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Ep 249 – Pastoral Grit and Tactical Patience with Tim Williams

Replant Bootcamp
Replant Bootcamp
Ep 249 - Pastoral Grit and Tactical Patience with Tim Williams

In this episode, we revisit with Tim Williams two and a half years after his initial appearance. Tim shares his challenging yet inspirational journey of replanting Gladewater Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, Texas. He discusses the significant hurdles faced, including living in an RV, balancing multiple jobs, and navigating church politics, with a notable incident where he was almost fired right after being ordained.

Tim emphasizes the importance of tactical patience, pastoral grit, and faithfulness in ministry, likening it to not microwaving a brisket—profound changes take time and care.

He also highlights the love and support required from other men in ministry and the joy of seeing spiritual growth in his congregation. Tim concludes by asking for prayers for their upcoming church relaunch and finding ways to better serve their community.

00:00 Introduction and Guest Reintroduction

00:32 Tim’s Early Challenges in Ministry

01:37 Settling Down and Remodeling

02:11 Transition to Co-Vocational Ministry

03:07 Reflecting on Emotional Cycles and Wins

04:36 Ordination and Initial Struggles

06:56 Replanting and Community Engagement

13:31 Lessons Learned: Don’t Microwave the Brisket

17:27 Pastoral Grit and Faithfulness

23:49 Closing Thoughts and Prayer

[00:00:00] JimBo Stewart: Here we are back at it again, back at the boot camp. Hope you’re ready for the next episode, bringing back a return guest, kind of a, where are they now type episode. We brought Tim Williams in, two and a half years ago, I think. Fe I know it was February because I went back and listened to it just to, to prepare for today.

And Bob and I were talking about the Super Bowl, at the beginning of the episode. And, You had explained how you were so busy and replanting in East Texas. You didn’t even realize the Superbowl was happening.

[00:00:30] Tim Williams: Yeah, yeah. Man, that was two months into pastoring. I can’t believe that. I can’t, I’ve, I can’t believe I’ve survived this long.

[00:00:39] JimBo Stewart: I know you, so you were two months in and if I remember correctly, man, there was a lot going on like, somewhere roof caved in and you were living in your in laws spare bedroom. slash an RV that froze over, slash working like four jobs, to try to, begin the process of replanting Mount Pleasant in Gladewater, in Gladewater, Texas.

[00:01:01] Tim Williams: Yeah, it was Gladewater Baptist church in Mount Pleasant.

[00:01:04] JimBo Stewart: It was Gladewater, Gladewater Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, not Mount Pleasant in Gladewater. and so, you were fresh in and already hitting a lot of trouble.

[00:01:14] Tim Williams: Yeah, I think the last time I recorded, this podcast, I was sitting in the flower room, the second flower room. And so, I’m very thankful for a different opportunity, but yeah, God’s been gracious to allow us to come. Two and a half years later and a completely rewritten story. So I’m, I’m very glad it’s not February of 2022 anymore.

That’s all I have to say.

[00:01:37] JimBo Stewart: I assume you’re living in your own domicile now. You’re not in an RV or in your in law’s extra bedroom at this point.

[00:01:45] Tim Williams: Right. Yeah. We remodeled the parsonage. Uh, it has been abandoned for 30 years. And so my wife and I remodeled that and now we’re like talking about, okay, we’re going to be here for. a little while longer than we thought. And so, you want to put a little bit extra work into this and make it even more of our home.

And so we’re doing little things. In fact, last night, my wife was like, we’re, we’re doing little things around the house. So I fixed the light on the back porch, you know, just small things.

[00:02:10] JimBo Stewart: Yeah. All

[00:02:11] Tim Williams: We’re settled in and, I am now only co vocational. So, uh, there was a time where I was in school full time working at Chick-fil-A full time, pastoring the church and, BSM director and then trying to do everything else on top of that, be it dad and all of those things.

But yeah, God, has allowed us to. Peel back a little bit, uh, into this new season of ministry, to where I’m just co vocational BSM, or for the rest of the country, you know, country, other than Texas, it’s BCM or BSU, but, we gotta be different. So, Baptist student ministry. And so, yeah, we’ve been, my wife is, has, uh, Since gotten a job, here in town as a director of a mother’s day out.

