Father/son share co-pastor role: ‘Ready for the future’

0 2,088

JACKSONVILLE–Pastor Herb Reavis and his son Josh have been working together for about 18 years at North Jacksonville Baptist Church, but now they are serving as co-pastors of the church.

The church recently called Josh as the church’s co-pastor, and both father and son say the transition has been practically seamless.

“Everyone is really excited about this,” said Herb. “There has not been too much of a transition because we were already functioning like this. But the vote from our church just made it official. We’re ready for whatever the future holds.”

Josh agrees. “We’re working side by side. He’s the pastor, and I’m the pastor. We’re making decisions together and leading together,” he said. “I understand what an anomaly it is and what a unique opportunity this is. But I am not overstating this when I say this is great because he’s great.”

“We’re ready for whatever the future holds.”

Herb Reavis who co-pastors North Jacksonville Baptist Church with his son Josh

‘Church in good hands’

Herb has been pastor of the church for 33 years. Josh came on as an associate pastor about 18 years ago, serving in variety of roles over the years. As the associate pastor for pastoral ministries, Josh began working more closely with his dad, overseeing directors, assisting with day-to-day operations, churchwide planning, and preaching on Sundays when his dad was out.

Herb, who will be 68 in June, said he has no plans to retire, but as he began to think of the church’s future, he thought it would be a good idea to have a co-pastor in place. He appointed a co-pastor search committee that included only one staff member along with several church members, and he suggested his son for the role. The committee met for about a month before leading the church to call Josh for the position.

“The church is in good hands,” Herb said. “If I step aside for any reason, or if the Lord calls me home, Josh would be the sole senior pastor.”

“We’ll have the continued momentum and the consistency we’ve had. We feel that’s important practically and also theologically. People can know it’s a pretty smooth handing off of the baton,” Josh said.

From left, Pastor Herb Reavis and wife Lisa, and Sheoherd, Josh, Anna Rose, Seana and Abraham Reavis.

‘Young eyes’ and trusting the gut

About 10 years ago, Josh began preaching during the church’s Wednesday night service, which draws about 700 to 800 each week. “We feel like people can’t get too much of the Bible,” he said, noting that the Wednesday and Sunday sermon series, while different, are both leading the congregation through the Bible. “It’s been a really good model for us.”

Meanwhile, Herb continues to preach the two Sunday morning services, which attract about 1,700.

Herb said the two have worked well together, noting how his son brings a younger perspective that is needed as they plan together and make decisions. “He’s given me young eyes to look through, and I think that has been very helpful. I have been so proud to watch him grow into this role.”

Meanwhile Josh raves about his father’s church experience and knowledge, which has helped them fine -tune some ideas and forego others. “I’ve learned to trust his gut as much as he does,” Josh said.

Both are excited about the continued growth the church is experiencing and the upcoming expansion of its preschool space offering new outdoor and indoor play areas, a new worship space and expansion of small group space.

“I think our church is expecting about 15 or 16 babies,” Josh said. “We have a ton of young families, which is a real testament to my father’s leadership.”

Josh is the oldest of Herb’s three sons, all of whom are pastors. Middle son Jonathan is the pastor at Shindler Drive Baptist Church in Jacksonville, and youngest Joseph served at North Jacksonville Baptist before recently accepting the associate pastor position at University Baptist Church in Jacksonville.

“All three ended up answering God’s call into ministry, and I am thrilled,” Herb said. “It’s all due to God Almighty and the prayers of their mother during their teen years.”

Josh said he loves getting to work with his dad, whom he calls his hero and best friend. “I told the church when they voted me in, I’ll never be able to fill his shoes, but I promise to keep mine pointed in the same direction,” he said.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.