imagine.
     

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