A New Model: Plurality of Pastors

The leadership of 3BC - both the pastors and lay leaders - are excited about the days ahead! We stand at the beginning of what we believe is God's direction for our church for the future. After much prayer, we began exploring the options for replacing the vacant pastoral position at 3BC and felt God leading us toward the biblical model of a 'plurality of elders', or pastors (1 Peter 5:1-4; 1 Timothy 5:17; 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:5-9; Acts 20:28-31, Acts 6:1-7).


This means that our pastors will remain in their current capacity, each having oversight in their respective ministries. But, that's not all. They will serve as pastors to the church-at-large - teaching, shepherding, serving, and leading - as opportunity presents itself. This is truly a reflection of how the churches in the New Testament were directed.


In the process of praying about and exploring this model, we discovered the opportunity to create a new position. This new position - teaching pastor - would allow the church to call a person to, specifically, preach on Sunday mornings, imparting the Word God to us. This person would contribute, along with the current pastors, to the overall vision and direction of the church. We are excited about this opportunity.


As of Sunday, October 30, 3BC has extended the call to Trevin Wax as the teaching pastor.    

Trevin Wax

Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher for LifeWay Christian Resources and has served as managing editor of The Gospel Project, a gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages. Trevin is also a contributor to numerous publications including The Washington Post, Religion News Service, Christianity Today, and World. Trevin writes daily at Kingdom People, a blog hosted by The Gospel Coalition.

 

Trevin is the author of

This Is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel (2017)

Gospel-Centered Teaching: Showing Christ in All the Scripture (2013)

Clear Winter Nights: A Journey into Truth, Doubt, and What Comes After (2013)

Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope (2011)

Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals (2010)


A former missionary to Romania, Trevin was recently named by Christianity Today as one of 33 millennials leading the next generation of evangelicalism. He is the co-host of the Word Matters podcast that explores difficult and contested passages of Scripture. He earned his Ph.D. in Theology at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, and his Masters of Divinity at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. He was born and raised in Murfreesboro and now lives here with his wife, Corina, and their three children.


Audio/Video of Trevin Speaking

If you'd like to listen to some of Trevin's sermons in various churches, or if you'd like to watch a video, click here. This site includes Trevin's sermons, panel discussions at conferences, and links to other media.


Click here to see a media list of Trevin speaking.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process that brought the Church Council to this recommendation?


In early July, the Church Council began meeting to assess the immediate and long-term needs of the church. The Council is a standing committee of 3BC and is composed of representatives from our ordained staff and members of the Personnel, Stewardship, Trustees, and Deacons. As the long-term needs were considered, the Council was impressed to evaluate various ministry models to ensure that we gave full attention to all of our options. We also made a candid assessment of the ministry resources we have at 3BC. After much prayer and deliberation, the Church Council believes that implementing a model which draws upon the leadership of a plurality of pastors is the best approach for 3BC at this time.


What is the “plurality of pastors” model? Is it a biblical model?


This approach to ministry relies upon the collective wisdom of leaders to lead the church. This differs from the model we have had at 3BC over the years where primary leadership is vested in one individual, the Senior Pastor. Under the plurality model, our pastors share in seeking the vision for the church and implementing it. We do see this model implemented in Scripture in the early church (see Acts 14:23; Acts 20:17,28; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Tim 3:1-13; 1 Tim 5:17, among others). As you read through the New Testament, you read of local bodies of believers who are shepherded by a plurality of pastors.


How did the Church Council select Trevin for the role of Teaching Pastor?


Trevin and his family have been active members of 3BC for six years. He leads a LIFE group Class and has preached for us. Trevin had previously expressed interest in serving in the larger preaching and teaching ministries of 3BC while still working with Lifeway. While the Council considered the various models available, we became aware of other churches within Southern Baptist life that had created the position of Teaching Pastor whose primary focus is to the preaching and teaching ministries of their churches. This idea resonated with the Council. Thus, with the concept of a Teaching Pastor on one hand and Trevin’s interest in preaching/teaching in the other, we saw this becoming a very viable approach for 3BC.


Has Trevin been evaluated to determine whether he is qualified to serve as our Teaching Pastor?


Yes. Trevin holds the academic credentials that we would want for a Teaching Pastor. Those are listed in Trevin’s bio above. Through this process, Trevin met with the Church Council, the Personnel Committee, and the Deacons to share his vision for this role and to answer any questions that these groups might have. All of these groups consider him very competent to serve the church in this role.


