Monday, May 23, 2011

Do Multi-Point Pastorates Still Exist in the SBC?

What is a "multi-point" pastorate? Simply, it is a pastor who serves multiple churches. This was a common occurence in the 1940's until the 1960's. I remember Pastor Clyde Sullivan who was the pastor of my grandparents church in Person County. Not only did he serve my grandparents church, but he also served three others as well. He would preach in two churches each Sunday, so each church had Sunday services only twice a month. Mr. Sullivan made very little money from these pastorates. A couple of the churches paid him in fruits, vegetables, and meat.

The same can be said for Pastor Clarence Bishop. He pastored in Person and Granville counties for years. I remember him in the early 1960's. Pastor Bishop also served multi-point pastorates. I don;t believe Pastor Bishop was the fulltime pastor of one church until the late 1960s. By that time, he was nearly 60 years old and had been pastoring for 40 years.

I wonder if multi-point pastorates still exist in the SBC. I know they do in United Methodist Churches. In our community, a UMC pastor serves two churches. He preaches at one church at 9:30 am and 11:00 am at the other. Do you know of any multi-point pastorates in the SBC?


Pastor Jim said...

I've never heard them called "multi-point" pastors before. I've always called them "circuit riders". My grandfather was a circuit rider preacher for three tiny, rural, Advent Christian churches. The ladies of the churches would hold a Sunday School every week, but they only had "preachin" once every three weeks.

One of the pastors in our West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists pastors two churches. I don't know how he works it, but he seems to lead very effective ministries in both places.

Les Puryear said...


Interesting. Your grandfather sounds like the two pastors I mentioned in this post.

In these times of economic difficulty, do you think that very small churches might turn to this concept of one pastor of multiple churches?


Dr. Terry Dorsett said...

Dr. Tim Pittman serves two SBC churches in northern Vermont. One is the South Wheelock Baptist Church and the other is the Sheffield Federated Church. He has been serving both churches for about 12 years. The Sheffield Church is also aligned with the United Methodists as well as Southern Baptists, though there have been no Methodist members for a number of years.

Les Puryear said...



I have heard of multiple churches for one pastor but never across denominational lines.