Pitman father, sons preach together for first time in UScomment (0)
March 6, 2014
By Julie Payne
The Pitman preachers — Bob, Brett and Vance — are familiar names in Alabama Baptist life, and individually their work extends nationally.
But the recent Alabama Baptist State Evangelism Conference gave them an opportunity to be seen as a package deal.
It was the first time for them to preach together at the same conference, at least in the United States. They have previously spoken together in South Africa on four different occasions.
Sammy Gilbreath, director of the office of evangelism for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, said Bob Pitman has “long been a favorite” at the evangelism conference and was already on his list of speakers to invite when he started planning the 2014 conference. He also was in search of a successful church planter and a successful young pastor to round out the conference lineup.
Vance Pitman came to mind for the church planter role. He serves as pastor of Hope Church, Las Vegas, Nev., which he planted in 2001. Gilbreath said he has visited Hope Church and has witnessed firsthand what a wonderful job Vance Pitman is doing as a church planter.
He also has kept up with Brett Pitman, pastor of Highland Park Baptist Church, Muscle Shoals, because of that church’s incredible growth, so Brett Pitman surfaced quickly as an option for the successful young pastor slot.
“There they were — all in the same family,” Gilbreath recalled. “I contacted each and told them of my idea to have all three on the same program, and they agreed.
“I have never had three family members, and I am not sure I have ever heard of this, so what a wonderful example of faithfulness and service to our Lord,” Gilbreath said.
Brett Pitman noted that his father and brother are two of his spiritual heroes and he was “incredibly humbled” for the opportunity to speak at the same event as them.
Vance Pitman echoed his brother’s sentiments, noting he was truly honored to be speaking in his home state with both his father and brother. “Not very many people ever get the opportunity to do that,” he said.
“We pray for each other regularly, talk often and always use each other as a source of counsel,” Vance Pitman added.
Brett Pitman agreed, noting he believes that he, his brother and father have always served as a source of counsel and encouragement for one another.
Bob Pitman was called to preach during a revival service when he was just 16 years old and is celebrating 50 years of preaching ministry this year.
As a student at Samford University in Birmingham, he served Fourth Avenue Baptist Church, Birmingham, as minister of music and Roebuck Park Baptist Church (now NorthPark Baptist Church, Trussville) as minister of youth. He went on to serve in other church positions before accepting his first pastorate at Wall Highway Baptist Church, Madison. He later became pastor of First Baptist Church, Muscle Shoals, for 11 years and Kirby Woods Baptist Church, Memphis, Tenn., for 20 years. For the past six years, he has served in full-time evangelism.
“I never attempted to call my sons into
the ministry,” Bob Pitman noted. “I believe that is God’s work and only God’s work. However, it blessed me beyond measure that God would call both of them to preach.”
In what Brett Pitman calls a strange turn of events, he now serves as his father’s pastor at Highland Park Baptist and said his father has been a “huge influence” on his life.
“For the first 18 years of my life, he was both my dad and my pastor,” he said. “Seven years later, I had the opportunity to serve on the staff of Kirby Woods (Baptist) ... under his leadership. I would say the greatest mark he left in my life was the fact that he was the same person in the pulpit and out of the pulpit. His practice truly aligned with his preaching.”
Vance Pitman agreed. “Many have heard the horror stories about preachers’ kids. I think the reason there are so many messed up preachers’ kids is because there are a lot of messed up preachers,” he said. “Many pastors live one way at church and another way at home. This leads many pastors’ children to walk away from the faith seeing the hypocrisy of a double life. My dad was not perfect, but he was the same imperfect follower of Jesus at home and at church. That consistency revealed an authenticity about the gospel that impacted my life.”
Bob Pitman and his sons all spoke during the conference’s morning session Feb. 25, delivering messages that both challenged and encouraged the audience.