CLEVELAND — After serving for more than three years as a Georgia Baptist missionary in the area of Church Revitalization, Stacy Dyer has accepted the call to pastor Shoal Creek Baptist Church in Cleveland. The church voted to call Dyer as pastor on Sunday evening, March 27. After the vote of the church Dyer, his wife Diane and their daughter Lindsey came before the church to accept the call and the congregation stood to give their approval with an enthusiastic standing ovation.
Johnny Sutton, who served as the chairman of the church’s search committee, stated, “It was wonderful to see the way God was working in the heart of Stacy Dyer and in the lives of our people to bring about this union of pastor and people.
“It was particularly exciting to see the emotional anticipation of our new pastor and the overwhelming support and reception of our church for Brother Stacy and his family. I anticipate that good things are going to happen.”
Dyer was a beloved state missionary. Larry Wynn, with whom Dyer served in Church Revitalization, remarked, “Stacy is a servant leader in every sense of the word. His love for people allows him to connect with them very easily. God has used him greatly in the area of church revitalization. He has been a great encourager to associations, churches, and pastors across our state. I know God is going to use him and Diane in a very powerful way at Shoal Creek.”
Dyer responded, “I have had many highlights as a part of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, but I relish the memories I have of working with Dr. J. Robert White, our executive director, and Larry Wynn. Sometimes in career opportunities you discover that the closer you get to people the less you like them, but the opposite has been true with these men. The closer I have gotten to Larry Wynn and Dr. White, the more I have come to admire and appreciate them. They are the real deal.
“I am in awe of the quality of pastors and leaders around our state and God has blessed me with friendships that will last through eternity. Many are serving in small, hidden places. They are struggling financially and personally, but remaining true to their calling and serving Christ faithfully.
Dyer continued, “I have enjoyed working with the associational missionaries who have given me access to their churches and pastors. They have been instrumental in helping us develop strategic ministries and facilitating our pastor roundtables. There are great ministries taking place on the associational level.
“I guess the greatest joy I have had is getting to preach in so many great churches and finding out that people were willing to love an old hillbilly preacher everywhere I went.
“I have learned so many great practices and observed so many successful approaches to ministry. These three years have been a seminary-on-wheels experience for me. I have learned about missions from men like Pastor Joey Dires at Baker Baptist in Rentz. He has taught his church to have a global consciousness in regards to the Great Commission and yet he is leading his people to evangelize the lost on every road in Lauren’s County.
“It has been astounding to see how pastors are using innovative ways to reach people in their communities from Blairsville to Bainbridge.
“The experience of being a state missionary has taught me that every minute of my life has value and that I can’t waste my time, because I can never recover wasted moments.”
Dyer added, “I also want everyone to know that the staff at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board are some of the most dedicated and qualified servant leaders I have ever known. There is not a need a church in Georgia has that Dr. White has not prepared somebody on his staff to meet. The only reason a church cannot get help from the Mission Board is because they have not asked for help. Let it be known also that we go around this state serving with joy.”
Dyer is following the pastorate of Dr. Joe Vernon, who is one of Georgia Baptists' most honored and revered elder statesman. Dyer explained, “The process of me going back into the pastorate was not easy, but I missed the close relationships with individuals in the local church. I am a people person and although I have built wonderful friendships across the state, you can’t cultivate the deepest kind of relationships when you are on the move all the time.
“My family never made a smooth adjustment to life as a missionary family. They have always been accustomed to me being the pastor and plugging into a local church was hard for them with me being away so much.
“I had told the pastor church committee at Shoal Creek to remove my name from consideration, but on Jan. 31 I represented the Mission Board at Dr. Vernon’s retirement and I left that wonderful service very distraught because I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me, suggesting that I may have missed an opportunity that God had provided.
“I told Diane as I wept while we were driving away from the church that I would never contact them for a million bucks and if God wanted me to be their pastor they would have to contact me. The next week as I was driving to Plant City, FL to preach at a wild game dinner Johnny Sutton called me to ask me for recommendations, but hesitated and then said, “We think you should reconsider becoming our pastor.”
“I began to weep openly and had to pull over and regain my composure in order to continue the conversation. Later we met and as God would have it I was called to be the pastor. Now, we begin a new journey of ministry and I call it the great commission adventure.
“I will be the most community-driven leader I have ever been. Shoal Creek has a great reputation in White County and I desire to build that even stronger so we can make Jesus known from that platform.”
When Dyer was asked to enumerate his goals for his ministry at Shoal Creek, he responded:
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