Today I joined the pastoral team of our home church, Fairview Church, located in the greater Nashville area. I’m very excited to join the team as Fairview’s new Associate Pastor for Teaching and Mission. Fairview is an incredible church that loves Jesus and their community; who preaches the gospel well and who is committed to advancing the mission around the world. What’s more, I get to serve with one of my best friends, Dr. Jon Akin, who is doing an exceptional job leading Fairview as our Senior Pastor, and who encourages and challenges me regularly. In my new role I will be part of the preaching team, I will help oversee our mission partnerships, give leadership to our Community Group ministry and I will help lead our theological training initiative, EQUIP. Invariably, as people hear that this new venture is upon us, they ask two questions:

1. Are you leaving LifeWay? No. LifeWay loves the local church and gives me freedom to serve in this capacity. I’m thankful that a good number of LifeWay employees serve area churches in paid and unpaid positions of service.

2. Why would you do this, in addition to working at LifeWay? This is also a great question. Allow me a couple of minutes to outline three major reasons why this matters to me.

I believe in the priority of the local church.
I am convinced that the local church is the locus of God’s kingdom on earth. The reason I came to work for LifeWay is due to God opening a door, and my belief that I could have a great opportunity to serve the church. However, LifeWay, and our other SBC entities, are not God’s primary vehicle for taking the gospel to the world, the local church is. I love my role at LifeWay but one of our stipulations upon coming was that we needed the freedom to serve the local church. I’m grateful to serve under men like Dr. Thom Rainer and Ed Stetzer who love LifeWay, but also love the local church and encourage a commitment to her.

I believe in the role of the bi-vocational pastor.
I have served as a bivocational pastor for the majority of my vocational ministry. I believe strongly in the importance of bivocational pastors, and I believe that their importance is only going to increase in the coming years. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve intentionally as a bivocational pastor at Fairview. I am grateful that LifeWay provides a sufficient income to provide for my family so that I can work bivocationally at Fairview, and not need to receive any compensation from our church. I hope we see a growing wave of pastors who will embrace intentional bivocational ministry.

I believe in the responsibility of membership.
Finally, I believe that membership in a church matters, and membership assumes a responsibility to work in any way needed to advance the mission at the local church. Our church has provided for me the opportunity to serve in an official pastoral role, and I want to faithfully serve this place where God has allowed our family to become a part of. I pray that the Fries family are good members, and members who honor Fairview, and most of all, who honor King Jesus.

Micah is a husband to Tracy & a daddy to Grace, Kessed & Haddon. He’s Senior Pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Most of all, he’s a debtor to grace.

6 thoughts on “Why pastor?

  1. Thanks for sharing. I love the way you articulates your reasons for serving the local church. I have used some of these same words for a different purpose. I feel strongly that faculty (and staff) at institutions of Christian higher education should be active members of the local church. We need people who understand the local church is the “primary vehicle for taking the gospel to the world”. Thanks again!

  2. Hey Micah,

    Thanks for the post and for serving the local church. One question; if you are serving bivocationally, why do so at a “larger” church? My ignorant assumption is there are more than a few normative size local churches who be blessed by your leadership.

  3. Matt,

    Great questions. From my perspective, church size didn’t really factor into the equation at all. Fairview is a good sized church, but certainly not a huge church. We are about half the size of Frederick, where I pastored before Nashville.

    There were two factors that helped influence the decision. First, I needed a position that would work with my schedule. Namely, I wouldn’t be able to be in the office during the week, as I’m at LifeWay, and I occasionally travel over the weekend, though not very often. Beyond that, Jon Akin and I have been friends for a while now, and so when looking for a church, Fairview was the first church we visited, and we haven’t attended another church since our first Sunday in TN. We quickly joined, and eventually were offered the opportunity to go on staff, and since we were already knew and loved the church, we were glad to accept. We were not circulating a resume, actively putting ourselves out there for a position. We wanted to serve in a position, but we have always operated under the conclusion that, when the Lord wanted us in a position, He would open the door. That’s what seems to have happened here, and we were glad to respond.

    Hope that helps.


    • Micah,

      That definitely helps. Leadership of any capacity in the local church “works” best when it comes from those who are actively serving in the body to begin with. Thanks for pulling back the curtain a bit more.

  4. Wow Micah… I was drawn to your blog after seeing your comments on Twitter. Thank you, brother! The truth found in your words hit me like a sledgehammer. Like so many others I took an immediate offense to current happenings involving Phil Robertson and A&E. Like Peter grabbing and swinging the sword, I was ready to fight, but I sometimes forget that God can use me better in a gentle and loving way. Instead of pushing sinners away, I need to remember to love, live by Christ’s example, and share about His love. Thank you! God bless your walk!

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