Gary Lewis

Gary Lewis
Senior/Lead Pastor
Gary, Krissy, Graham, and Harper Lewis
Contact Information
Please contact me at the following:
• Cell - (678) 373-2103
• Email - [email protected]
Search Team,
In the summer of 2014, following a 23-year period as the senior/lead pastor of Sharon Baptist Church,
McDonough, Georgia, and a season of prayer and fasting, my family sensed God’s peace to leave the
wonderful Sharon Church family and move to Owasso, Oklahoma so I could assume the role of
Community Groups, Local Causes, and Teaching Pastor. Our intent, upon arriving, was to familiarize
ourselves with our our new church family and acclimate to our new culture with the desire to serve in that
congregation for a long tenure as I had at Sharon. The moment we moved to Oklahoma, I went to work at
Discovery which was in a time of transition with the pastor who had led Community Groups and Local
Causes assuming a new role as Executive Pastor, allowing the Lead Pastor to focus his energies on the
church’s vision, the preaching ministry, and the church’s global ministry, Project Hope Worldwide.
It was in this ministry context where God began stirring in my heart in the mid-January 2015 that He was
leading me to return to my role as senior/lead pastor. Naturally, I wondered why God had led us to
Oklahoma, but soon it became clear that His leading had allowed me to grow in three essential areas:
• Small groups - I had a chance to engineer a discipleship ministry that involved both on-campus
Bible and topical studies and off-campus purpose driven small groups that met in homes. The two
key changes in these groups for Discovery were their structure and a new emphasis on evangelism.
• Local causes - I had read about these community ministries but had never been fully invested in
them in previous church settings. The three key changes at Discovery in these causes involved the
addition of new causes, offering differing levels of involvement requiring varied levels of time and
investment, and weaving evangelism into these community transformation efforts.
• Preaching/teaching - At Sharon, there were two seasons when I developed a teaching team, but due
to ministry transitions, neither lasted longer than a few years. At Discovery, I had an opportunity to
be an active member of a preaching team, even helping in the development of messages that others
on the team preached in our two morning worship services.
Though my time here has been short, many in the Discovery church family have commented on how God
has used me as a catalyst for change in the ministry at the church and to ease the overall transitions of the
staff in new directions. Our efforts in both small groups and local causes have been blessed richly with
numbers of new people involved and leading in both growing dramatically. These quantitative results
have been coupled with lots of stories of life transformation within our groups and community.
I have consulted with a group of men I respect and whom I know to have no qualms in speaking truth into
my life. These men have affirmed my leading. Likewise, my wife is supportive of my return to the role
as senior/lead pastor and is praying with me about this decision. Ironically, in the month of February,
both of our children have mentioned a desire for me to return to the role as well, though at that point, my
wife, Krissy, and I had mentioned nothing to them about what we sense God leading me to do.
Why are we interested in your church? Based on all of the information I have been able to gather about
your church’s history, mission, beliefs, staff, and ministries, I think I would be a great fit for your church,
and your team. Additionally, being raised in Roswell/Alpharetta and having spent most of my adult life in
McDonough, I think I would be an asset to your ministry setting due to my familiarity with Atlanta and its
unique cultural DNA.
Thank you for your time and consideration. If you have any further questions or need additional
information, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. I sincerely look forward to hearing from you.
Gary Lewis
Gary Lewis
God has called me to serve Him as a senior/lead pastor.
Nearly twenty-six of ministry experience in many roles including Lead/Senior Pastor.
Strong spiritual gifts of Leadership, Exhortation, Pastor/Shepherd, and Wisdom.
Experienced in leading congregations through times of transition to new models of ministry.
Led and served in churches of a wide variety of paradigms: country, traditional, and
contemporary in worship style, Sunday School, on campus small groups, and off campus small
groups in the area of discipleship, deacon-led, staff-led, and elder led in church polity and
leadership, expositional and topical in preaching and teaching in worship services, and varying
sizes from 40-2000+ in attendance at weekend services.
A track record in designing, implementing, and assessing new small group initiatives.
An effective history of planning, assisting, and celebrating the launch of new congregations, both
locally and internationally with other like-minded churches.
Able to build alliances and partnerships between the church and the community surrounding it.
Love the challenge of taking the timeless message of the Bible and discovering creative ways of
communicating it so that others understand its truth in all types of environments and settings.
Adept at looking at systems, analyzing them, and strategizing ways to improve on what is there
while developing what is lacking with the goal of accomplishing the mission.
Experienced in assisting on a church staff team from roles other than lead pastor.
