EPISODE #77 – EVALUATING YOUR CALL PT.2
The boys are back picking up where they left off-talking transitions in ministry, specifically how Jimbo became a “denominational guy” and why. Check it out as we discuss the importance of learning, serving and letting God lead you on a journey in ministry.
How did you begin the path to becoming a denominational man?
- There was a key moment when I remember my passion quickening after having a conversation and helping a local pastor.
- Networking and Partnership has always been important to me and something that I practiced from the early days of ministry.
- I contacted my Association as soon as I moved to Florida and said I’m here to learn and serve.
- I began to ask my Associational Leader questions about Replanting and Revitalization, all the time!
- I had the idea and passion to help others not make the mistakes and experiencing the pain I had as a Replanter.
- My Associational Leader saw that passion and drive and gave me the opportunity to serve.
How did you decide you need to make the switch and transition out of Pastoring a local Replant?
- I realized my church needed someone who could give more than I was able to give
- The church needed someone with a different skill set who could take the church to a new place.
- It was the obvious next step to me and confirmed by those around me.
An important question to ask: Are you willing to do the work (serve other pastors, churches) with no pay and little recognition?
(From Jimbo’s Mentor) There are three kinds of denominational leaders
- They one who sees his position and as a promotion and believes he has arrived-and is immediately irrelevant.
- The one who sees his position as a way to end or retire-and is immediately irrelevant.
- The one who has a passion to serve pastors and churches with everything he has-be that guy.
Learn to be content with the pace of your ministry and the pace of your ministry and let God direct both.
Raising Up Replanters (vintage edition) 199.99
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Show notes powered by Descript are an approximation of the verbal content, consult podcast audio for accuracy
[00:00:00] JimBo Stewart: here we are back at the bootcamp part two part of the conversation about transitioning and ministry evaluating call. And it was one of the questions I get all the time. And you know what? The other question I get is no. What do you do?
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: One guy was like, so you like semiretired now or
Bob Bickford: semiretired?
I don’t understand what that
JimBo Stewart: means. Okay. I think some people have experienced some denominational workers. Okay. Who maybe don’t approach their role with great fervor and urgency. That’s a nice way. I noticed
Bob Bickford: it. I think I, that Jimbo that’s true of about any profession or anything. It really
JimBo Stewart: is. I mean, well, here, here, here is one true thing.
Ministry in general is, is a place where lazy [00:01:00] people can find a place to
Bob Bickford: hide. Yes. I started with a pastor one time and he said this, you can be as busy. As you want to be in ministry, or you can be as lazy as you want to be in ministry. Yep. And his whole point was, um, you need to be busy. Like that was the, that was the senior pastor.
My first full-time job as a youth pastor, he’s the guy who bought me a daytimer and I had to turn in my daytimer every single week to him. Ooh. Cause he wanted to see how I was spending my time, but it was really quick. You would have lost the date diver.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. I’ve always loved the idea of stuff like that.
And I’ll always buy a wine and I’m like, this looks so cool. How awesome would it be to have everything written down and categorized and I’ll do it for like, and day. And then I’m like, Oh, this is miserable. I’m not doing this. One day, I’m going to have somebody else that does that. Right? When I, when I get big enough.
Bob Bickford: So you don’t right now?
JimBo Stewart: No, [00:02:00] no. When I’m in my garage,
Bob Bickford: you are in the garage office. And, uh, so if you ever pull into the pastor’s care, go hoard on a Monday or the Bible vocational cohort, a which is once a month, I think. And, uh, Jimbo will be live from his garage. He’s got the giant replant banner behind him.
That’s many years old. They don’t even send it out
JimBo Stewart: anymore. They accidentally sent that to me. I was doing an event in South Carolina, and I just wanted to say small banner to put at the table that I was asked to set up so that it would represent the team. Well, and I get home Bob and there is a massive plastic.
Like you could, you could hide a dead little person
it’s just on my porch. And it just says, Mark Clifton real big on it. And I thought, what in the world did they just send me? And so I open it [00:03:00] up and sure enough, it is this massive, like eight foot by. I mean, you guys just gotta be what, seven foot high by eight foot wide steel girder, steel girder, like just insane.
And so I didn’t have a good backdrop for zoom calls and recording. And so just as just for a kick, I set it up back there and it’s a perfect fit and it looks great on camera. And so it’s going to stay there for a little
Bob Bickford: while. Well, we’re not using it’s old form and it’s old. It’s the old style. So I don’t think anybody’s going to ever ask you for it back.
No, cause that kind of stuff because Oh, they
JimBo Stewart: do. I can’t afford the shipping I think is huge.