And so that’s been cool and fun. In fact, I just sent them, her and there’s some parents that drop their kids off at our house and then she can take them to summer day camp. So that’s been fun. And, we, live to see another day here on the North side of Mount Pleasant.

[00:03:06] JimBo Stewart: right. Praise the Lord, man. So catch us up on, what’s happened over the last two and a half years. You were kind of a month in. So now you’re approaching that three year mark. Last time you were on, you were asking a question, how to lead empathetically through change. And so we talked through the emotional cycle of change to try to give you a heads up, some of the things that you might experience from the emotions of people and how to navigate that.

and so one, I’d say how accurate has that forecast that we gave you played out for you of the emotional cycle of change. And then what have been some of the wins you’ve seen over the last two and a half years?

[00:03:41] Tim Williams: So that emotional cycle of change, I have shared probably a dozen times since then. I’ve not because I was on the podcast, but because this was so meaningful and impactful to my ministry. In fact, I took that. On a Wednesday night and I carried it to the church and I said, Hey, listen, I just want you to know This is kind of where I think where we’re at and I want you to know this is what’s coming up Like we are fixing to hit the valley of despair and when we get there, I just need you to weather through this spiritual battle with me knowing that at the end like there is a there is light at the end of the tunnel and so but over the last few years, uh, or two and a half years, it’s been You It’s been wild from nine people when we got here to six months in Jimbo.

This is something that I don’t think, you know, that I think you’re, this might, this might go in as the only guy you ever know that this happened to. I was not previously ordained when they called me to pastor here and six months in. I, got asked to do a wedding and I was like, Hey, I gotta get ordained.

So I asked the church, I was like, Hey, should we like do this at a business meeting? What, what do you want to do? And they were like, yeah, we’ll just vote on it at a business meeting. I said, all right, we’ll bring the association in, you know, to, to help, uh, with some other pastors. And so the first order of business, six months after I got to this church was of a hundred percent unanimous vote to have me ordained.

And I’m not kidding you. The last order of business in that same. Business meeting was a motion to have me fired. So

[00:05:18] JimBo Stewart: ordained for ministry, just not here.

[00:05:21] Tim Williams: you can be a pastor, just not ours. That’s exactly what, and it was over the issue of change, because I put a coffee maker in the hallway and I didn’t sit in the preacher pew and we moved Wednesday nights to the fellowship hall. Just simple little changes. And, you know, a friend of mine, I’ll give him a shout out because he gave me a shout out on replant and revitalize with Mark Clifton.

So I got to give him a shout out is Jonathan said, don’t microwave the brisket. And. I, I’ve heard that quote like two weeks before this vote to have me fired. So the vote failed miserably. it was, you know, small town have a bunch of people that have not been a part of the church for Lord knows how long, and they come in to cast a vote and they were far outnumbered even still.

so we’re thankful, but we weathered through that and we understood that that was the point. Where we were in the valley of despair. And so we started to make our way through that. And, you know, it seems so cliche, but you hear it over and over again. You and you and Bob have said it. Mark has said it, preach, pray, love and stay.

so we just, my wife and I committed to saying, okay, like we are going to love these people. We’re going to pray for them because they are not the enemy. And we are going to stay. Even if we want to leave. And so as we made it through that summer, I started to do an evaluation of, is replanting really viable?

What, where are we at? And so, in November of 2022, the church voted to replant. It was like two people voted against it, but we had like 20 some people, to replant officially. And so that took about a year to really figure out what that was going to look like for us because every situation is so unique.

Uh, we had a fostering relationship with another local church, which was awesome. And that led us to the opportunity with, send a network. And so here we are a year and a half. After voting to replant, we will relaunch in September. Lord willing with a core team of 24 people, it was so worth.

Preaching, praying, loving, and staying and not microwaving any more briskets to be with these people, my wife and I just were the other day driving down the road thinking this is the, this is what we prayed for the beauty of the body of Christ being fleshed out. We’re, we’re planning all these outreach events and our, our people are chomping at the bit saying, when are we going to get to go knock on doors again?

