Jim Vogel is a man with a mission—he wants to make our churches better by ministering to pastors.
“Pastors are central to the growth and health of our churches,” said Dr. Vogel recently, noting that the genius of the GARBC is its structure as a fellowship of churches. “Pastors that are spiritually healthy and growing will produce churches that are healthy and growing.”
Currently the pastor of South Baptist Church, Flint, Michigan, Jim will become associate national representative for the GARBC in September. His wife, Jeannie, who frequently speaks to women’s groups, will assist Jim in his ministry. John Greening announced the appointment during the Thursday business session at the Annual Conference, capping a week of sermons, workshops, and resolutions to support the Association’s goal of thinking seriously about the contemporary church.
Jim didn’t know much about the GARBC until he transferred to Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. “I went there sight-unseen, never having visited the campus,” said Jim. “I remember driving up in my Volkswagen Bug, packed to the gills, only to meet professors like Rembert Carter who instilled in us Baptist convictions and belief.”
This search for convictions sometimes caused Jim to think, “There is a lunatic fringe here!” But he concluded, “There is no one else who holds our distinctives the way we hold them. We have a reason to exist. I came to realize there was a unique position that has become my conviction.”
Jim and Jeannie Vogel will use their new positions to fill a great need for pastoral training and development, pastoral placement and pulpit search assistance, and Association recruitment and retention. Their ministry in Flint, Michigan, will be profiled in the October edition of the Baptist Bulletin.
Meet the Vogels
Jim Vogel was born in Abington, Pennsylvania, on July 8, 1952, and grew up near Philadelphia. He was born again when he was eight years old through the influence of godly parents. In high school Jim sensed God’s leading toward vocational Christian ministry. He attended Northeastern Bible College in New Jersey for two years before transferring to Baptist Bible College of Pennsylvania (BBC) and graduating in 1974. He then attended Baptist Bible Seminary and graduated with a master of divinity degree in 1977. He completed his doctorate of ministry degree in 1993 at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois.
Jim began his pastoral ministry in 1977, accepting the invitation of First Baptist Church of Johnson City, New York, to become their youth pastor. At the end of 1983, he accepted the invitation of the same congregation to become their senior pastor. He served in that capacity until accepting the pastorate of Southgate Baptist Church in Springfield, Ohio, in 1991. In 1995 he became the lead pastor of South Baptist Church, Flint, Michigan, where he has served for twelve years.
Jim has served in various leadership positions in his approximately thirty years of pastoral work. While in New York, he directed the state Talents For Christ program for six years and served on the Council of Ten of the Empire State Fellowship of Regular Baptist Churches. He has served on the board of trustees of BBC for more than twenty years and has been on the GARBC Council of Eighteen for several terms since 1995.
Through the years of his ministry, Jim has been a guest speaker at various local, state, and national GARBC conferences, as well as in college chapels and camps. He also has written articles published in local and state Regular Baptist papers and the Baptist Bulletin.
In 1978 he married Jeannie Harris of Flint, Michigan. Jeannie also graduated from BBC and has complemented Jim’s ministry through active involvement in children’s and women’s ministries in each of the three churches in which they served. She has become a popular women’s retreat speaker in our Fellowship and has published a Bible study book through Regular Baptist Press. Together Jim and Jeannie conduct marriage seminars and retreats and have ministered in Michigan, Ohio, New York, Florida, and elsewhere.
God has blessed Jim and Jeannie with five children: Nathan (25, working in Nashville), Heather (23, teaching English as a graduate assistant on the faculty of BBC), Karis (20, a senior at BBC), Megan (18, a high school senior), and Matt (15, a high school sophomore).
• Read Jim Vogel’s article“Here We Stand: Our Unique Position as Regular Baptists” (Baptist Bulletin, November 2003).