Meet Chad Gilbert
Born: November 1980
Married: Cole Lambert Gilbert in July 2003.
Children: Ava (12), Grayson (9), Brogan (6), and Livy (4).
- Belaire High School, 1999
- Louisiana College, 2003 | Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Sociology and
minoring in Religious Studies
- New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 2007 | Master of Divinity, focusing on
Biblical Studies and Practical Ministry Training
- New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 2017 | Certificate in Greek Studies,
focusing on Biblical Studies in the area of New Testament Greek
Pastoral and Ministry Experience
Licensed to the ministry by Edgewater Baptist Church, New Orleans, 2008
Ordained by Edgewater Baptist Church, New Orleans, 2008
Associate Pastor of Community and Missions, Trinity Baptist Church, Lake Charles, La. | 2018-present
Chad’s ministry focused on personal, local, and global disciple-making. His ministry equipped over 1,000 members to share the Gospel and intentionally shaped the culture of the small groups to the end that every member would be familiar enough with the Gospel that they could share it with anyone at any time. Strategic partnerships were made with the International Mission Board missionaries in North Africa and Central Asia to make disciples among unreached people groups. Assimilating new members was a key ministry component.
Senior Pastor, Edgewater Baptist Church, New Orleans, La. | 2008-2018
Equipping the church in personal evangelism, engaging church members to reach out to the area schools, local neighbors, and ministry partners were a primary emphasis of Chad’s ministry and leadership. Local, regional, and international missions were areas of emphasis. The church responded by developing mission trips and partnerships in New Orleans, Texas, Mexico, Canada, Lesotho, Northern Africa, Pakistan, and Peru. Part of these intentional efforts in ministry and evangelism was cultivating a strategic prayer culture in the life of the church.
Staff Evangelist, Edgewater Baptist Church, New Orleans, La. | 2008
Chad’s heart for missions and evangelism led him to coordinate the church's evangelistic efforts and equip the church members to minister to the community in a post-Katrina context. The church responded by mobilizing people and resources in caring for the homeless and those in need in our city.
Semester Missionary, Edgewater Baptist Church, New Orleans, La. | 2007
In this year of ministry, the church was actively looking for help and leadership in serving the community in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This need afforded the opportunity to coordinate efforts, equip church members in ministry, and lead teams in pastoral care and college ministry.
- Louisiana Baptist Convention | Properties Committee (former), State Missions Offering
Committee (former), and the Administrative Committee (former)
- New Orleans Baptist Association | Administrative Committee, Chairman (former)
- Baptist Collegiate Ministries Advisory Board | Chairman (former)
- North American Mission Board | Local Strategy Team (former)
- Greater New Orleans Pastors Coalition | Strategy Team (former)
Can you tell us about your conversion?
Raised in a Christian family, I learned that God loved me and had given His Son to die on the cross to save me. At the age of 16, through the testimony of an older friend who had recently been born again, God graciously opened my eyes to see that I did not have a relationship with Christ. Two weeks later, alone in the woods of my grandparent's home in Mississippi, I knelt before the Lord, confessed my sinfulness, my need for His salvation, and my trust that Christ had died for me. I surrendered my life to Him to be my Lord. The wind did not pick up, nor trees begin to bend, but the wind of God’s Holy Spirit rushed upon my heart and caused an affection for God to emerge which I had never previously known. By His grace, I continue to long for God and love to lead others to Christ, both to experience His love for them and to experience the affection that His Spirit brings to our hearts for God and neighbor.
Can you share with us your call to ministry?
Soon after my conversion, I began to sense a deep desire to serve Christ in the life of a local church. My college years at Louisiana College, especially involvement and leadership in the Baptist Collegiate Ministries, shaped and solidified a desire to shepherd God’s people. Our first year of marriage was spent serving in a ministry in Branson, MO, revealing the need to pursue theological education at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. We were blessed to serve in and through the ministry of Edgewater Baptist Church as I completed my theological education, a ministry that strengthened a love for doing ministry in the city of New Orleans and a hunger to proclaim God’s Word in the pulpit. God graciously allowed me the opportunity to shepherd the church that had trained and shepherded me, doing so from 2008-2018. Central passages to my calling have been Hebrews 12:1-3 and Ezekiel 34 - calls to keep my eyes on Jesus and to shepherd according to the Good Shepherd's manner and method.
Can you share with us your thoughts on Christ and Culture? How do you think about this and prepare to address these issues?
If we are to reveal Christ in and to culture, then we must do so in humility. John 13 so powerfully holds in juxtaposition the ongoing strife that is ours with God since Genesis 3—the pride of mankind and the humility of God. In pride, mankind rejected God's authority, took the fruit, and ate, resulting in shame and hiding. In humility, God withheld the fullness of his just wrath, reserving it for the cross of Christ, uttered a promise (Gen 3:15) to defeat the arch-enemy of mankind ultimately, and graciously clothed the naked couple as a first act or demonstration of the climatic clothing that would one day come to those clothed in Christ. Embedded in the text of John 13 is a clear first-century cultural element— foot-washing. Such shall be the army of Christ today, suited with towels, armed with basins, kneeling in humble service to our King. Culture is the arena in which our humble service to Christ shall transpire. How shall we serve Christ in culture? Our answer shall be, “In accordance with the Scriptures, led by servant leaders, filled with the Holy Spirit, focused on Christ, all for the glory of God our Father.”
