Editorial: Georgia Baptist Pastor Stephen Dervan's candor needed and appreciated


Georgia Baptist Convention Vice President Stephen Dervan offered the sobering observation to the more than 100 pastors serving on the Executive Committee that they're "just one step away from stupid."

Such frankness is both needed and appreciated.

Dervan said pastors need to be aware that they’re involved in ongoing spiritual warfare and that they must be on the lookout for attacks that could end their ministries and bring shame to Christ.

“It would be easy for us to gather and talk about New Year’s resolutions this time of year, to get dressed up and glad-hand each other and pretend that everything’s good,” Dervan told the Georgia Baptist leaders.  “But at the end of the day, we’re in a war. It is a battle. And the battle we fight is not against flesh and blood. It is a spiritual battle.”

Dervan, pastor of Oak Hill Church in Williamson, read passages from Proverbs chapters 5 and 7 that spell out the dire consequences of sexual sin and warned that preachers “can become statistics and casualties.”

Dervan, who grew up in a broken family as the son of a man who was married 10 times, said statistics show that pastors are not immune to the temptations that wreak such havoc.

“I don’t want any pastors to finish their ministries with an asterisk next to their names,” he said.

That, he said, is why he addressed the topic.

“Whether we’re 22 or 72, we have to keep in mind that our enemy, Satan, hates our guts and will go to great trouble to bring turmoil to your life, to your marriage, to your home,” he said. “You understand that the very reason you and I still face temptation highlights the idea that we are still a work in progress, that we are all one step away from stupid.”

Thank you for your candor, Pastor Dervan.