Jim and Jeanie Vogel enjoyed the honor and poignancy of a farewell service on July 29 at South Baptist Church in Flint, Michigan, where they have ministered for twelve years. Jim began a new position as associate national representative for the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches on September 1; Jeannie will assist with a new ministry to women.
Jim is a graduate of Baptist Bible Seminary; earned a doctor of ministry degree in 1993 from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois; and has over thirty years’ ministry experience. He speaks a bit wistfully of leaving a church ministry he loved, noting: “This last ministry was positive for maturing my convictions. I think my expectations were not out of whack—I knew there would be good and bad times. But by the time I candidated at South Baptist, I finally knew what to talk to the pulpit committee about. As a result, I think I finally have an understanding of why some pastoral ministries last longer than others.”
Jim attributes much of his love for church ministry to his early life, when church attendance was expected for every member of the family. Or, as his father put it, “We’re Sunday School people. We’re Sunday night people. We’re Wednesday night people.”
“I’m from a ministry family—all four kids headed out into the ministry,” Jim said about his early years. “My father was a salesman in Philadelphia for forty years. He used to say to us all the time, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you could be a missionary? Just think! Maybe God could lead you to be a missionary.’”
“I was only six or eight at the time,” remembers Jim. “All we could think of was pith helmets. But my brother ended up as a missionary to Italy, my sister went to France, and my other sister married a church planter.”
The new position of associate national representative was created to assist John Greening’s ministry to churches. “My job is to help John promote the Fellowship, its ideals, and its core values among our constituents,” explains Jim.
In addition, he will develop a ministry to pastors. “I think pastors need a friend for counsel and encouragement. This may mean conversations with guys who need to be encouraged. It may mean ‘rescue’ to guys who are desperate. It may mean developing training and resources to help pastors lead their churches. It’s a big job, and I’m in this for the long haul.”
Jeannie expects to have a vibrant ministry writing for women and speaking to women’s groups. Jeannie and Jim have already begun scheduling events and meetings for fall. For more information on scheduling Jim or Jeanie Vogel, contact the GARBC Resource Center at 888-588-1600, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agenda: The First Six Months
• Set up “home base” at the Resource Center
• Schedule meetings for speaking
• Contact GARBC state representatives
• Plan for pastor and church resources
• Assess pastoral placement process
• Explore strategies for Association growth
• Develop a new ministry column for the Baptist Bulletin
• Develop training events for pastors and wives
• Counsel and encourage pastors and wives
• Enhance pastoral care at the annual conference
• Build bridges to like-minded churches
• Explore and facilitate partnerships for church planting