“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 will never forget the first time I met Bill Haeck. Jeni and I strolled into a lunch gathering during my candidacy time. I quickly noticed a man with unusual garb: a University of Michigan polo shirt and blue pants with my precious UM emblem plastered all over. Needless to say we embraced as he said “welcome home!” Clearly, this church was special. On a serious note, Bill does double-duty at SSBC, serving as Elder and part-time Administrative Director on staff. Bill’s strong leadership combined with his marked servant attitude have added tremendous productivity and a sense of calm to our crazy scene. Here’s a bit more about Bill…
1. How long have you and Rebecca attended SSBC? What drew you to SSBC?
Rebecca and I have been at SSBC for about 15 years. There were 3 things that drew us to SSBC: the incredibly welcoming and friendly people, a clear passion for the gospel from the pulpit, and the solid preaching from Seth and Jeramie. In my humble opinion, all 3 of those have only improved over the years.
2. What is your favorite part about serving as an Elder at SSBC?
I’m going to cheat because I have 2 favorite parts about being an elder. The first is simply the opportunity to spend time with the other elders over the last 3 years. SSBC is blessed with an incredible pool of biblical men with a diverse range of spiritual talents. It sounds trite, but it really is humbling to be around this group of men, and I have learned a lot from each of them. Second, I have enjoyed the monthly meetings where we do nothing but meet and pray for the congregation. It’s truly an amazing experience to regularly pray intensely for each and every member of the SSBC membership roll, as well as lift up special prayer requests. I never realized how much time and energy elders put into prayer and shepherding each member of the flock.
3. When was a time that God undoubtedly showed His faithfulness to you and/or your family?
During my term as an elder, the company I helped found and build went under after 13 very successful years. The end was both dramatic and challenging on many levels as I sought other work and tried to discern what God had in store for me. During that time, not only did God provide material support, he opened up both spiritual doors and learning opportunities I never could have imagined. Many times in life, we don’t get to see God’s plan in our more difficult moments, but in this particular case, it was almost impossible not to see God’s hand at work at almost every turn.
4. What are three Christian books that have significantly influenced your life?
The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, Practical Christianity by Arthur Pink, and Desiring God by John Piper
5. What is God currently teaching you?
It’s not possible to condense that into one simple paragraph. If I had to identify 2 areas God is working on in me, the first would be a deeper and more refined sense of humility. I’m constantly amazed at how easily pride and self-righteousness creep into my life and thinking. Second, I feel like in my 3 years as an elder, I still have only scratched the surface of learning what a true shepherd is, in heart and in action.
6. What is one thing about yourself that most people don’t know?
Pick one… I am probably more of an introvert than an extravert, and I’m actually a born and raised Florida boy.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
I’m happy doing just about anything outside: mountain biking, kayaking, etc., but push come to shove, I’d rather be skiing than doing just about anything else. Unlike our warm-blooded pastor, there’s never enough snow for me.
8. How can the SSBC congregation encourage and serve the Elders?
First and foremost, praying for elders and elders’ families is invaluable. Families make as much of a sacrifice as elders do during the course of our term. Second, a large part of the elders’ duties is discerning the will of the congregation. Open and honest communication and constructive criticism are always welcome and helpful as we wrestle with a variety of issues. Finally, as elders, we work very hard to earn the trust of the congregation, but we are not infallible. In many matters, we rely on the grace, patience, and trust of the congregation as we try our best to wrestle with challenging questions that often lack clear black or white answers.