Pastor Vance Pitman graciously took the time to answer several questions about leadership, administration and church growth. I believe the SBCVoices audience will benefit from his words of wisdom and I hope each reader can take something back to their own church to help lead their congregation in God’s direction.
Vance Pitman is the Founding and Senior Pastor of Hope Baptist Church in Las Vegas, NV. Vance was raised in a Christian home and mentored by his father, a Southern Baptist Minister, Vance surrendered control of his life to Jesus Christ at age seventeen. At age eighteen, in response to God’s call, he relinquished his life to preach the Gospel and has vowed to serve the Lord the rest of his life. He was licensed to the Gospel ministry on December 12, 1990 and ordained to the Gospel ministry on June 22, 1994 at First Baptist Church, Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He is serving as the president of this years SBC Pastor’s Conference.
SBC Voices asks: How do you get people to follow when you see change that needs to happen?
Vance Pitman responds: The key to people following spiritual leadership is vision. When God’s people understand clearly what God is doing, they will always respond positively to whatever change is asked of them. The problem is that many times God’s people are shown our plans and not convinced of God’s activity. If we are faithful and patient as spiritual leaders for God to clearly make His activity obvious in the life of our fellowship, His people will always respond to His activity.
SBC Voices asks: How do you promote unity among those who follow you?
Vance Pitman responds: Unity is found in moving people onto God’s agenda. As long as we are pursuing our plans there will be division, but where there is clear evidence of God’s activity, God’s people unite. We see it over and over in the book of Acts when the Bible says they were all together with “one mind”. That can literally be translated “one passion”. Meaning they had wrapped their hearts around the heart of the Father. We must be passionate about seeking the heart of the Father and leading people to join His activity. When this happens, there is unity.
SBC Voices asks: Do you have any key principals that you follow that you believe makes you an effective leader?
Vance Pitman responds: I’ll give you a few:
- God’s primary call on my life is not ministry, it’s intimacy. Every area God uses me as a leader are the overflow of my intimate fellowship with Him.
- Wisdom always seeks counsel because my input is never enough and my perspective is always limited
- God’s activity is always bigger than me
- What God is doing locally is always connected to His activity globally
SBC Voices asks: How do you balance your ministry duties with administrative duties?
Vance Pitman responds: Part of the answer to this question is understanding that everything we do has kingdom impact. Returning emails and phone calls is “spiritual activity” if I am allowing Christ to live through me even in the details of the job. There aren’t “important” and “non-important” aspects of kingdom work. Some I may enjoy more than others, but it all has to be accomplished to be effective in God’s kingdom work. The other part of the answer is understanding my particular unique gifts and strengths and prioritizing my schedule that I spend most of my time doing what God has gifted me to do and where I am most valuable to our church and staff team.
SBC Voices asks: What is your greatest challenge in the administrative part of your duties?
Vance Pitman responds: Mine would be that since I am very administratively inclined I sometimes have a hard time letting go of some of the administrative details.
SBC Voices asks: Do you have any advice on preventing the administrative duties from being a hindrance to ministry?
Vance Pitman responds:
Intimacy with God
Kingdom perspective on “all” work
Counsel/accountability from others
Emphasis on team ministry
SBCVoices asks: What are you doing (or have you done) that is leading to the most growth in your ministry?
Vance Pitman Responds: First and foremost is to establish the DNA that “growing our church” is NOT the goal. Making disciples that results in God’s kingdom being expanded locally and globally is the goal. When we get that right God produces growth that we cannot explain.
Second, I would say an emphasis on small groups. Life-change happens in community
Third, is discipling people to understand that they are ALL missionaries in their home, neighborhood, workplace, and world
SBC Voices asks: Are there any changes you think you need to make to see more growth?
Vance Pitman responds: Continue to develop the groups mentality. We do not want to be a church “with” groups, but a church “of” groups
Also to do a better job of connecting people when they visit us
SBC Voices asks: What advice would you give a young minister anxious to see growth in their ministry?
Vance Pitman responds: God’s primary call is not ministry it’s intimacy
God hasn’t called you to a church but to a city (think missionary/not pastor)
God’s activity in your church is not just about your church…it’s bigger than that. When people catch that vision it changes the church!