Bob Bickford: Well, fortunately you are a company man. Now, instead of it gets us back to our topic on this podcast. So Jimbo ho how, how does somebody work come to work for Nan? Or the Jacksonville Baptist association. And [00:04:00] as a, as a guy who did some contract work with them association guy who works with name, I could answer that, but this is part two of your story.
So you can tell your story and then I can add some color. Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: For my own account. Maybe I can say the wrong way. And you can say the right way now. Um, so here’s one of the things is in the last episode, we talked about that kind of moment where I identified. And then maybe there was something in my heart where I was, I was more energized and more passionate about coming alongside a local pastor and helping him through some things than I was about some really great things going on at redemption.
And that woke some things up in me and it made me do a lot of self evaluation. And one of the things I realized is I can look back in all my years of ministry. I have always loved network. Type stuff. Always I’ve always collaborated and gotten churches together. And I just, I don’t like doing things by myself.
[00:05:00] And so I’ve always been the guy who was like, Hey, let’s get the youth pastors and let’s, let’s get together once a month and let’s talk a little bit, learn from each other. And And so when I moved to new Orleans, it had ministry there. Same thing with youth ministry started getting youth pastors together. We started doing citywide disciple now. So we started, I just have always felt like we could do more of churches linked arms and we weren’t territorial and we just did stuff.
Um, it was never with us. Never trying to climb a ladder, never trying to get my name. I just knew my church will be better served if we partner with that church in that church or that church. And we can reach this city better if we do it together. So when I moved to Jacksonville to replant redemption church, One of the first things I did was call the local association and said, Hey, talk to me about what you guys do.
What’s your about? I just want to learn who you are. So they had an event coming up. I come, I sit with the Don Rick Wheeler and we talk and I learned to hear his heart. And I was like, okay, [00:06:00] I’m here to learn. I’m here to plug in and serve whatever I can do. Uh, I want to learn. And so I came in with a learning posture, not a, Hey, let me bring my expertise, let me bring my wisdom.
Uh, and, and I think that’s the key is we need to, uh, always be with a learning posture. No matter who’s in the room, right? Um, never assume you’re the smartest person in the room. And even if you are, which you probably aren’t, as a matter of fact, if you think you’re the smartest person, you, chances are you aren’t, but never assume that you are.
And, but even if you were perhaps hypothetically the smartest person in the room, None of us are as smart as all of us collectively. Right? There’s just a collective wisdom when the body comes together, this is the past, as we’ve pointed to a lot, Ephesians four, 11 through 16, right? When each part plays its part properly, the church builds itself up in love.
And so I love to see that happen. [00:07:00] I, I, it, it. It really fires me up when I get to see churches partner with each other, pastors helping each other, not territorial, not competitive, but helping. And so, so
Bob Bickford: learning, serving with the mission of churches accomplishing the ministry that they’re called to in a more effective manner.
Yeah. That’s the foundation. Yeah. That we are truly
JimBo Stewart: better together.
Bob Bickford: Right. Right. So, so you’re, you’re experiencing this transition or this in your heart first, and then the Lord’s opening up opportunities. Right. And just opening up. So this is always kind of the mystery is how does that work? Where you, you you’re, you’re networking, you’re serving, you’re learning, you’re getting people together.
You’re helping kingdom. Efforts and then all of a sudden doors to start opening kind of a situation.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. So I would always ask Rick Wheeler, a thousand questions. Uh, [00:08:00] Hey, dealing with this. Who do I talk to? How do I get help? Uh, Hey, can we have lunch and I need to bounce some things off of you. And so, uh, I just kept asking him questions about revitalization, replanting as Nam, starting to put out all this information about replanting.
It’s a lot of that’s coming out as I’m entering into my hardest years. Right. At redemption. And it’s so I’m like, I’m devouring it, man. I’m reading everything you guys are putting out. Um, every blog, every book, every, I mean, I’m just devouring it. I couldn’t find enough podcast episodes. I couldn’t, I mean, I just couldn’t get enough.
Bob Bickford: Well, we didn’t have very many podcast episodes. I listened
JimBo Stewart: to all seven that’s. And, uh, I just couldn’t get enough. And so, and when I would find something particularly helpful, I would always send it to Rick. Hey, just came across this really helpful. Well, when raising up re planters, the first edition came out.
If you look up on, if you look at raising up re planters on Amazon, Now when a book’s out of print, [00:09:00] Amazon does something weird and they’ll Jack the price up stupid high. And so I think I saw on there one time, like raising up re planters, like the first print edition, like it’s like 200 bucks or something stupid.
