Brett Bixby: Ministering to the Community

Brett Bixby: Ministering to the Community

In The SpotlightBrett Bixby serves as Associate Pastor of Outreach and Youth at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Poughkeepsie, NY. He is a 1993 graduate of BBC and graduated with a Master of Divinity from Baptist Bible Seminary in 1999. He lives in Poughkeepsie with his wife Nicole and their four children.

Brett has been in full time ministry for 11 years, the last four at Tabernacle Baptist. There, he leads Bible studies, counsels, participates in sports ministries, and creates other solutions for engaging the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

He loves people and loves seeing God change lives through His Word. He tries to live his life intentionally to meet and build relationships with as many unsaved people as possible. In this effort, he has become involved in community events and associations, including community suppers at the church, county 4-H, and a community center project.

He was recently honored by the Greater Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce by being selected for their annual Forty Under 40 "Shaker Awards." The award recognizes business and community leaders who have had a significant impact on the area.

Read other In the Spotlights here .

Insight Questions

What does the award mean to you?
I don't know yet. I did not do anything intentionally to win it and I do not plan on changing anything because of it. I do believe God can use the platform I have received to bring glory to Himself. I will try to use the opportunities it brings to meet more people and be more involved in the community.

What will it mean for your church?
When a church is recognized, the community takes notice. People have come to assume the local government looks out for people and serves the community. They notice when a church is recognized for community involvement.

Will it affect your ministry to the community?
It will mean more time involvement. I have been invited to sit on three community committees as a result of the award. Hopefully, this will give me opportunities to make an impact for Christ in ways I have been unable to in the past. A group of us are moving to open a community center in our area. This is one specific way the award has helped the ministry.

Is community recognition important to people serving in a ministry?
It is interesting when someone serving God wins an award that is typically reserved for self-promoting workaholics who are trying to move up in the corporate world. When a pastor wins an award like this, I think people notice. The verdict is still out on whether God will allow me to have a platform to lead change for Him through this.

We attended a meet-and-greet for all of the winners and sponsors. My wife and I were talking on the way home and we made the comment that I have very little in common with most of the others in attendance. They were attending with the goal of giving out three or more business cards and trying to land another contract while I was there just to build relationships with no strings attached. I think it is refreshing to the others, that there is someone who really just wants to build a personal relationship and is not selling them anything. I believe God will use this in a huge way in the future.

How is community involvement important to ministry?
This is a very important question for anyone in ministry. Am I here to minister to those who are already in the church or am I here to minister to those who have not come yet? We all know it needs to be both, but I believe it is very easy to slide our focus to those we see every week at church and forget about those in the community.

At Tabernacle, we focus on two communities:

The first is the immediate community around our church. We call this our "geographic community." We need to let them know Tabernacle is made up of a group of people who love and want to care for them.

The second is our "social community." This community is made up of those people we work with, play with, and live next to. Most of the people who attend our church do not live in the church's geographic community. They have that social community they need to be sharing Jesus in.

I believe a church without community involvement - both geographically and socially is not a healthy church. We will know we have been successful if the community around our church would miss us if we relocated and if our social community would hurt because we were going to move.

What led you to youth ministry?
My own youth leaders had such an impact on my life and I wanted to have a chance to make that kind of impact on other teens. This passion has changed from one driven by age demographic to a passion for those who are unsaved or unchurched.

What has been most rewarding in your ministry with youth?
Seeing teens choose to be fully committed to Jesus Christ, sharing this commitment with everyone they know, and then choosing to become youth pastors and missionaries.

What have you found to be your biggest challenges?
My biggest challenge is knowing who to invest more time in and who to spend less time with. God prepares hearts and causes people to seek Him. I have to find those people and share Jesus with them. Sometimes I invest enormous amounts of time in people and the return is not there. It is often a struggle to know when to invest more time because God is working and when to reallocate time.

What are you long term ministry goals?
I would like to be involved in planting a church and starting a community center in the relatively short term. Longer term, I would like to lead culturally relevant ministries that God uses change people's lives.

Contact information:

B.S., Baptist Bible College
M.Div., Baptist Bible Seminary

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Posted on: 4/17/2009 1:48:55 PM

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