On behalf of the SDB General Council, Pastor Ericessen Cooper (General Council Member, NYC SDB Church) announced the selection of Rev. David Stall as the incoming SDB Church Planting Coordinator: “Pastor Stall brings a vast amount of experience to this position–from his years of service in Berlin, N.Y. to his current pastoral and civic duties in Ashway, RI. His previous involvement in the sales and marketing field, his work in the ministry, and his current passion for audio visual production brings together three factors which will be a tremendous asset in both reaching and encouraging those who seek to know more about our conference and communicating our beliefs. Let’s welcome Pastor Stall to his new position in our conference and pray God’s continued blessings upon his efforts and his ministry.”
On behalf of the SDB Coordinated Leadership Team, Rev. John Pethtel (Director of Church Development) pointed to the collaborative opportunities that this announcement offers: “Pastor Dave brings a unique mixture of skills, education, experience, and spiritual gifts to the team to develop SDB churches and further the mission of our network of churches in ‘actively advancing God’s Kingdom'”. Indeed, the January launch of the Church Planting Coordinator is a key step in building on the church planting momentum that has been rising through the efforts of many Seventh Day Baptists, especially the Church Planting Task Force with the leadership of Director Pethtel.
Pastor Stall is similarly enthusiastic about the opportunities that God is calling us to as Seventh Day Baptists in this season: “I’m excited to step into this new role, equipped with the skills and experience that God has imparted for such a time as this. John Pethtel and our other directors have laid the groundwork for development of new churches, and I’m ready to work directly with our emerging leaders to provide strategic and practical support.”
While we observe how this next step in Seventh Day Baptist Church Planting is in step with our Conference Vision Map, and is a key part of our Conference ministry initiatives, we do not want to miss out on the story that underpins what is taking place. As we join God in His work of church multiplication and church revitalization, we want to celebrate how God works in and through us. With that in mind, here is a portion of Pastor Dave’s story of God’s work in His life, as he tells it:
“I grew up in the tiny town of Berlin, NY and met Jesus in the SDB Church there. After some ministry experience in SCSC and Stained Glass, I moved to Colorado and attended the Denver and Boulder SDB churches. Jennifer and I were married in the spring of 2000 and I started my first licensed, vocational church ministry in the Colorado Springs SDB church plant. We were leaders during an exciting season of growth in that church. After a couple of years, we responded to God’s call and moved back to New England.
From 2002-07, I served in a church re-plant at an historic Congregational Church in VT. I worked primarily in youth and music ministry under the leadership of a Southern Baptist missionary pastor from Houston, TX. Again, we served and led during an exciting season of growth. Unwilling to continue down a non-SDB path, I started in a similar ministry position in the Berlin SDB church where I served for the next few years under the leadership and guidance of Pastor Matt Olson. Once more, we saw God bless the work as we participated in the revitalization of that church.
Since 2010, I have served as full-time Senior Pastor at the First Hopkinton SDB Church. This has been my most challenging and rewarding ministry experience. We essentially “re-planted” the church here as we rebuilt this body of Christ, starting with a small but strong core group. God has blessed us with steady, sustained, fruitful growth since year one. Today, we have an amazing, vibrant congregation and strong church leadership team.
My first degree was in business marketing, which led to a variety of sales and marketing jobs for Christian and secular organizations during my years of ‘bi-vocational’ ministry. Jennifer and I even ran a B&B in upstate NY for a few years. During those years, I pursued further undergraduate studies in Christian Ministry Leadership and then completed my M.Div with an emphasis in Church Development at Nyack College/Alliance Theological Seminary in NY. Today, I am a doctoral candidate at Nyack/Alliance as I work toward completion of my dissertation on “Best Practices for Revitalization of Historic Churches.” My final degree will be D.Min in Christian Leadership in Global Contexts. These years of education in one of the country’s most culturally diverse seminaries, located just off Wall Street in Manhattan, have been life-changing.
Over the years, Jennifer and I have been blessed with 5 wonderful children who are now between 5 and 17 years old. We love living in Ashaway, RI in the church parsonage, which we share with a very lovable beagle/pointer named Rolo.”
As a General Conference, we are looking forward to the next chapter that God is inviting us into. Thank you Pastor David for joining the Conference Team for this journey forward. As we reflect on how we are “Restored for a Purpose” during the ministry year, may we all purposefully join God in His missional work with passion and prayer.