Uh, but it was like, what you get the new better one for like five bucks or something like that. So that’s more like it. Yeah. So when the first one came out, uh, that idea of helping equip others really. You, I mean jazz me, man. I was so, and here’s why there’s so much of what I was reading, what you guys were putting out that like, part of me was angry because I really wish you guys would’ve started that a few years
Bob Bickford: before.
Sorry. I’m sorry. So, so, so the, our side of the story, it was just kind of cool because you’re, you’re, you’re in receiving things that we’re riding. And so I was on the receiving end of a lot of head wounds as a re planter. And I was saying in the early, early days of the replant team, when it was just all of us [00:10:00] were part-time guys and, and, uh, contractors, that sort of thing.
Um, I, we were just saying, look, we we’ve, we have individually experienced challenges and pain and frustration. So can we collaborate together to write resources where others don’t experience the same pain that we’ve experienced? Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: And so I just found it on my phone, raising up re planters $200,
Bob Bickford: your screenshot back that
JimBo Stewart: show notes.
That’s crazy. So, uh, but yeah, and so I kept thinking, man, if I could somehow take what’s in this book, raising up three planters and I can help some guy. There you go. Go into this and not receive as many head wounds as I had. And it, and it not be as hard as it was for me. Not that it would make it not it’s hard, but there were things that were hard.
And there were things that were hard because of my ignorance that [00:11:00] I’m reading, I’m going, this would have saved me so much pain. If I’d have read this prior to the mistakes that I’ve made. And that really fired me up. And so I guess I just talked to Rick about that so much that one day. So I I’m sending Rick a picture of that book, raising up re planters, and I said, just finished reading this.
We have to figure out how to do this at the JBA. And so he goes, let’s get coffee this week. So we go get coffee and he goes, Hey, would you be interested in coming on contract as a revitalization, replanting strategists? And I laughed. I mean, I literally laughed at him because I thought, have you. Have you been listening to, what’s been happening
Bob Bickford: at my church a few.
Have you been a secret shopper at my church? Because
JimBo Stewart: it ain’t going great, buddy. I I’m in a whole lot of walls here. And so here’s, here’s what hit me is he said pray about it. And here’s my [00:12:00] honest thought. I thought I so badly want to see this happen. And it’s so important to me that we figure out how to help guys.
That I really want it to be somebody better at it than I am. And that’s what I told Rick. I said, I, my preference would be that you find someone that’s better at it than me. And let me just help that guy and be his biggest cheerleader. And he goes, I think you’re the guy to do it. And so that’s how I ended up at the JBA.
Yeah. Um, and it wasn’t, I mean, it was, it was, that was consistently. Learning consistently trying to pass resources to others. And I was just, I was already doing it. And we’ve said before, when, when you are looking for an elder, when you’re looking for a deacon. You look for someone who’s already doing it, right?
You look for a guy who already leads and serves in so many of those capacities, which you don’t want to do is bring a guy on, to be an elder, bring a [00:13:00] guy home, to be a deacon, and then hope that they start doing some of those things. Yeah. And, and if I were to say anything, I guess if looking back, that’s probably what Rick saw was not that I, not at all.
I don’t think they saw that I had any sort of wisdom, uh, above anybody else in our association, as much as he goes, man, this kid is just jazzed about replanting and revitalization and he’s just reading everything and he’s talking about it and he’s sharing it with others. He’s asking good questions. And so just his energy and excitement towards that.
And then I can maybe raise him up a little bit. I mean, my guess.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. I think that there are key points in your story. And we were talking about this earlier. Um, when we were driving tonight, um, we can lead from a position of platform or we can lead from a position of passion. Right. Um, we can lead from experience [00:14:00] and all of those things are important platform without passion.
And without experience is really dangerous, right? Because if you’re just, if you’re just repeating what you’ve learned in a classroom or what you’ve read in a book without filtering it through the, the real world of your own experience, and you’re trying to apply it, then you just are giving a book report.
Basically. Yeah. And, and so part of, part of what we discovered as the initial group of contractors that formed the, for the first replant team early on, we were all practitioners, every single one of us was in the trenches doing what we’re doing. And that’s why we started this podcast is because you and I felt like there was an absence of at the time people who were in it and doing it, you know, Rolling the sleeves up and you, you have transitioned out [00:15:00] recently, but you’ve transitioned out with this specific purpose of actually giving more time to serve the local church and the churches and the, and the work of replanting, because in your situation you couldn’t do both.
Right. And so it came, there was a decision point there where you’re going to like then after I always want to help churches and pastors through associations and networking and Nam and all those things. But I don’t, I can’t do
JimBo Stewart: both. Yeah, no redemption needed a pastor who could give a lot of needs, a pastor that can give a lot of energy and effort towards, uh, some systems and processes.
