Discerning God’s Voice & Finding Faith: Part I

Because of Jesus’ role in mentoring the twelve disciples, mentoring has always proven to be a vital part of the witness, ministry, and development of individuals within congregations.

At First Baptist Church of Las Vegas, New Mexico this approach of mentoring as a form of evangelism has taken center stage in the church’s outreach strategy and internal leadership development.

This was embodied when Pastor Mike Dean, the interim pastor announced last spring that Zac Teston, 30, would be his successor. Slightly unconventional, the move was viewed positively  in the church because the congregation was aware of Dean and Teston’s mentor-mentee relationship.

Dean stepped into the interim pastoral role after a pastoral vacancy emerged at the congregation. Prior to stepping into the role, he and his wife had been living in Glorieta, New Mexico, retiring after more than 28 years in pastoral ministry at Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth.

For leisure, he enjoyed guest preaching, but had no interest in returning to active pastoral service, his friend and then-New Mexico Baptist Convention Executive Director Joseph Bunce asked Dean to assist First Baptist of Las Vegas, which had been struggling.

About a 45 minute commute for the 65-year-old, Bunce was concerned that without strong leadership, New Mexico’s oldest Baptist congregation might close its doors.

“They were wanting to get the church stable,” Dean said. “At that point it was down to just a few people who were committed to the church. Young families who were attending didn’t want to just walk away.”

After calling a series of pastors, each resigned after brief tenures, leaving the church on shaky financial footing. Knowing consistency would be the key to stability, Dean was uncertain how he, as an interim pastor, could provide that. After praying with his wife, Dean answered the call to serve and God manifested himself in a way that is helping to restore a hurting congregation.

However, what Dean never expected was a global pandemic that would challenge his notions interim and cause him to lean more into God as he embarked on one his hardest journeys as a “interim” pastor.

(Part II coming tomorrow December 9, 2021.)

Source: Baptist Standard