Will Trevin continue to work for Lifeway?


Yes. Trevin will continue his full-time employment with Lifeway. He still has a passion and a continuous calling to serve the larger church through his role at Lifeway as an editor. He has the full support and encouragement of the head of his division at Lifeway to serve in this role for 3BC.


What will be Trevin’s primary areas of responsibility? 

 

Trevin will serve as the primary teaching and preaching pastor, he will provide leadership to the development and communication of 3BC’s vision, and he will mentor and minister to our other pastors. He will work closely with Mark in planning each Sunday’s service as well as regularly meeting with our full staff.


Will Trevin preach each Sunday and Wednesday?


Due to his work and conference schedule that requires him to travel throughout the year, Trevin will preach around forty Sundays during the year. In his absence on Sundays, our other pastors will preach, or we may have guest speakers preach from time-to-time. Currently, our pastors are discussing a different format for Wednesday evenings. Once that is decided, some clarity will emerge as to the responsibilities on Wednesday meetings.


Are there other changes that will occur if we implement this ministry model?


Yes and No. As part of this proposal, the Church Council is also recommending that Mark Moore be designated as the Executive Pastor for 3BC. In this role, Mark will still be our Worship Pastor, but he will assume the additional responsibilities for the day-to-day operations of the church with oversight over the administrative and personnel areas of the church. Our other pastors will continue providing leadership in their designated ministry areas as they have in the past. All of them, working and serving together, will provide the unique vision and leadership for 3BC.


Why make these changes now?


At this moment in the life of 3BC, we believe that God has provided the unique resources we need to utilize this model. For the daily service to the church, we have a Godly group of pastors with not only many years of overall church ministry experience, but also with many years right here serving the body at 3BC. 3BC is incredibly unique in church life to have the men with the tenure that our pastors collectively have. We believe that they are very capable and confident to lead and thrive under this model. We additionally believe that God has provided a very gifted speaker in Trevin who possesses a passion for preaching and for whom the role of Teaching Pastor is ideally suited.


When would Trevin start in his new role?


Trevin would begin preaching on Sundays in January.


If I have questions, what is the best to way to get answers?


There are several ways you can get answers to any questions you might have. Feel free to come visit with any of the pastors here at church at any time. If you’d like to talk with members of the Church Council, let Mark know (mark@3bconline.com, or call 615-893-8192), and he’ll put them in contact with you. Conversations will be confidential. Or, you may submit your question in the form below (it's confidential, too). We’ll provide an answer via email or a phone call. If several of you ask the same question, we’ll amend this FAQ section and include the question for everyone to read.


A Word from Ryan Vaden

Note: Ryan is a deacon at 3BC and offered this testimony about the church he attended while in California as a student at Biola University. This church used the plurality of pastors model, and it's included here for the benefit of 3BC members.


I attended Grace Evangelical Free Church in La Mirada, California when I was a student at Biola University in 2009-2010. La Mirada has "unique resources"...in that there's an above-average population of ordained ministers teaching at the seminary affiliated with Biola. A handful of these professors preached bi-vocationally at Grace, and they rotated Sunday morning responsibilities. In addition to my attendance on Sunday mornings, I joined a "Grace Group," which was their version of a church-based small group.


During my time there, here's what I gleaned as the benefits of this structure:


      • These rotating, bi-vocational preachers proved to be fresh vessels in their communication of God's Word. Their messages brought a different perspective that full-time pastors did not possess. Members of Grace did not complain about pastoral complacency or stagnant preaching.

      • Plurality heightened the culture of accountability and purity. It's hard for a pastor to be corrupted by power if that power is shared with others.

      • Lastly, the church bore fruit because of its harmony with the Spirit, not because of the charisma of one individual pastor. Too often people affix themselves to the messenger instead of the message.


I believe this plurality model fostered community within the body at Grace. Instead of connecting with a lead pastor, church members were driven to connect with their Grace Groups. People didn't come just to sit and listen to their favorite speaker and then go home. They connected with their small group because it was the same people every week, and the lay leaders of Grace Groups had fewer boundaries than the bi-vocational preachers. This small group community made discipleship much more palatable.


Questions You May Have

Fill out my online form.
Online contact and registration forms from Wufoo.