Rev. Dr. James Arthur Webster
Pastor, Oak Ridge First Baptist Church, Oak Ridge NC
by Greg Silverthorne
My S.E.A. story about my Pastor, James A. Webster. . .
- Spiritually-steadfast Shepherd
- Empathetic, Empowered Edifier
- Anointed Agent of the Almighty
My Pastor, Rev. Dr. James A. Webster, is celebrating his 30th Year as Pastor at Oak Ridge First Baptist this month. He, and his wife, First Lady Brenda D. Webster, have served ably at my church since 1984.
I first started attending Oak Ridge First Baptist Church in October 2007. I joined the church 11 months later. I’m so glad I did! While I’d initially planned to call him a ‘good Pastor’, I began to feel that ‘good’ wasn’t good enough; good means, generally, that something isn’t bad, right? Pastor Webster is a Great Pastor! I feel that God-exalting, God-fearing Pastors, like mine, are few and far between.
Is your Pastor one of your Spiritual Fathers? Mine is!
The ‘Heaven Test’: Do you see the Pastor to be more likely to go to Heaven than yourself? A good Pastor, one who is likely to live life everlasting, can pass this ‘test’. Pastor Webster passes this test with flying colors; hopefully (smile) I’ll get there with him, God willing.
Is he Spiritually Wobbly? Does he exhibit full faith?
- Is he a man of conviction? Is his faith readily apparent and ‘full’? Even the most faithful of Pastors lack perfect faith, right? The scripture tells us that all, including great Ministers & Pastors, have sinned and fallen short – at times. If perfect faith was the ‘ticket to Heaven’, no one would achieve eternal salvation.
Is he ethical? A poll, published on the front page of USA Today recently, said that ‘only 50% of Ministers are judged to be ethical’.
- When I read the article, I remember smiling and thinking: Thank God my Pastor is the ethical man of God that he is. I’m so blessed I’m part of Pastor Webster’s flock!
2 questions should be asked and answered:
- Is he a good Shepherd of the flock he leads? As we know from John 10, not all Shepherds are good.
- Is he a true Christian Leader, or is he merely a Manager. A good man of God who is also an effectual Shepherd can successfully inspire his flock; he can encourage their transformation into spiritually-discerning, mature Christians.
- Does he have empathy for others? A kind, empathetic man is one who isn’t ashamed to express kindness. He is a man who cheerfully takes heart-felt acts of kindness – towards his flock or people outside his church body. He’s a model husband, son, father, and brother as well.
- The ‘fruit of the spirit‘ (Galatians 5) is a good scriptural reference for measuring the character of any Christian, including members of the clergy. I’ve watched Pastor Webster for nearly 7 years. Many actions taken by him, including his visiting people in the hospital who weren’t members of the church, helped me see that Pastor Webster is an extraordinarily empathetic man of God.
- Scripture tells us: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)
The Bible tells us: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13 NKJV).
- An empowered child of God, as Pastor Webster is, lives this scripture!
A Pastor who ‘walks by faith’ is a God-pleasing Pastor.
The 3rd Pillar of Christian Assurance is one that every Pastor should live by every waking moment. If a man in such a position is often ‘sight walking’, or doesn’t have an ongoing, rock-solid relationship with the Lord, they surely can’t (in my humble Christian opinion) be deemed a Good Pastor.
- How can you lead others where you’ve never been or aren’t headed yourself?
At the heart of Oak Ridge First Baptist’s Mission as a church is seeking to edify members. Through his Sermons, the church programs he endorses, and the church leaders he chooses, Pastor Webster seeks to inform and edify.
It is through information and Bible-based edification that he seeks to inspire his flock to be Christian Disciples. Moreover, Pastor Webster seeks to get the unsaved to be saved – to begin (or restart) their Christian walk.
- As discussed on this blog previously (post), a spiritually-mature Christian is one who has developed spiritual discernment; divine direction, on the simpler matters of life, can be found by simply reading the Bible.
Though Oak Ridge First Baptist’s Church School (Sunday morning), mid-week Bible Studies, his weekly Sermon, Vacation Bible School, and other programs, I feel that Pastor Webster is an extraordinary Edifier.
Anointed Agent of the Almighty
- Such a person is divinely driven by the Holy Spirit, not ego. Having seen him give over 300 Sermons, the anointed nature of my Pastor is readily apparent.
- In both his words and deeds, it’s clear to me that the Almighty is being effectually and fervently exalted – and that the Devil’s wicked voice is dismissed as noxious noise.
- Moreover, at the church Pastor Webster leads, the musical ministries set the right atmosphere – for an uplifting Sunday morning worship experience. Some Sundays at my church, by the time the choir has sung it’s last song, the Pastor’s Sermon serves as a ‘spiritually-sweet dessert’ to a Worship Feast already in progress!
In light of all these things, I feel that Pastor Webster is an anointed agent of the Almighty.
A great Pastor I Know
Yes, I feel that Pastor James A. Webster is a great Pastor.
- I frankly feel he’s one of the finest in the state. It was no accident that, when Michelle Obama gave the Keynote Address at the 2012 North Carolina A&T Spring Commencement, Pastor Webster was chosen to do the Invocation.
- His biographical profile gives you a full sense of his life story and accomplishments.
While my wonderful parents laid the spiritual foundation for my life, Pastor Webster helped me see that I needed to build on it – to live in ‘perfect peace’ and have the perfect friend by my side that the Lord is. He is, I strongly feel, a consummate Shepherd, Edifier, & Agent (of the Almighty). These are surely not the qualities of a Bad or merely Good Pastor.
The three elements of this S.E.A. story (Pillars of Pastoral Excellance) can be used, I feel, to assess any Pastor.
- Meeting all three (3) of these ‘Pastor Pillars’ well makes a Pastor great – not good- I believe. Not all Pastors do; mine does.
- Who wants a spiritually-wobbly Shepherd wannabe?
- Who wants a mean, unempowered man who isn’t capable of informing and inspiring his flock to be Christian disciples?
- Who wants a Pastor who is an unanointed man with a shaky relationship with the Lord?
This post serves as my story of a Great Pastor I know: Rev. Dr. James A. Webster. He has served at my church for 30 years; I wish all Pastors were like him. He’s a blessing to me – and all those whose lives he’s touched during his time leading Oak Ridge First Baptist Church. I thank God that he’s my Pastor!
Grace, mercy, and peace to you.