If you read yesterday’s blog you know that today is day two of a three day interview with Dr. Bob Halstead. Bob is the senior pastor of Eastside Baptist Church in Stockdale, Georgia. Sometime ago he decided to set aside his preconceived notions concerning being a staff and deacon led church. Since then he’s re-engineered his church to be an elder led church.
I believe his insights and experience will be helpful to you. Check it out.
Rick: How has the transition to being an elder led church changed the role of “senior pastor” in your mind?
Bob: This has been such a liberating change. I love it. It has taken the weight off my back alone and distributed it on all of our shoulders equally. Through the study we as a staff and now Elders grew so close to each other. That was part of the plan, we believe, from God. We now are accountable to each other for our lives, families and ministries. This is the way God intended it.
I allowed the staff to choose my title since “Senior Pastor” was not going to be my role any longer. They chose Teaching Pastor which is more descriptive on my position in the new structure.
Rick: I’m wondering Bob, do you feel as though you’ve lost the leverage you need to make decisions on behalf of the church body? If so, why? If not, why not?
Bob: No. I feel I have gained a team that now is with me in seeking God’s leadership and will. Think about this, “What are the odds of one man missing God’s direction verses 5 men missing God’s direction?” That is what happened. I think you get the point. This new system is wonderful.
Rick: What do you do when you have an initiative you feel needs to move forward but the equal elder team you’ve put together isn’t on board with you?
Bob: I trust in a sovereign God who can change the hearts of the rest of the Elders or use them to show me that my will or timing was in the way. It is His church and He leads us in His direction and His timing. If we are not unanimous on any decision then we know it is either an “no” or “wait.”