How can we move people to connect and engage with one another and the church and close the back door?
Open Wide The Front Door. “Closing the back door,” by which is meant “stop losing members,” is a multifaceted issue. The Unstuck Group, led by strategist Tony Morgan, suggests that many churches who consider themselves as having a “back door problem” actually suffer from a “front door problem,” meaning a significant drop in first-time guests. Subtly, a church can shift its missional focus towards keeping members rather than reaching the lost with the Gospel and engaging new members. An inviting culture is a culture in which members are constantly resourced and encouraged to invite their friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors to attend church with them on a Sunday morning.
Exercise Caution. While counter-intuitive, church-wide socials often cause people on the fringe to feel an even deeper sense of disconnectedness because people who already know one another (often through groups or teams) end up clustering together. Because many people are unknown in the large gathering, people who know no one are overlooked by all. We need to carefully consider the disconnected person, the new person, the person who wants to be connected but is struggling to find a group team. I am growth-oriented and want to carefully purpose fellowship in a biblical way that promotes kingdom growth.
Can you share with us more about your International Mission Board calling years ago and how has that shaped your ministry? Can you share with us how God is leading you in missions today?
Cole and I have lived by a phrase for the past 17 years—“Ready to go/Content to stay.” We desire to sign our names to a blank check with the prayer of surrender that God spend our lives, however, and wherever He desires. In our second year of marriage, God brought us to New Orleans, and we were content to remain in New Orleans for a lifetime if that be His will. During my tenth year as pastor of Edgewater, the Lord began to move in our hearts concerning living in another context (another country, that is) to make disciples of all nations. We interviewed with the International Mission Board. They agreed that we should take the next step, which was for Cole to begin the spouse educational requirements in theological education from an SBC seminary. Neither of us felt sure that God was calling us to leave the US, but we felt at peace to take steps towards that end.
During Cole’s training via online courses through Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (who had developed an affordable missions degree program designed for the spouse requirement), I was contacted by Trinity Baptist Church to come and serve as their Associate Pastor of Community Ministry and Missions. We truly sensed that God had been preparing us for this change, although we were surprised it was to Lake Charles rather than Africa. While in Lake Charles these past two years, we have continued to wrestle with the possibility of serving with the IMB. We had a subsequent phone interview with the IMB in February of 2020 to discern the limitations we might be facing concerning placement, given our children's age (especially our oldest, who is now 12 years old). The IMB typically avoids placing families with teenagers, so we knew the window might be closing. The Board shared that they do place families with teenagers, so that limitation was not an absolute barrier, though it is carefully considered. We prayed about taking the next step but never sensed that doing so was God’s plan. We do not sense that it is God’s will that we pursue serving with the IMB at this point in our lives.
The positive effect of wrestling with a call to live overseas is that we desire to live here, in the US, in the same missional ways we would live overseas. Missions is in our blood. Even as I write this response, I can see three world maps adorning our home from my seat. More than wall art, they represent our heart for God’s glory through making disciples of all nations. We will remain Ready to go/Content to stay; I pray for the rest of our lives. This means that we will remain open to the Lord to pursue serving Him overseas, willing to go the moment He commands us to come to Him in another context. I truly believe this willingness is essential to my effectiveness in making disciples here in the US.
As a pastor, partnering with IMB missionaries is one of the sweetest sources of joy in my life and to our family. Our dearest friends are IMB missionaries in Lesotho, and we pray daily for many others all across the world. Caring for missionaries is the responsibility and sacred joy of the local church. I would hope to see FBNO become a tremendous sending church, commissioning missionaries all over the world, even as we labor here in New Orleans for the same purpose—to glorify God by making disciples of all nations.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about how God is leading your heart right now?
I recently read the account of Jesus walking on the water from the Gospel of Matthew in chapter 14. The exchange between Peter and Jesus struck me. Frightened, all of the disciples needed to hear Jesus say, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” Then Peter answered him, “Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” And Jesus said, “Come.” The word “come” is an imperative in the Greek. I have heard so many people highlight Peter’s faith in getting out of the boat, turning to an application that seems to promote risk-taking as some higher form of faith. It would have been utter foolishness, not faith, for Peter to have jumped out of the boat in hopes that he, too, could walk on water unless Jesus commanded him to come. What makes the incident a story of faith is this: Jesus said, “Come,” and Peter went. Biblical faith has always been trust, obedience, belief in what God has said. So, my prayer as it relates to this sacred moment is “Jesus, if this is you, command me to come to you.” Know that His voice is the voice I pray we all hear clearly so that we can each walk in faith, obeying, trusting, believing what He says. May He speak in such a way that only He receives the credit.
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