Michael Evans has been the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield 25 years and served on the church staff two years before becoming its pastor. From deep in the heart of one Texan, he shares his background and thoughts on ministry. To suggest a Baptist General Convention of Texas-affiliated minister to be featured in this column, or to apply to be featured, click here.
• Where else have you served in ministry, and what were your positions there?
I served as a reserve chaplain in the U.S. Navy nine years.
I served in chaplaincy at Dallas Children’s Hospital in the early 1990s.
I served as a visiting chaplain at the Mansfield Nursing Home in the mid-1990s.
I was the director of African-American Ministries for the Baptist General Convention of Texas from 2001 to 2006.
• Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Houston, Texas
• How did you come to faith in Christ?
I came to the faith by witnessing the love that church members showered on my uncle, Charles Evans, who had Down syndrome. He was my playmate and best friend; ultimately, he was the man God used to lead me to Christ.
• Where were you educated, and what degrees did you receive?
I graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a bachelor of arts degree in political science.
I attended Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University, where I received my master of divinity degree.
I began doctoral work at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University and completed my doctoral studies at Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary, attaining my doctor of ministry degree.
• Why do you feel called into ministry?
God called me out of the world through the love of Christ. He called me on purpose, for a purpose with a purpose to save lost souls.
• What is your favorite aspect of ministry? Why?
I love doing missions, because it signifies actual contact with Christ. Every person we serve is the person of Christ in flesh and blood.
• What one aspect of congregational life gives you the greatest joy?
When people accept Christ as their personal Savior and their personae begins to change in front of your eyes, that’s satisfying.
• What one aspect of congregational life would you like to change?
I would like to see more diversity in the Bethlehem congregation.
• How has your ministry or your perspective on ministry changed?
I have learned to be more inclusive of females in vocational ministry and appreciate the contributions women can make across gender lines.
• If you could launch any new ministry—individually, through your congregation or through another organization—what would it be? Why?
I would like to launch a vibrant ministry to senior adults. I think it is important to promote vibrant, independent-living opportunities to assure a higher quality of life for Seasoned Saints. The ministry will be conducted in the local church and in an independent senior-living complex.
• What qualities do you look for in a congregation?
I look for a congregation that is engaged in missions and outreach in its local community. It is also important for a congregation to be a place where people can find encouragement, good Christian education and vibrant worship.
• What did you learn on the job you wish you learned in seminary?
I learned how to relate to people from multiple generations by learning to study their likes and dislikes. I also learned a lot about managing and leading a small business. Seminary did not teach a great deal on serving multiple generations. Most schools do not teach church administration from a business management perspective.
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