Joel Gallegos, a member of Live Oak Community Church in Lubbock, has worked in the oil and gas industry, especially beam well analysis, for 12 years. From deep in the heart of one Texan, Gallegos shares his background and thoughts on being a follower of Christ in the marketplace. To suggest a Texas Baptist leader in the marketplace to be featured in this column, or to apply to be featured yourself, click here.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Plains, Texas, a small, rural community in West Texas.
How did you come to faith in Christ?
My family and I attended Templo Bautista in Plains. I was involved in Royal Ambassadors and youth and committed my life to Jesus Christ while in high school. Shortly after graduation, I moved away to attend college. I connected with Alliance Church in Lubbock several years later and recommitted my life to my Savior. It was at Alliance where my faith was rekindled by strong Christian leaders.
Where were you educated, and what degrees did you receive?
I received my Master of Business Administration degree with a general business major from Wayland Baptist University.
Life in the marketplace
How does being a Christian influence your decisions in the marketplace?
Scripture has given me direction in handling situations, whether it involves coaching an employee, receiving correction or speaking encouragement. We are asked to work or do anything we do as unto Christ, not man, and to do it in a joyful manner.
What is your favorite aspect of the marketplace? Why?
The oil and gas industry is very cyclical, and this presents challenges. However, within those challenges, opportunities for improvements arise and force you to be efficient with less resources. Out of necessity creativity abounds.
Name the three most significant challenges and/or influences facing your place in the market.
In new oil and gas developing areas, the existing infrastructure is not capable of handling the new oilfield traffic. This has pros and cons. Many landowners are now commanding higher fees for their land. The vehicle traffic accident and mortality rate is at an all-time high for some areas in West Texas.
The decline in number of experienced workforce is a challenge. In the last downturn, the oil and gas experience drove many new or aspiring employees to seek other careers, some choosing not to come back.
What do you wish more people knew about the marketplace?
The oil and gas industry is composed of many disciplines. You have a team dedicated to drilling the well. One team services the well, and another team designs the equipment used to produce the oil. Other teams include construction, handling everything above the well, and support teams like HSE—health, safety and environment—and consultants.
What are the key issues facing Baptists—denominationally and/or congregationally?
Baptist are facing an identity crisis, and the problem is they aren’t aware of it.
Believers are self-deceived partly due to messages that tickle their ears and speak on emotions and appreciation.
Baptist are concerned with the number of baptisms and use it as a gauge for the congregation’s impact.
Who were/are your mentors, and how did/do they influence you?
My dad, Evodio Gallegos, is a great influence. Growing up in a different denomination, he came to saving grace, and his life’s testimony led my mom, sisters and me to salvation. My dad’s conversion caused him to be mocked and ridiculed for his faith. He did not waver, and his faith remains steadfast. He knew the cost of following Jesus and girded himself for the challenge.
Roberto Ordonez was key in spiritual growth. He took me under his wing for four years and guided me in Scripture. He taught me to study Scripture, and because of this, I followed in his steps and started a Sunday Life Group. He expected me to read a chapter and come prepared to teach him what I learned in my studies. I value the time he devoted to my development, and my desire is to provide the same guidance to a young believer.
Other than the Bible, name some of your favorite books or authors, and explain why.
John Maxwell is tops on my reading list. His books allow me to sharpen my leadership skills. Recently, I was given Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones by Maxwell. The title startled me because no leader seeks to fail. Yet, while reading it, I could appreciate his wisdom to touch on a sensitive topic leaders don’t discuss.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is another author I read. His book The Cost of Discipleship provides an insightful teaching into the Sermon on the Mount. It challenges believers to evaluate one’s theology on grace, or what he calls “cheap grace,” a common problem in Christian circles.
What is your favorite Bible verse or passage? Why?
My spirit takes comfort in reading Ephesians 1:20-23. This is a great reminder that no matter the external or internal circumstances we face, believers have the assurance that Christ Jesus is reigning at the right hand of God. This is important because everything is subjected under Jesus’ feet, reminding us we should not devote our time worrying about the future. This does not preclude us from being active, though we know the outcome is under his dominion.
Who is your favorite Bible character, other than Jesus? Why?
I relate to Peter on so many levels. You have Peter ready to fight the soldiers when they take Jesus. Then a few hours later, a girl makes a liar of Peter when she accuses him of knowing Jesus, and Peter denies it. It is easy to be brave when surrounded by believers, yet while alone become afraid much like Peter did.
You also have Peter who boldly stepped out onto the water. The wind startled him, and he sank. I can speak about the truth and find myself questioning my faith. But I am encouraged that he who started a good work in me is seeing me out to the finish line.
Peter did not allow these episodes to define his relationship with Christ, and knowing this, I also can accept my failures and grow from them.
Name something about you that would surprise people who know you.
I’m a bookworm. I never really was until the last eight years or so. I enjoy the company of any reading material, sometimes more than having a one-on-one conversation.