And I just knew that, that I I’m I’m, I’m not that guy. And I mean, I, I’m not just saying this, like legitimately I love redemption church. And I miss not being there and I miss the people and I, I w I watched closely what’s going on in great excitement, uh, to see what happens. And I’m hoping that, uh, as [00:16:00] we prayerfully pursue what church we’re going to attend and still don’t know the answer to that question, one of my hopes is that I can be a helpful.
Lay leader in whatever church in some way or lay servant or whatever. Um, I don’t, I don’t want to be a denominational guy that has a quote unquote home church that I never act, and I don’t contribute beyond ties. I want to be in it. And so we’ve talked in previous episodes about, uh, Peter levels of.
Leadership we stole from the air force. Well, something else I learned from air force leadership in their air force Academy. Professors can only be professors away from the battlefield for five years, and then they’ve got it. They have to go back, um, and get back in because they want airmen teaching airmen.
They don’t, they don’t want. Just philosophical, theoretical stuff.
Bob Bickford: This is a really important piece here. And I want to just to venture out into some [00:17:00] like almost thin ice territory here. Um, there’s a pro proliferation right now of degree programs in the field of revitalization and replanting, um, where some of the instructors may not actually be re planters or revitalizes.
Yeah. Right. It reminds me of a time in my life and I were kind of laughing about this this morning. Not that. Not that side of it, but I went to college and I went to college in and got a religious education youth ministry degree because I was going to be a youth pastor all of my life. Right, right. A lot of us were at 35.
I realized I really don’t like middle schoolers at all. And I don’t want to ever do another lock-in ever in my life. Our life took
JimBo Stewart: like 12 years off your life. Well,
Bob Bickford: for every lock-in you do you lose a one year of your life. Yeah. That’s, that’s the equation. It’s a direct, right. So I’ve got, um, I’ve got another year and a half Jimbo.
I just want to say it’s been yeah, good to be with them. [00:18:00] So I had, I had a youth ministry professors that had never been in youth ministry. Yeah. And they basically, we read books together and I had to, you know, learn from them. And it’s not saying I couldn’t learn something from them. Yeah. There are translatable ministry experience, but they hadn’t been in the trenches.
Yeah. Doing that. And so I think one of the, one of the key factors for us as the replant team, uh we’re we are practitioners we’re engaged. Um, and so I think that that comes from a place in a commitment to say it’s important to be involved in the work as well as helping to inform those who are involved in the work.
Yep. Right. So practitioners, player, coaches, we’re not experts, right? Yeah. Um, but we, we know a few things cause we’ve been around the block. Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: So I’ll say in, in may God willing, I will [00:19:00] walk across the stage and become Dr.
Bob Bickford: Jimbo, Dr. Jim, but you still need to get the website.
JimBo Stewart: We were just talking about platforms.
I don’t know that I want to build my platform around that. Okay. Uh, so, but here’s what I’ll tell you. And I’m grateful for my time, right? The great new Orleans Baptist, theological seminary, no butts with the best food of any seminary,
Bob Bickford: um, and the highest razor wire.
JimBo Stewart: But, uh, and I’m grateful for my classes.
And I learned a lot. From professors, Dr. Rakofsky, Dr. O’Shea in particular, Dr. Parker, um, learned a lot from those guys and those guys are practitioners. I mean, they’re, they’re in the field doing, doing interims, leading churches, revitalizing churches. Uh, I’ll tell you a fun story. One day where Dr. Makowski literally replanted a church, picked it up, put it on a trailer, moved it down the road.
And, uh, but, [00:20:00] um, but I also learned maybe more. Serving with the Jacksonville Baptist association, um, serving with Nam, learning from local pastors, learning from mentors. I mean, I learned just as much if not more, uh, in that as I did in my doctoral process of seminars. And so, um, here’s one of the questions I think you have to ask yourself, are you willing to do the work for no pay and no recognition?
There you go. Um, and if not, then don’t yeah, don’t do it. Yeah. Um, has to be there. That passion piece has to be there. That experience piece has to be there. And if the Lord decides to give you a platform, then you better use that wisely because as we have seen platforms can very easily lead to. [00:21:00] Moral failure.
If you let that turn into some sort of ego boost, ego stroke, you’re the man. Uh, if you say one of my mentors, when I was talking to him about doing denominational ministry with Nam JBA, here’s what he said to me. He said there are really three kinds of denominational workers. One or the guys who see this as the promotion, they think they’re the big, big dog now.