Educational background includes finance, accounting, and leadership at undergrad level and
theology and church leadership at both the master’s and doctorate levels.
Spent one year in a mentoring relationship with Mark Howell and Brett Eastman where we were
taught how to design, implement, and assess successful strategic small group initiatives.
2014-2015 – Discovery Bible Fellowship, Collinsville, OK
Pastor of Community Groups and Local Causes, Teaching Pastor
• Led the Community Groups to transition from a single leader model to a purpose driven model,
where there was shared ownership/leadership among the participants in the groups. The groups
were transitioned to communities that emphasized living out their faith, praying, fellowshipping,
ministering, and evangelizing together.
• By the fifth month of the group transition, we had relaunched a number of groups that had
stopped meeting prior to my arrival, launched a number of new groups, and multiplied a few
established groups into new ones. Additionally, we are adding people to our groups each week.
• Led the Local Causes to transition from a model where local cause ministries were continued
indefinitely even if the number of people participating had dwindled to only one to a team-led
approach where all local causes are promoted and evaluated to assess their continued viability as
a part of the ministry of Discovery.
Gary Lewis
Since we had such a large amount of people with quite varied amounts of available time to serve
in our local causes, we established different levels of involvement to increase participation.
We elevated the overall church participation with a year-long campaign by placing a monthly
emphasis on one single cause to educate, inspire, and train people thoroughly.
We developed a new vision for our local causes, where the emphasis was now meeting people’s
felt needs with a purpose of helping with their real needs and addressing their eternal needs.
Some of our local causes were purely initiatives taken by our church: Car Care, Men’s Prison,
Women’s Prison, Arubah Community Clinic, Senior Adult Outreach, and Wood for Good.
Other local causes were partnerships with other churches: Revision Fatherless, Pregnancy
Resource Center Mom and Dad Mentoring, Open Table Cafe, Dividing Bread Thrift Store and
Food Provision Centers, John 3:16, and Southwest Foster Care.
Averaged preaching one weekend each month and assisted the lead pastor in planning series.
Prepared Community Group notes each week that were linked to the message. The groups used
these notes in their group discussions to assist in thoroughly grasping the message’s points.
The pastor who preceded me in my role of groups and causes had become the church’s executive
pastor, so I have spent time mentoring him in his new role from my senior pastor’s experience.
We stayed focused on the essential systems listed below:
1. Weekend Services (How we plan, implement and evaluate music, preaching, transitions,
offertory, etc.)
2. Evangelism (How we attract people to our church and share our faith)
3. Assimilation (How we move people from their first visit to fully developing members of
church who are actively participating)
4. Small Groups (How we fill and reproduce small groups in our church)
5. Volunteers (How we mobilize people for ministry) (SHAPE, DISC, Gifts)
6. Stewardship (How we develop strong givers)
(a) How we respond to first time givers?
(b) How we respond to high capacity donors?
(c) Is there digital giving in play?
(d) How is stewardship approached in worship/groups?
(e) How we interact with consistent givers?
7. Leadership (How we develop staff, lay leaders and high-powered volunteers)
8. Strategic Evaluations (How we evaluate the above systems for constant improvement)
1991 – 2014 – Sharon Baptist Church, McDonough, GA
Lead Pastor and Discipleship
• Led this traditional church to become a relevant body of believers striving to know Jesus Christ
and serve Him in our local community, state, and world.
• Partnered with other local churches in launching 5 new local church plants in the southern part of
metropolitan Atlanta, the area near where Sharon is located.
• Partnered with national churches in launching 3 international church plants in the nations of
Jamaica and Nicaragua.
• Congregation grew from 50 attendees to 1000+ individuals attending on weekends.
Gary Lewis
Transitioned the church’s polity from a deacon-run into an elder-led model, creating avenues for
our church to diversify the number and roles of people involved in leadership.
Grew the staff from one full-time pastor to a staff of 14.
Established new partnerships between our church and the local public schools through mentoring
relationships, chaplaincy, use of our buildings, and an involvement in many of the academic, arts,
and athletic programs that the local schools offer to their students.
Launched a school (preschool-middle school aged children) that champions academics in a
Christ-oriented environment, where unbelieving families are welcomed to attend.
Transformed from a traditional Sunday school model to a discipleship strategy using LIFE
Groups (off-campus and on-campus co-ed groups that learn, intercede, fellowship, and evangelize
together) and Disciple Groups (off-campus groups of men and groups of women who meet for
fellowship, discipleship, and accountability).
