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Pastor Wellness pivots to grow other ministry areas

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DULUTH – Pastors who are all about giving to others are wearing out. That’s why the vision of Executive Director Thomas Hammond and the Georgia Baptist Mission Board is to make “Pastors our heroes.”

In keeping with that mission, Tim Dowdy joined the mission board staff as the Lead Strategist for Pastor Wellness in Jan. 2020. This new ministry department is dedicated to aiding pastors in all areas of their health – physical, mental, financial, relational, or emotional well-being.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry focused on mental, emotional, and spiritual support for pastors. “Needless to say, 2020 was quite an adjustment,” Dowdy commented.

As the pandemic and its ramifications continue, Pastor Wellness is focused on helping pastors continue navigating unprecedented decisions.

“As we turn the page of the calendar to 2021, we have found ourselves still dealing with the pandemic, so Pastor Wellness will still be focused on providing support, encouragement, and assistance for physical, mental/emotional, relational, and spiritual well-being,” he assured pastors.

At the same time, Dowdy said there are other aspects of the Pastor Wellness ministry that have been developed in the areas of finances and vocation.

Areas that have shifted or been updated include:

  • Pastor Wellness staff
  • Pastor/staff and family counseling
  • Resources
  • Transitional pastor training
  • Church conflict mediation
  • and retreats and events for 2021.

Pastor Wellness staff

The Pastor Wellness team now includes the following team members:

  • Tim Dowdy is the lead strategist for Pastor Wellness. He can be reached at tdowdy@gabaptist.org and his contact number is 678-618-0055.
  • Chris Reynolds in the West Central and Southwest regions. Reynolds can be contacted by email at creynolds@gabaptist.org or by calling 770-570-8375.
  • Jeff Gongwer in the Southeast and East Central regions. He can be contacted by email at jgongwer@gabaptist.org or by calling 770-722-9245.
  • Andy Childs in the Northeast and Northwest regions. He can be contacted by email at achilds@gabaptist.org or by calling 706-491-0203.
  • Mary Cox is the catalyst for Pastor Wives at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. She can be contacted by email at mcox@gabaptist.org or by calling 770-936-5253.
  • Wendy Mulligan is joining the Pastor Wellness team as the medical director of Health and Wellness. She can be contacted at wmilligan@gabaptist.org or by calling 770-936-5384.
  • Laura Simms is an administrative assistant for Pastor Wellness. She can be contacted by email at lsimms@gabaptist.org or by phone at 770-936-5362.
  • Loretta Crow serves as one of the Pastor Wellness administrative assistants. She can be reached by email at lcrow@gabaptist.org or by phone at 770-936-5232.

“Our regional catalysts are excellent resources for pastors,” Dowdy shared. “Please let us know if we can serve you.”

Pastor/staff and family counseling

Pastor Wellness also now has an agreement with Eagle’s Landing Christian Counseling Center to provide professional counseling for Georgia Baptist pastors and their families. Pastor Wellness has even worked out a limited scholarship for Georgia Baptist pastors and their immediate families.

For more information, contact Pastor Wellness.

Pastor job board

Another effort to help churches connect with pastor/staff candidates includes joining a new job board. This provides the opportunity for churches to post staff position openings for candidates to view so they can submit their resumes. It’s connected to several state conventions throughout the Southern Baptist Convention. A pastor seeking a job in a GBC church or a GBC church seeking to fill an open ministry position can visit georgiabaptistjobs.com.

A candidate looking for a ministry position and desiring to post their resume nationwide or churches that have an open ministry position and would like to submit a job nationwide can use this link and submit the requested information: http://www.sbc.net/jobs/.

Churches will need their SBCID Number. Contact Laura Simms (lsimms@gabaptist.org) for assistance.

Mediation for church conflict

If the need for mediation to resolve conflict within a church body arises, Dowdy urges pastors to contact the Pastor Wellness office at 770-936-5380 or pastorwellness@gabaptist.org.

“We will provide a diagnostic assessment and personal assistance to hopefully result in a godly and healthy resolution,” he explained.

Transitional pastor training and certification

Pastor Wellness will also be providing the training and certification for transitional pastors for Georgia Baptist Churches.

They are offering two training events in 2021:

  • Aug. 9-10 for the East Central Region at Bethany Baptist Church in Juliette,
  • and November 2021 for the Southeast Region — exact date and place to be confirmed soon.

Once the training is completed, the candidate will be certified as a transitional pastor with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. To complete the training the candidate will need to submit a resume, complete an interview through Pastor Wellness, attend the training course, and complete all background checks required. 

To sign up for the August training opportunity, candidates can register beginning May 1, 2021 at pastorwellness@gabaptist.org or call Laura Simms at 770-936-5362 for more information.

Retreats and healthcare summits

On April 9-11, a retreat is being hosted at the Jekyll Island Club Resort. It is designed for pastors, ministry staff members, and their spouses. The cost is $99. Registration is full, and we are currently adding pastors to our waiting list. Register here https://gabaptist.org/events/pastors-and-wives-spring-retreat/.

On Oct, 22-24, a retreat is being hosted at Lake Lanier Legacy Lodge. Registration for this event will open soon.

Both retreats are designed for pastors, ministry staff members, and their spouses. The cost is $99. If the pastor needs help getting a supply preacher for either of these dates, Pastor Wellness can assist we can help with this as well.

Health care summits are medical assessment and testing opportunities that will be free for Georgia Baptist pastors, ministers, and their wives. Once the registration is open for each event, these opportunities will be available to those who register and secure an appointment on a first come, first served basis. Appointments much be secured in advance on the website.

Examples of the health and wellness assessments provided will be biometric screening, free dental hygiene/cleaning and dental appointments, Angio-screen, and limited bloodwork.

Dates for this are May 13 for the West Central region, August 26 for the East Central region, and September 23 for the Northwest region.

For more detailed information on all that the Pastor Wellness team has to offer, please visit gabaptist.org/pastorwellness.


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