Or when are we going to have a block party? What, you know, I got a good story. I, we had our first, public worship service on Easter of this year. After we voted to replant, we go through our first year, we decided, Hey, let’s just close everything down and we will meet as a core team every week, but you know, we’re not like, we’re just going to train and we’re going to dive into the scriptures together.

And so we started publicly meeting on Easter and, I asked the church to park as far from the front door as they possibly could to leave enough room for guests and. To just be friendly. And it was a simple text that I sent out the night before. And we had four guests show up on Easter. It was awesome.

And I had to be like, okay, not that friendly. There’s you’re being a little bit too nice. And I loved it. I loved every moment of that. just to be able to say, you know, the hearts of these people who at one time were so hardened against. any bit of change or anything new we’re seeing, you know, growth from them spiritually and to welcome the stranger that’s hospitality in our mind is welcoming the stranger and One final, like one last big story was, we saw that we couldn’t meet every need within the community.

And we, there was the, the need is the needs are great. and we just realized that God was calling us for a specific reason, a specific purpose, and we were trying to figure out what, what is that God? And I, I feel like there’s. The only way to appropriately figure that out is to just do until you can’t explain how things are actually getting done other than God is doing them.

So we’re just joining God in his work as BlackBee said. And so what I started was, We had a 94 year old, this is from the original, what I call the OG, the original Gladewater, original gangsters. And, the OG, we still have, a third of the, the OG remaining it was two men.

One is 80 and one is 94 at the time they were a year younger. And we had a new, gentleman who’s 67. Come and join. and we were meeting on a Wednesday night. It’s supposed to be men’s Bible study. And I just looked at the men. I said, guys, I’m 29 years old. I’m not sure that there’s much I can teach you about being a man.

I do know that there’s some things I could teach you about the Bible, but let’s pray right now for younger men. And we’ll adhere and be obedient to Titus two, older men teaching younger men. And so we committed to praying every Wednesday night and we did that for, like a month and then one young guy showed up and then fast forward.

We, you know, a year throughout the year, we had the opportunity to minister to 25 young men and see them grow in their faith. And so we just had, uh, our first man camp. A couple of weeks ago. And so we’ve got, all these guys, 30 and younger, and then all these guys, 65 and older, and a meeting around a table or in a living room, discussing the spiritual growth that we’ve experienced in last year amongst one another and, uh, This 80 year old man, he, we asked him what the biggest lesson he learned was.

And he looked at us with a tear in his eye and said, I regret not being the spiritual leader of my family for the last 79 years. And. Then he followed it up with saying, but I know that obviously the Lord has me here and I’m thankful that I stuck through the difficult times within the church, though he’s been a member here for 71 years now.

And he’s like, I’m glad I stuck through the difficult times. So then I could see this time where there was actually life change occurring, heart change occurring, that, that God has glorified the name of Jesus is exalted above all names and people are coming to know Christ and. So, yeah, that’s some wins.

obviously there’s, there’s so much more that I really can say. And there was a time where I thought I’m only going to be able to tell you about the complaints, right? All, all the negativity. but my wife looked at me, she’s so wise. She looked at me and said, you know, when you were in insurance, I, I used to sell insurance.

She said when you were in insurance, you said that you wanted to hang out with five millionaires because you wanted to be the sixth. She said, why don’t you find five joyful people to be around? And so then you’ll be the sixth. And that’s my final thing, is that I learned is that it is so important to have godly men in your circle.

Lifting up your arms, in the days that are tough in the days where you’re just like, what, what am I supposed to do? Like, how do I, how do I navigate a business meeting where they vote to ordain me and then vote to fire me? What, what, what is this? or how do I navigate, Going to get a haircut and hearing all the bad things that I’m doing or

[00:12:55] JimBo Stewart: Yeah.

[00:12:55] Tim Williams: being called little Hitler on a Facebook group because I changed the name of the church and it wasn’t even me It was the church that changed the name and how how do you you know?