And they pretty much immediately become irrelevant to our guys who have found this as a way to retire. They also pretty much immediately become irrelevant. Three guys who passionately love serving and helping local pastors and churches. And those are the guys who are rock stars. Um, Always be that third guy.
And that’s a piece of advice I’ve held onto. And I hope I continue to hold on to, uh, that I haven’t graduated into anything [00:22:00] that the same guy also said there are no promotions in ministry because the significance of your ministry role is in the role giver. Not in the role. Yeah. Right. And so there are no promotions.
You don’t, you don’t promote in ministry. They’re all lateral moves. Every one of them. And so he told me, put your yes on the table and let the Lord work out the details. Right. And so if you want a platform, I think you’re pursuing the
Bob Bickford: wrong thing. Yeah. It’s, you’re starting in the wrong place. Yeah. Right.
Because the platform is about. It’s uh, uh, it, and I would say this, we, we perceive, uh, people who are in ministry who have platforms to be different than they actually are. Yeah. Right. And so I’ve been, you know, around, in different places yeah. And worked in some different networks and I’ve been around some nationally recognized folks and they are regular people.
And, [00:23:00] um, Th they just, you know, there, there’s a number of things I can say, but if you’re pursuing a platform, that’s the wrong place to start. If you want to help churches and you want to help people and you’re willing to help anybody anywhere, anytime, and not have to get the credit or get paid a giant fee for helping them, then you’re, you’re in the right place.
And I think the Lord will honor that if, if you have this idea and desire to build some kind of. You know, platform with all that you anticipate in. Imagine that we come with it. It may be that the Lord doesn’t say yes to that because it’s beginning of the wrong place and it hasn’t. Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: So here’s the thing you want to partner with other churches?
I did it when I was an intern. Right. Um, you don’t need a platform. You do not need a platform to partner with other churches. You don’t need a platform to take another youth, pastor another pastor to lunch. And encouraging. You don’t need a platform to contact a guy going through a hard time ministry and just pray for [00:24:00] him and be there.
And until those are parts of natural rhythms of your life, uh, then I don’t think you should get a platform, right? Those, those have gotta be natural parts and the rhythms of your life. Not because anyone ever has ever paid you to do it or that you desire to be paid to do it. Um, I can legitimately say, uh, for the most part, everything I do right now, I would do without being paid gladly.
Yeah. I mean, um, I’m incredibly blessed and grateful and I don’t take that for granted that I, I am able to make a living doing it now. Um, But I, I would legitimately do all of this. I would go and talk. I mean, I have done it. I mean, I would just come alongside pastors and be encouraging if I can and be helpful if I can, just because I love the bride of Christ and I love doing that.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. [00:25:00] So some, some of you guys who are listening, you’re called to be a re planter and you’re called to local context of your association. In particular, you may just be called at your church. And that is super infighting. Good. So, um, people who work for denominations like us are not the rock stars, it’s the local pastor.
Absolutely. And so, um, B be satisfied, fulfilled, and, and overjoyed at the simplicity of leading well in, uh, in, uh, In a local congregation for the long haul. There’s a great joy in that. Um, there’s not a lot of joy necessarily in driving hours and waiting hours to catch a plane and flying somewhere to speak for, you know, three hours and then repeating the process and going back.
Yeah. Um, What the trend, the transaction that takes place in, in the setting that takes us a long time to get someplace is the same thing that you can do in your setting, where you’re at and [00:26:00] just loving people, encouraging, you know, resourcing people. And that’s one of the things is, is, um, for those who want to have an influence.
You probably at some point need to think about content creation and like, what can I do to make things better? And, and some people are gifted to create things and write content and make things from blank pages and some people aren’t and that’s okay. Like, just know who you are. And, and so part of the gifting mix, that is, it is in you and some others who are in that role is a God’s wired you up in a particular way and giving you a passionate in particular way to do a certain thing.
And so all of that. Has been, has been shaped and influenced informed by the local pastoring that you did for seven, eight, seven, eight years. Right. And the work that you did as youth, pastor prior to that. So in many ways, like you mentioned, like Audrey saw, this is a natural progression of here’s the next step that the Lord has for you in doing this and your education has been part of that and all [00:27:00] that kind of stuff.
So, so guys, if you’re out there and listen to all the things I would just say is like, Just look at the trajectory of what the Lord’s doing in your life. Be content with the pace of it. Yeah. In the place of it.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. Bloom where you’re planted.
Bob Bickford: I hate that. I hate when people say that because I was the guy that always wanted to go somewhere,
JimBo Stewart: nonetheless just know you are where you are and serve the Lord as best you can. Right. Where you’re at.