Stephen Dervan: ‘I don’t want any pastors to finish their ministries with an asterisk next to their names'


TYRONE, Ga. — 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.

That was the message Georgia Baptist Convention First Vice President Stephen Dervan preached to more than 100 members of the state Executive Committee on Tuesday at Dogwood Church in Tyrone.

“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 group, made up primarily of pastors.  “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.

“We can skate over issues like this,” he said. “But there are likely guys who are struggling right here in this room. Statistics tell us that.”

In the 10-minute devotional message, Dervan said the worst consequence of a spiritual fall for a pastor isn’t being fired.

“The greatest harm would be to bring shame to the name of Christ, to do something that would cause harm to our wife’s heart, to embarrass our children,” he said.

“Whether we’re 22 or 72, we have to keep in mind that your 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.”