From 2008-2011, as our small groups plan was implemented, we became one of the fastest
growing small group ministries in a large church among Baptist churches in Georgia.
Partnered with our part-time worship pastor in transitioning the worship ministry from a highly
traditional setting to more of a contemporary setting with a variety of musical styles and a diverse
and creative approach to the use of media.
Relocated our congregation and created 60,000 square feet of building space for ministry,
Instrumental in counseling and helping restore pastors/leaders who had wandered into sin, many
of whom are now back in the ministry.
2006 – 2009 – EQUIP, John’s Creek, GA
Million Leader’s Mandate Facilitator
• Traveled twice each year with Reg Andrews, Director of Operations and Ministry for People’s
Christian Academy, Toronto, Canada, to the nations of Belgium and Luxembourg where we
discipled pastors in the fundamentals of pastoral leadership using the teaching materials created
by John Maxwell’s EQUIP organization.
• We spent 2-3 days in each country communicating fundamentals of leadership through teaching
and discussion of topics unique to pastoral ministry.
• Maintained contact with them through various types of electronic media. In return, these pastors
agreed to teach the same principles to other pastor leaders in areas where they served.
• Paid all our own expenses associated with travels.
1999 – 2004 – Georgia Baptist Convention, Duluth, GA
Executive committee member
• Represented our association on the Georgia Baptist Convention Executive Committee.
• Assigned to a sub-committee dealing with the state missions budget.
2002 – 2014 – Southside Baptist Network, McDonough, GA
Various positions
Handled many different roles – planning special events, developing and overseeing the budget, working
through vision and mission planning, leading the association in transition from a traditional paradigm to a
more vision-based perspective, and planting new churches throughout the southern suburbs of Atlanta.
Gary Lewis
1990 - 1991 – Hulen Street Baptist Church, Fort Worth, TX
Pastoral Assistant
§ Assisted Student Pastor in student ministry.
§ Assisted Senior Pastor in business and ministry aspects of the church.
§ Assisted the Local Ministry Team of the church in developing and implementing vision and
strategy for reaching those in our community and across North America.
1989 - 1990 – First Baptist Church, Jonesboro, GA
Senior Pastor Intern/Associate Pastor
§ During first half of internship, the church was searching for a new associate pastor, and the senior
pastor asked me to assume a role as his pastoral assistant until a new associate was found. Being
a church of 6,000 members, this role involved a large and diverse amount of responsibilities.
§ Provided leadership to the single’s ministry, with emphasis on the weekly single’s worship and
outreach to those visiting the church, as the church searched for a new single’s pastor.
§ Solely responsible for the Wednesday night worship service’s preaching and teaching.
§ Occasionally preached for the senior pastor on Sunday evenings.
§ Attended and led staff meetings in absence of senior pastor.
§ Had responsibilities in meeting with various leadership teams in development, implementation,
and assessments of ministry initiatives.
§ Assisted children’s pastor as VBS pastor and summer camp pastor.
§ Provided leadership to the student ministry while the church searched for a new student pastor.
§ Had pastoral responsibilities including evangelistic visitation, hospital visitation, and counseling.
2003 – Doctorate Of Ministry. Beeson Divinity School. Birmingham, AL.
1991 – Master’s Of Divinity With Biblical Languages. Southwestern Baptist Theological
Seminary, Fort Worth, TX.
1988 – Bachelor of Science, Financial Management. Clemson University. Clemson, SC.
Born December 11, 1966. Married to Krissy since August 1990. Children: Graham, born July 1999 and
Harper, born March 2003. I love being active. I love coaching my kids’ teams, running, biking, playing
golf, tennis, snow and water skiing, and participating in any type of team sport. I enjoy spending time
with my wife, son, and daughter in any setting, especially at the beach, and love reading, music, writing,
traveling, cooking, and art as well.
I love people and have resolved to live a life and to lead ministries that are Great Commission centered
with a focus on connecting people with God and connecting them with others. Along those lines I enjoy
building relationships with people, hearing their stories, and discovering ways to assist them in their life
journey of connecting them with God, other people, and opportunities where I believe the Lord can utilize
them to lead even more people to connect with God and others.
Gary Lewis
In my view a church and its staff have one very profound calling: to discover the unique thumbprint that
God has placed on a local church and do everything to fulfill that special divine calling. There are
obviously many principles involved in creating a dynamic church that have proved timeless and
transferable in many different settings, but I believe it to be crucial that each local church passionately
seek to fulfill the Great Commission by allowing God to transform it into the very church body He has
uniquely created it to be, ministering to those on its campus, in its community, and around the globe.
