This letter of introduction was mailed to the membership at Wilkesboro Baptist Church this week.
Dear Church Family,
It is with a great sense of honor and elation that I accept your call to become the Senior Pastor at Wilkesboro Baptist Church. As noted in the minister and church covenant statement, I take this responsibility very seriously and recognize that I will answer to God for my leadership and ministry at Wilkesboro Baptist Church.
As I mentioned in my sermon on Sunday July 19, I am deeply appreciative and indebted to your pastor search committee. Steve Melton, James Sullivan, Pete Lovette, Bobby Parsons, Dustin Deal, Ila Baugham, Terri Delbridge, and Megan Adams have been professional, considerate, helpful, and full of spiritual wisdom. I will forever be grateful for their hard work, diligence, and prayerfulness. As a congregation, you selected a fantastic committee, and for that I am thankful.
When I first sensed God leading me to be a Senior Pastor, I shared my thoughts with Dr. Greg Mathis, Senior Pastor of Mud Creek Baptist Church and my mentor. He responded with support and encouragement. I’ve waited on God to guide me to the church where he would have me serve. I believe with certainty that God has led us together and anticipate the friendships, ministry, and kingdom influence we will experience together.
As a Senior Pastor, I see my responsibilities primarily as three-fold: preaching, leading, and serving. First, I take seriously the duty to have something to preach from God’s Word weekly. To preach God’s Word faithfully and articulately will require time in prayerful study. Second, as a Senior Pastor I have the obligation of leading the staff, church leadership, and congregation. This responsibility will entail building relationships, listening to leaders, learning about the church and area, seeking God’s vision for Wilkesboro Baptist Church, and communicating that vision often and with clarity. Third, I recognize my role as servant and minister to the congregation. I believe the pastor and staff should be accessible and care for the congregation. I will make myself available to you for counsel, ministry, and prayer as I also equip staff and other church leaders to meet needs and serve the congregation. These three duties and the direction of the church flow from Jesus’ mission for the church—making disciples. In other words, the question by which I will judge my duties and responsibilities as well as the programs and ministries of Wilkesboro Baptist Church is, “Are we making disciples?”
One of Paul’s expected characteristics of the pastor is that he leads his family well (1 Timothy 3:4-5). I will not make a good Senior Pastor if I’m not a godly husband and father. As a result, I will prioritize my wife and boys before my ministry responsibilities. I will also make time to be healthy through an active lifestyle as an unhealthy person makes an unhealthy pastor. I will continue to develop my intellectual and spiritual health through reading, writing, blogging, and teaching. The fact that Wilkesboro Baptist Church has allowed me to continue teaching at Fruitland Baptist Bible College speaks of your desire to influence the kingdom through training men and women in ministry.
Accomplishing Christ’s mission at Wilkesboro Baptist Church requires a biblical foundation, a proper reflection on our Christian heritage, and a willingness to embrace contemporary methods of communication. Twenty-first century America poses many challenges for the local church. Only biblical and discerning congregations are able to meet them. I invite you to get to know me better through my social media and writing ministry: website: chrishefner.org and Chris Hefner on FaceBook and @chrishefner on twitter.
As a family, we are excited to make our home in Wilkesboro. As your pastor, I’m overjoyed that God led us together. Wilkesboro Baptist Church is brimming with potential to make disciples of our neighbors and the nations. Thank you for your confidence in affirming me by your vote on July 26. Thank you in advance for your prayers and support. I look forward to getting to know you and becoming your Senior Pastor.
Would you pray that God would grant me wisdom, patience, discernment, and a faithful dependence on him to accomplish his purposes at Wilkesboro Baptist Church? Would you pray also for my wife Jean and our two boys, Will and Nathan, during this transition? Know that I have already been praying for you and the families of the church.
Dr. Chris Hefner