And I there was a time where I messaged you and said have you ever experienced this and it’s like it’s good It’s great to know that obviously not Not that, you know, you want this to happen to anybody else, but know that if it’s happening to you, it’s probably happening to somebody else. And there’s, you know, other people have weathered this storm.

It’s worth it at the end, you know? So that’s where, that’s where we’re at.

[00:13:23] JimBo Stewart: No, it’s great to know that you’re not alone in the travails of it. And so I want to pull back to a couple of things that you said. One, don’t microwave the brisket is the most Texas way I’ve ever heard of giving pastoral advice. And so, I’ve seen the stickers I’ve seen, you know, Jonathan and I did our doctoral work together at New Orleans and, became friends there.

And so I love seeing what he’s doing. And, that saying I, I think is, is probably the best that I’ve, I’ve heard as far as contextualizing it to where you’re at in Texas. So explain a little bit of what you mean when you say, don’t microwave the brisket.

[00:14:03] Tim Williams: So there was some things. There was, okay, understanding that God is sovereign and I will never Monday morning quarterback myself, but knowing that there’s a possibility of me going somewhere else and, and Lord willing, replanting another church, I will definitely, Not care so much about the, coffee maker in the lobby.

Right. That was a, I microwaved the brisket on it. Like I love coffee and I had some other young people that were coming. They were like, Hey, we really want coffee. But I had no idea that that would be so offensive to a senior Saint. Right. So I microwaved that instead of going to that senior Saint. Sitting down and saying, Hey, this is why, uh, instead I just microwaved it.

You know, I wanted the quick and easy way, but you know, when you, whenever you microwave brisket, it never comes out the same, like it’s not good. It’s tough and it does, it’s not, it’s flavorless and it’ll burn your mouth. And so that was, you know, that that’s one example, but there was many examples of microwaving the brisket.

I, you know, the, the church. Of course, they said they wanted us to bring in leadership and structure. You know, the church never had bylaws, never had, any, official structure. And so I started presenting like, Hey, let’s, okay, let’s put some bylaws together and I’ll teach through them on Wednesday nights, and I didn’t even make it through the preamble because in the preamble, I didn’t put that we were Southern Baptist, and so all of a sudden I was making us non denominational, which wasn’t the case at all.

We’re Southern Baptist through and through. But, you know, just. Not taking that time to patiently. I mean, I got to know them. I did the things, you know, went and sat in their homes and, really got to hear their stories. I did those things, but, uh, I didn’t, take the time to let the brisket sit, to, to let it marinate and then let it sit on the smoker for a little while longer, just to get the, you know, and then, oh, and then carefully handle it to wrap it up after a few hours.

So then it, the juice remains inside. And, instead, there was just some things that I. Toss in the microwave and tried to nuke it. And that’s exactly what happened is I nuked it and it just exploded. you know, and, relationships were strained in that. So there’s a, there’s a few unique relationships with the OG that I deeply regret, even though it was at no fault of anybody, there was no, no single person is at fault.

It was a, there was a couple of circumstances that led up to. Just unfortunate circumstances and it caused her feelings and there’s no amount of repentance or seeking forgiveness that you can have to, to mend that when, you know, a nuclear bomb went off in that relationship. And so it just takes time to repair that relationship to,

[00:16:52] JimBo Stewart: That’s good. So, alright, so let’s, quickly, let’s, let’s go through, over the last two and a half years, you know, you’ve, you’ve learned some about, don’t microwave the brisket, the importance of the simple approach. Preach, pray, pray. Love, stay, don’t overcomplicate it, don’t rush it, invest in young men, that’s one of the things we talked about the last time you were on the podcast and you’ve seen some wins from doing that.

what else have you learned that maybe if somebody’s listening to this and they’re one month in, like you were the last time you were on here, that you’ve learned over the last two and a half years that you would share with that listener.

[00:17:27] Tim Williams: you guys say, call it pastoral grit.

 You just got to weather, be faithful. your faithfulness is like, uh, here’s another Texas, contextual illustration, but faithfulness is like a thermometer of your relationship with God. It’s not establishing, you know, your faithfulness does not establish a relationship with God.

