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  • Timothy Cockes

Seasoned pastors can play key role for younger pastors, panelists say


A group of pastors talk about the importance of strong relationship between seasoned pastors and young pastors in a panel on the CP Stage during the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting. (Baptist Press/Madison Sardonna)

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – How can a seasoned pastor invest in the ministry of an emerging pastor? A group of SBC pastors and leaders discussed the importance of healthy relationship dynamics between the two groups during a panel on the CP stage during the SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans.


“In Scripture, we can see some contrasts between healthy and unhealthy ministry collaboration,” said Charles Grant, associate vice president for Black Church relations for the SBC Executive Committee.


Charles Grant, associate vice president for Black Church relations for the SBC Executive Committee, speaks during the panel discussion. (Baptist Press/Madison Sardonna)

Grant pointed to how David had to be willing to wait until his appointed time after being anointed King of Israel, while Saul refused to mentor and attempted to kill David.


He also discussed the deep investment Paul made as he mentored a young Timothy in the New Testament.


Brian Kennedy, senior pastor of Mt. Zion Church in Ontario, Calif., said sticking to “core values” will help pastors keep these relationships healthy.


Brian Kennedy, senior pastor of Mt. Zion Church in Ontario, Calif., talks about the importance of core values during a panel discussion at the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans. (Baptist Press/Madison Sardonna)

“The core values are the wind beneath our wings,” Kennedy said.


“They determine what we do, where we do it, why we do it, and how we do it. When you forget those critical statements that are governed by the Word of God, it’s easy to get mixed up, it’s easy to create a lot of chaos in the leadership lineup. Where God wants us really to raise up leaders so that we can have more leaders.”


Nate Bishop, lead pastor at Forest Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., said knowing one’s true identity will help both the seasoned and emerging pastors in these relationships.


“When I have that clear sense of identity, I’m less likely to be fearful,” Bishop said.


“When I have that clear sense of identity, I’m less likely to be jealous, to be prideful. But then also … I can have that patience in waiting for God’s timing to move where He wants me to be. Instead of trying to rush that and get ahead of God.”


Erik Cummings, senior pastor at New Life Church of Carol City in Miami, Fla., outlined a strategy for seasoned and emerging pastors to build a successful ministry relationship.


“I think everything rises and falls on communication,” Cummings said. “I think a seasoned pastor and an emerging pastor literally have to be joined at the hip.”


Cummings believes in every meeting; the seasoned pastor should be helping the younger pastor:


  • With encouragement

  • To clearly identify God’s leading in life and ministry

  • To understand how to fulfill the mission he’s been given by God

  • And be motivated to move forward


“The encouragement provides the fuel for that relationship. Direction provides, if you will, the map, but then the challenge is the target or the goal that allows them to continue to walk together,” he said.


Chip Luter is the senior associate pastor at Franklin Avenue in New Orleans, and the son of Fred Luter, former SBC president and senior pastor at Franklin Avenue.


Luter re-joined the staff at Franklin Avenue after pastoring a church in Florida. He explained how he is set to succeed his father upon his retirement.


Similarly, Cummings pastors the church his father used to pastor. Luter said these principles regarding these pastoral relationships are important no matter the context.


“It was even his (Cummings’) encouragement to say ‘Chip, there ought to be a couple of times you and your Dad meet. One time y’all need to meet during the week just as pastor to pastor and talk the church business, and then another time just as father and son,” Luter said.


Luter said a healthy mentoring relationship requires both partners to have a hunger to move to the next level.


“It’s got to be a mutual desire to want to grow together.”


The full panel discussion can be viewed on the Cooperative Program YouTube channel.


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Timothy Cockes is a Baptist Press staff writer.




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