SBTS profs on first pastorate: Russell D. Moore

Communications Staff — September 18, 2009

This is the fourth post of a seven-part series running each Friday. Russell D. Moore serves as dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern Seminary. Moore also fills the role of teaching pastor at the Highview Baptist Church Fegenbush Campus, in Louisville. Moore blogs at Moore to the Point.

Russell D. Moore
Russell D. Moore

First position/length: Associate pastor at Bay Vista Baptist Church in Biloxi, Miss. It was largely an Air Force congregation located a couple of miles from Keesler Air Force Base. I think of our days at Bay Vista every day of my life, and always with joy and gratitude.

Early mistakes/lessons. My worst early mistake was not at Bay Vista, but earlier in a youth ministry position. I was headstrong and arrogant, and I also had a very utopian view of human nature. When people gossiped about me or lied to me or shirked their responsibilities, I was surprised and hurt. I had much to learn about the kind of patient endurance and love that the Apostle Paul tells Timothy about in 2 Timothy 2.

Words of wisdom: First, I would advise you to surrender your ego to the Lordship of Christ. This ministry is not about you, which means the criticism is not an assault upon your personal self worth. Learn from the criticisms people make about you. Even slanderous gossip must contain a hint of the truth; otherwise, it wouldn’t be credible enough for people to send around the “prayer chain.” Don’t be held hostage to such criticism but analyze it and ask, “Why do people believe this and how can I help to love and to lead them?”

Second, avoid the lure of paying attention to the “important” people in the church or community. Evangelize the trailer parks, show up at Vacation Bible School, and kneel down to hug the snottiest-nosed kid in the room; of such is the Kingdom of God, and it is in those places and among those people the rest of the world scorns that God will raise up a generation to keep preaching the Gospel you preach now.

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