“A plurality in the bishopric is of great importance for mutual counsel and aid, that the government and edification of the flock may be promoted in the best manner… In a church where more than one cannot be obtained, that one may be appointed upon the principle, that as soon as another can be procured there shall be a plurality.”
These are the words of W.B. Johnson, the first president of the Southern Baptist Convention  and a man who, according to Baptist historian James M. Morton, Jr., “had more to do with determining the nature of the Southern Baptist Convention” than any other single individual. However, for a hundred years or better most Baptist churches have operated with a single “Senior Pastor” and a body of deacons, which very much resemble a CEO, and their board of directors.
At First Baptist Elsberry, that’s no longer the case.
“Church government is a big deal,” believes Sam Byers, one of the pastors of First Baptist. “It’s like the trellis that holds up the vine of a growing plant. The trellis has to be in good shape for the vine to grow and flourish and be properly supported. Getting our polity right is essential to overseeing and sustaining fruitful ministry in our community and beyond.”
Because of this, it is with great excitement and joy that the members of First Baptist have recognized God’s gifts in Greg Pflasterer ordaining him to pastoral ministry and setting him apart to serve as one of the elders in their congregation.
Pflasterer, the owner of Berni’s Pizza in Elsberry, was raised with ties to the Methodist Church in town, but did not embrace Christ or live as one of His disciples during his adolescence or early adulthood. Pflasterer became engaged in alcohol abuse, drug use, and other ungodly behaviors. However, God in His mercy placed some born-again Christians at the construction company where Pflasterer was employed at the time to pray for him, tell him about his need for forgiveness, the reality of hell and God’s gift of eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ. Soon after, the Holy Spirit changed Pflasterer’s heart and mind and he too was “born-again” spiritually and became a child of God.
It wasn’t long after God’s gracious work in Pflasterer that he began serving at the Methodist Church, helping minister to teenagers, some of who were starting down the same destructive path Pflasterer himself had traveled. At about the same time, God was beginning to revitalize First Baptist Elsberry, which had diminished to a dozen or fewer active members. Pflasterer and his wife Kelly, who, though raised Roman Catholic, was born-again [see John 3:3 in the Bible] and baptized along with her husband, felt the Lord’s leading to join the work at First Baptist and began ministering to teenagers there.
During the past several years, Pflasterer has been the youth minister at First Baptist and was also ordained (recognized and appointed) as a deacon. However, during the ten-month period between lead pastors, Pflasterer assumed the majority of weekly preaching and other pastoral duties. After the arrival of Byers, the church’s new lead pastor (or staff elder) and in conjunction with a renewed focus on biblical church government, the members voted to officially recognize Pflasterer’s pastoral gifts and desire to pastor and set him apart for that ministry. Pflasterer was prayed over and installed at the June 23 morning worship gathering of First Baptist with Twin Rivers Baptist Associational Director Brent Campbell in attendance to help with the ordination ceremony.
For more information about First Baptist or it’s ministries, visit the church’s website at http://firstbaptistelsberry.com
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