I believe a church’s campus ministries center around worship, fellowship, ministry, discipleship, and
evangelism and involve the following systems as needing to be monitored and evaluated:
• Weekend Services (How we plan, implement and evaluate music, preaching, transitions, etc.)
• Evangelism (How we attract people to our church and share our faith)
• Assimilation (How we move people from their first visit to actively participating members)
• Small Groups (How we fill and reproduce small groups in our church)
• Volunteers (How we mobilize people for ministry) (SHAPE, DISC, Gifts)
• Stewardship (How we develop strong givers)
• Leadership (How we develop staff, lay leaders and high-powered volunteers)
• Strategic Evaluations (How we evaluate the above systems for constant improvement)
Coupled with the campus ministries, I believe churches need to be actively transforming their community
through ministry initiatives and partnerships with other churches and ministries. As we serve our
communities, there is a mutual restoration that takes place, meaning God uses those experiences to
transform the church to be more like Him as the community is transformed to be a place and group of
people where hope and new life are found.
The final component is global ministry. In each church where I have served, we have seen great impact
by linking involvement from the people within our church with the nationals of the country where we go
and serve. We found great successes in starting churches and ministries in other nations by raising up
leaders from within the nations instead of bringing in our own people to lead these new ministry
initiatives. Another key ingredient in global impact stems from a commitment to be involved for an
extended time period not just a short-term investment.
To view my preaching at Discovery, visit the following link: and go to
the following message series and dates:
• Series: Message in a Bottle - September 14, 21, 28, October 5, 2014
• Series: All In - November 9, 2014
• Series: Christmas Calm and Chaos - December 21, 24, 2014
• Series: Faces - March 1, 2015
Gary Lewis
Reg Andrews, EQUIP MLM Co-trainer
Director of Operations and Ministry People’s Christian Academy
374 Sheppard Avenue East
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 222-3341
[email protected]
Ray Gentry, Director of Ministries
Southside Baptist Network
2170 Jonesboro, Road
McDonough, GA 30253
(770) 957-3032
[email protected]
Bob Halstead, pastor, Eastside Baptist Church
4010 Highway 138 SW
Stockbridge, GA 30281
(770) 860-0400
[email protected]
Todd Holt, Beeson DMin classmate, and pastor, Great Neck Baptist Church
1020 General Jackson Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23454
(757) 481-1573
[email protected]
Ben Ward, Director of Communication and Innovations Architect
Global Partners
P.O. Box 50434
Indianapolis, IN 46250
(317) 515-7989
[email protected]
Larry Wynn, Georgia Baptist Convention Vice President of Church Revitalization
Georgia Baptist Convention
Missions & Ministry Center
6405 Sugarloaf Parkway
Duluth, GA 30097-4092
(770) 235-5710
[email protected]
Other references are available if requested
To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Todd Holt and I serve as Senior Pastor of Great Neck Baptist Church in Virginia
Beach, Virginia. I have had the privilege of knowing Gary Lewis for the past thirteen years.
Gary and I went through Doctor of Ministry studies together at Beeson School of Divinity in
Birmingham Alabama. He was known for his great intellect and effectiveness as a
communicator. We have continued to keep in touch over the years.
Gary is a dynamic pastor and gifted leader. As pastor of Sharon Baptist Church in McDonough
Georgia, the congregation has transformed from a small country church with an inward focus,
into a regional presence where a multitude of lives are being impacted every week. God has
used him for Kingdom impact.
A great love for God and a great desire to reach lost people are two of the driving forces of
Gary’s life. He believes that a great desire for God will lead to decisive acts of faith. Such a
mindset has caused him and his church to initiate events such as a state-wide 9-11 tribute at the
Atlanta Motor Speedway, a series of feeding centers in Nicaragua that will serve 250,000 meals,
and unique partnerships with the local schools in their community where the coaches and leaders
actually have keys to the church building to use it as an extension of their school campus.
Gary is making a difference in the world for the cause of Christ. He is a man of godly virtue and
values people. If I can be of further help, please call (757) 478-4097.
K. Todd Holt, D.Min
Dr. Bob Halstead, Jr.
Teaching Pastor
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Eastside Baptist Church exists to glorify God by
(( making disciples of Jesus Christ
to impact the world locally and globally.
4010 Highway 138 SW, Stockbridge, GA 30281 / Phone: 770-860-0400 / Fax: 770-860-0407 / email: [email protected]
“A Global Goal with a Family Focus”