It just shows where your relationship is at with the Lord. And so remain faithful in the small things and God will reward you with the big. I mean, we’re not. Amen. Busting at the seams with people, but we are busting at the seams with joy. And I truly believe it’s because we just stuck through it. We weathered the storms.

Don’t worry about fear of man. Like that was a sin that I dealt with for a year and a half was, you know, the fear of man, like who cares if you’re doing the right thing, if you’re doing, you know, obviously if you’re doing the wrong thing, if you’re intentionally frustrating people, that’s, you got to check your heart, but I had to say, you know, what God, I’m trying to be faithful to you.

Would you just be faithful to me? And he’s never failed. Not one single time. And so pastoral grit, just grinding through it, the difficulties, the times when you’re having to counsel an 82 year old woman for slander, or where you’re having to address a financial discrepancy in the books, just do it and get through it because the light at the end of the tunnel, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

That’s my, that’s the only thing I’ve continued to remind myself of. And so I, that’s what is keeping me, In the game, I guess. And, and obviously you can’t do that alone and it’s impossible to do it alone. So that’s my quick preach, pray, love, and stay. Got to have somebody with you. Rely on men who are in your circle, hopefully in your context.

cause I, and I’ll tell you every single one of the, there’s four men that I rely solely on for every decision I make. none of them have replanted a church, but all of them have pastored. And, so they don’t have the, practical ways of telling me, Hey, this is what you should do. no, I rely on the boot, the replant bootcamp for that.

Right. but for the connection relationship between two men. it’s, I just found four faithful men that, that will lift my arms up, in times of need.

[00:19:48] JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I think having, mentors, coaches, is one of the most valuable things that you can do in ministry, as a lifelong learner, and in the idea of fearing God more than you fear man. I mean, that’s the beginning of wisdom, right? And, so when we fearone of the ways I’ve understood fearing God, as I’ve studied it, is fearing God is understanding God.

That I may not always understand. Why God does things the way he does or how, like, what, like, but I understand that he’s right and I’m wrong. Like, even when I don’t get why he’s right and I’m wrong, I just know he’s right and, and I’m wrong. An analogy that I, I’ve given to some, because before you were in insurance before ministry, I was in the culinary world and cooking, which is why I love the don’t microwave thing.

the brisket because I don’t microwave anything, but especially not brisket. I would never in my life microwave. I’m not from Texas, but I would still consider microwaving brisket to be a mortal sin. and so one of the things I’ve said is, is here’s how I understand fear in God is Let’s say my wife says she met somebody, a couple, and they’re coming over for dinner, and she told him I was going to cook.

That would not stress me out. I’m, I’m not, I’m not confident that I’m the best cook you’ve ever had, but I’m confident I can cook a meal that you will enjoy. That is a casual meal we’re going to eat, and we’re going to enjoy it, and it’s going to be a good time. And so I cook a meal, I’m excited to do it, I get it ready, I plate it, and right before the couple walks in, let’s just say my wife goes, Oh, I forgot to tell you.

the husband is a five star Michelin chef, that’s coming up like all of a sudden I’m gonna feel real different about everything that I just cooked, right? I’m gonna realize there’s no, there’s no possible universe in which anything I just did was right. Like there, there’s no, there’s no way that this is going to measure up.

Like, there’s no way this guy’s not going to walk in and just be like, oh, this poor guy doesn’t know what he’s doing. and that, that’s a little bit of that, that fear. It really plays out when, let’s say, after dinner, I really like the guy, we have good rapport, and I ask him, Hey, As a five star Michelin chef, what are ways I could have done this better, right?

Well, the fear, is to just, I’m not gonna question anything he says. I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna assume he’s right, I’m wrong, because I know nothing I do will ever measure up to what he’s, He is capable of doing. And when it comes to fearing God, I think that’s what it is, is understanding that God is the shepherd of the church.

God is the one in charge. And the reason we have to humbly preach, pray, love, and stay, the reason we can’t microwave the brisket, the reason we have to have mentors speaking into our lives, be lifelong learners and constantly in that shape us is because we need that wisdom. And we’re, we’re not in that ultimate position of authority.

