Seven Questions with Mike Stewart – California Southern Baptist Convention
7 Questions Logo<br />

7 Questions with Mike Stewart

Mike Stewart
Director of Missions of the Great Commission Association
‘Green acres is the place to be. Farm livin’ is the life for me. Land spreadin’ out so far and wide. Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.’ …No this is not an episode from the late 1960’s show Green Acres, but if you’re lucky, Michael (Mike) Stewart, who serves as the Director of Missions of the Great Commission Association just might sing it for you sometime and tell you all about growing up on the farm. When he is not tending to his D.O.M. responsibilities or serving as Chairman of the Board of Informed Choices, (Gilroy’s local pregnancy center), you might find him walking his two Labradors or playing Call of Duty with his grandson. Read on to learn how ministry is all in the details for Dr. Mike.

What book are you currently reading?

I just finished this fascinating book that my son got for me: “Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe” by Laurence Bergreen. For those that don’t know, Magellan was very spiritual. He saw God’s hand over everything. Another book that I really encourage others to read, including my staff, is “Great by Choice” by Jim Collins. It’s a great leadership book.

Toilet paper, under or over?

As long as it is present. As we learned during covid times…it just needs to be present.

What is your favorite Bible verse?

My life verse has been Ephesians 5 verse 1-2, ‘Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.’ This verse has actually helped me a few times in my life. One more notable time, it got me out of a speeding ticket! I was filling in for a pastor at a church and I was running late. I only had the pastors phone number, and not the church’s. As you can probably guess, the CHP officer saw me and pulled me over. He asked me all the usual questions, specifically, ‘Do you know why I stopped you today?’ I gave him the whole story that I was a pastor and trying to get to the church to lead the Sunday Service. To my surprise, the officer asked me what my favorite bible verse was. I’m sure he was testing if my story was true and if I was really a pastor. I recited the verse. He looked at me, and said ‘Really? Well… God loves the other people on this freeway too. Go on and get to your church,’ and let me go. God has never forgotten me.

What biblical character (other than Jesus) would you want to meet, and why?

I would actually really enjoy meeting Jesus’ father, Joseph. I’d love to ask him how he saw Jesus growing up. What was Jesus like when he was nine years old? Joseph was one character that got a lot of documented angelic visits. Mary only had one, but Joseph had, like, three!

Tell us your best ministry horror story.

I have many for the hall of fame, but when I was a young man, just surrendered to ministry as a youth pastor, there was a Senior Pastor and Worship Leader on staff at my first church job. I was newly married and preparing to go to seminary. After a few months I noticed the church didn’t hold prayer meetings for the staff exclusively. After about six months, a prayer meeting was held for the congregation of the church. At this meeting the Worship Leader stood up in front of the whole congregation and confessed he had committed adultery and immediately resigned from the position. Three months following that and at the next prayer meeting, the Senior Pastor stood up and confessed to adultery also and he also resigned. With this all coming to light, I was given even more responsibilities to help bring the church through these ordeals. Watching this happen with people that I knew to be godly created fear for myself over this whole scenario. This occurrence really hurt me, and I almost gave up on ministry. From that point, I built my ministry with safeguards in place. With over 26 years in ministry now, I have not had one sexual harassment accusation or case occur. People that have worked for me, especially young women, have thanked me for the policies I’ve put in place. The policies create accountability, and it protects everyone.

When you were in high school what career had you imagined you would be in right now?

I was very involved with my high school’s Future Farmers of America (F.F.A.) chapter. I was the chapter president for a couple of terms. I wanted to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps and become a farmer or rancher. I would grow alfalfa! While growing up I helped on the farm. Those were 12+ hour days. It teaches a person to have a strong work ethic. Since I didn’t go down that road as a career, I’m convinced that when I get to heaven that’s what I’m gonna be doing… farming away.

When you think through all the names of Christ, what name resonates with you right now and why?

Lamb of God. Laying down before the foundation of the world, Jesus laid down his own life, instead of taking our lives. That has significance to me. Lambs are not boastful or aggressive animals; they are very humble creatures. The path of pride is not an easy one for us humans to take.