“Who are the Elders of SSBC?” I can’t say I’ve never heard that question before. Our church is at the size where getting to know our Elders is not always easy. Yet God has called these men to be our shepherds (1 Peter 5:2), teachers (Acts 6:4), and examples (1 Peter 5:3). We should know them! Being a Pastor at SSBC gives me the privilege of rubbing shoulders with these godly men on a regular basis. They are wise leaders and enjoyable to be around. More importantly, they love the Lord, love their families, and love our church. To help us get to know them better, I plan on asking each eight questions and posting their answers here. Enjoy. And please pray for these men and their families.
I met Jim and Debbie Kleberg for coffee a few years ago. They immediately struck me as a gracious couple. Their commitment to the Lord and His church was clear. Their love for the gospel and ministry, especially to married couples, was evident. But I didn’t see Jim’s unique combination of strength and tenderness until he recently joined our Elder board. I know you’ll enjoy getting to know the Klebergs in this brief interview…
1. How long have you and Debbie attended SSBC? What drew you to SSBC?
We have been coming to South Shore Baptist for nine years. We were looking for a church where our family could grow in the Lord. Coming here we found both an emphasis on God’s Word and an atmosphere of love and support.
2. What is your favorite part about serving as an Elder at SSBC?
As a new Elder, I’m excited about serving in whatever new areas I can. I’m also pleased to be able to work with the other Elders and get to know them better. Let me say, they are everything one would hope for.
3. When was a time that God undoubtedly showed His faithfulness to you and/or your family?
This past year we’ve really seen God do amazing things surrounding Debbie’s illness. He has been so faithful. It is truly amazing to experience His presence and comfort upon hearing such a diagnosis. In the days following, the prayer and counsel of brothers and sisters in our congregation was such an encouragement and demonstrated the reality of the body of Christ. In the final analysis, we found ourselves totally helpless and dependent on Him. What a wonderful place to be! It doesn’t sound like it, but that is where we experience deep fellowship with Him. There is a book that explores this called Don’t Waste Your Cancer. We can really identify with its premise. Debbie is doing very well now and has had very good checkups. So, our tendency is to ask – OK when is it over so we can breathe a sigh of relief? We, of course, want it to be over! With this type of cancer and treatment, that kind of milestone doesn’t seem to be forthcoming. We’re learning that God wants us to continue to understand dependency. He’s given us peace and direction. We can’t imagine going through something like this without Him. We are so thankful and have learned much.
4. What are three Christian books that have significantly influenced your life?
Years ago, especially when hosting Bible studies for new believers and their friends, I gave out numerous copies of More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell. Its simple message (that presents Jesus as God and no one else) really affected me. I found it to be a great follow-up witnessing tool. It was effective enough to actually make one coworker very angry!
Another book that I found valuable was This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti. It is a novel that tries to picture the reality of Ephesians 6:12-13 (For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms) within the context of the activities of a local church and its members. Even though it is only a novel, this book really gave me an appreciation of the power of prayer.
The Prodigal God by Tim Keller has recently shown me the depth of Jesus’ teaching through parables – this one being the parable known as the Prodigal Son.
5. What is God currently teaching you?
He’s showing me my absolute dependency on him. I have no power or wisdom outside of what He has given, and that is totally dependent on my faithfulness. Our experiences during Debbie’s illness have underscored this truth.
6. What is one thing about yourself that most people don’t know?
Driving on empty. I have skirted getting stuck in the best of places. I haven’t actually gotten stuck for a good 10 years now, so I am either getting smarter or just not taking enough chances. Gas stations are such a waste of time.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
Classic car shows, photography, World War II history.
8. How can the SSBC congregation encourage and serve the Elders?
Please pray for us and our families, that we would stay faithful and protected from the adversary.