By Sharon Mager, BaptistLIFE Correspondent
GLEN BURNIE, Md—Thirty-three-year-old Tim Byer grew up at Faith Baptist Church (FBC), and on August 1 became the lead pastor following in the footsteps of Thane Barnes; James Nichols, David Lee and John Pepper.
Byer’s parents, John and Dale, have served for over 30 years at Faith Baptist. It’s where Tim and his brother, Andy, and his sister, Pam, came to faith, where they were baptized and grew up. It’s where they had fun, goofed off, laughed and cried together, ate hundreds of church dinners and where they heard the Word of God and were discipled. It’s where Tim was ordained in 2005.
Tim Byer’s first staff position at FBC was associate pastor, overseeing the sports programs, primarily Upward basketball and soccer. The church had built the multipurpose area/gym when Byer was attending University of Maryland Baltimore County and called Tim, in his sophomore year, to serve in the new ministry.
He later served as pastor of English Ministry at Abundant Life Korean Church, Severna Park, and then as lead pastor of Crossroads Church, Odenton for almost four years. Byer also began taking seminary classes at Rockbridge Seminary.
Now, Byer is working at Faith with a full pastoral staff that includes Raymond Higgins, pastor of worship/music who watched Byer grow up, and Higgins’ son and Byer’s friend, Jeff Higgins, who also grew up in the church and now serves as worship/college/missions pastor.
Byer is amazed. “I can hardly describe my feelings. It’s such an honor to be affirmed by the church—the church I grew up in, where I was the punk who was messing things up,” he laughed. “I’ve been here my whole life. I served as a student leader in the youth group.
After submitting his resume to the search committee, Byer stepped out of the Faith Baptist sports ministry position last season after serving for 15 years, while still serving as lead pastor at Crossroads Church.
Though he felt God leading him to pastor FBC, he felt he had no chance. But God threw open the doors.
“God has continued to confirm this. He’s knocked over dominoes, and He has changed hearts,” Byer said, even the search committee.
Chairman of the search committee Jack Deitz and his wife, Pat, have been members of FBC for over 20 years. Their son Justin is the same age as Tim.
Jack Deitz said he and so many in the church love Byer, but the search committee did struggle over Byer’s youth and experience.
“We’re thinking, ‘Here’s a 33-year-old kid we’re giving the reigns to’ but it wasn’t us. It was God,” Deitz said.
The committee agreed to pray for two weeks. The Holy Spirit moved and the answer came back strongly in favor of Byer. God told us that Tim was our man, Deitz said.
Byer is ready to take on the challenge. His top priority is for the pastoral team to spend time in prayer and he has scheduled a pastoral retreat in October to focus on scripture and spending time together with Jesus.
His focus is bringing the church back to its strong multi-generational culture.
“I’ve seen Faith be a beautiful family in the past. We can do it again. We’re looking forward to being the church that feels like the family Thanksgiving celebration each Sunday morning when we get together—the one with grandparents, grandkids and the crazy uncle all celebrating together,” Byer said.
He wants to lead the church to continue to do all ministries with excellence.
Does he see growing up at FBC to be a hurdle? That perhaps he won’t be taken seriously? That a prophet is rejected in his “home town?”
Nope. “I see the church of Faith to be stronger in the Spirit and more submissive to the will of God than Nazareth,” Byer said.
Byer and his wife, Jill, have been married for ten year. Jill works as a communications coordinator for the Anne Arundel County Board of Realtors.
The couple is very satisfied in their church home.
“This is home. I was saved under Dr. John Pepper, baptized under Dr. Lee and grew and ministered under the leadership of Dr. Nichols,” Byer said. ”I’m here to stay. Unless God lights a fire, I don’t want to leave,” Tim Byer said.