Bill Warren, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary professor and a bivocational pastor of a Mississippi church, was named the 2021 Bivocational Pastor of the Year at the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board annual meeting Oct. 27.
John Pace, Mississippi Baptist Convention Board (MBCB) director of leadership development, presented the award noting that while bivocational pastors may be part time “in name” they are full time in commitment as they care for their congregations as “undershepherds” of Jesus Christ.
“Dr. Warren is such a deserving recipient of this award and recognition for his amazing lifetime of faithful excellent and dedicated service,” Pace said, noting Warren’s service as a pastor, interim pastor, International Mission Board missionary, seminary professor and scholar.
Pace recounted Warren’s journey from a child growing up in a “culturally Christian” home to his coming to faith in Christ and his calling to the ministry that included service as an IMB missionary, pastor, interim pastor, church planter, and seminary professor at NOBTS, as well as in Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico and Cuba.
Warren and his wife, Katie, served six years in Colombia with the IMB until unstable conditions forced them to leave. Warren returned home and joined the NOBTS faculty in 1990.
Warren pastors Jacob’s Well Church in Pass Christian, a church plant begun during the years following Hurricane Katrina (2005) as the Mississippi Gulf Coast rebuilt and as MBCB gave special emphasis to church planting.
Within a year of its first service with 28 in attendance, Jacob’s Well ran 60 on Sunday. Today, the congregation numbers more than 250 in person on Sunday (down from 350 prior to COVID), with many in attendance online. The church’s motto is “Living water for a thirsty world.”
Pace, an NOBTS alumnus, thanked Warren personally for his impact as a seminary professor, saying “I’m one that you’ve blessed immeasurably.”
At NOBTS, Warren is professor of New Testament and Greek, occupying the Landrum P. Leavell II Chair of New Testament and Greek, and is the founding director of the H. Milton Haggard Center for New Testament Textual Studies (CNTTS), a leading North American setting for study of N.T. Greek manuscripts.
In Warren’s 31-year tenure at NOBTS, he has served in integral leadership roles with the Museum of the Bible and Archaeology, the Spanish Master of Theological Studies Program, and other programs. Warren’s work with the CNTTS has placed him in strategic roles with the International Greek N.T. Project and the Greek Paul Project.
In accepting the award, Warren credited those who had invested in his life through the years, but also his church, explaining that a bivocational pastor must “trust” his lay leaders to lead and then to build on their leadership to carry out the church’s mission.