And so, I would echo, the lessons you’ve learned over the last two and a half years, you probably would have even amend and agreed to them when we spoke two and a half years ago, but now you are starting to experientially actually know. that those things are true.

[00:22:56] Tim Williams: Yeah.

[00:22:57] JimBo Stewart: and so that makes a big difference. And I hope that if we have some, some guys listening that are new in their journey of replanting revitalization, that they pay attention, because those are super important lessons.

[00:23:09] Tim Williams: Yeah. Invaluable for sure. And you wouldn’t think it, uh, of course, you know, a month and you’re like, yeah, yeah, I could do that. No, like it’s a lot easier said than done. So just do it.

[00:23:20] JimBo Stewart: It seems like an oversimplification, and I think that is sometimes the frustrating thing that, guys get frustrated when I meet with them and they’re brand new and they want me to, you know, expound some really great silver bullet detailed wisdom of, man, if you’ll do these six things, and when I give them kind of basic stuff, they’re like, I kind of was hoping for something more than that.

And, I don’t know, there’s, I don’t know that there is anything more than that. You just have to do those things. Well, Tim, thank you so much for coming on onto the podcast again. maybe we’ll have you back on another two and a half years and see how things are going, in that journey. one, could you point our listeners to where they could learn more about and maybe even partner with what you guys are doing, uh, in East Texas and how we can pray for you, and then would you please pray for those that are listening?


[00:24:13] Tim Williams: go ahead and follow us on Facebook, The Vine Church, or facebook. com slash Vine Church MP. And, uh, same thing on Instagram, Vine Church MP and then, uh, Vine Church MP. It’s Mary Papa, like Mount Pleasant. And, I’d love for you to find out more there, or contact me through social media, Tim Williams, and, I’m on Jimbo’s socials.

You can, you can find me if you can find me, then we can be friends. That’s a, that’s a, that’s a old, uh, church planner thing. If you can find us, then you can meet with us. but, yeah, the one area that, I would like for everybody to be praying for us is, Twofold. So, we’re relaunching September.

But we’re also considering what ways our facilities can be a blessing to the community, whether that’s going to be through a private school. so we’re just discerning the Lord’s will in that. So assuming somebody is going to listen to this in five years and maybe something’s already happened, but, yeah, just, Pray for our launch, our relaunch that our outreach would be faithful to the Lord and not us expecting people to come, but us going to the community.

that’s it.

[00:25:21] JimBo Stewart: right,

[00:25:21] Tim Williams: you want me to pray

[00:25:22] JimBo Stewart: our listeners?

[00:25:23] Tim Williams: Yes, sir. Father, we come before you humbly, knowing that you are God, that we have no need to fear because, uh, you, uh, have gone before us, that you, lead us to still waters and green pastures, and God, I pray that for the weary and heavy laden, that they would come to you and that they would receive rest.

And for the pastor who is one month in, rip roaring, ready to go. God, I pray that you would first humble him. And God, that you would draw him near to yourself and lift him up in, with courage and strength like that of Joshua. And I pray, God, for the families who are Weathering storms in their life, whether it be from drama, uh, within the body or somebody seeking division or, or maybe medical concerns, God, I pray that you would bring a peace that surpasses understanding into their relationships and into their life and God that you would, raise them up. To be bold, shepherds, under shepherds of your flock and that they would care for your flock and, Lord, I pray that you would raise up more men, to do this same work that glorifies you in replanting, dying churches. God, you, deserve the glory. You deserve the praise. And so I just pray for more men, Lord, to enter the harvest field and to, Do the work, the hard work, the gritty and glorious work of redeeming brokenness in our communities.

We love you so much and we praise you as the name above all names. Amen.

[00:27:01] JimBo Stewart: Amen.

don't microwave the brisket, Don't Pastor Alone, Pastoral Grit, replanting, send network, tactical patience, texas, Tim Williams, vine church

Jimbo Stewart

Replant Bootcamp Co-Host

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