General Overseer, FGBCIF Pastor, Elizabeth Baptist Church - Atlanta, GA
Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International recently announced the appointment of its newest roster of leaders. Among those appointed, Dr. Craig Oliver, pastor of Elizabeth Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, will fill the role of General Overseer of The Pastors Fellowship. Formerly known as the Bishop of Senior Pastors, this position was filled by Bishop Joseph W. Walker III before he was elevated to Presiding Bishop.
The Pastors Fellowship is a forum designed to undergird pastors with knowledge and support. “The Fellowship serves as a direct lifeline to the pastors who are providing leadership to various congregations and communities of faith,” Oliver states. “The Fellowship is key and essential in helping churches to grow—as we grow pastors, we help to grow churches. It provides a place where pastors can be nourished.”
A progressive pastor in his own right, Oliver leads a dynamic congregation in the metropolitan Atlanta area with over 16,000 members and five church locations. He brings over 20 years of church leadership and expertise on church growth to the position. His first priority is to make sure The Fellowship serves as a support to the vision of the Presiding Bishop. Second, it must provide a context for pastors to grow and develop.
“There are four objectives that we want to keep in the forefront of The Pastors Fellowship: (1) Make sure that The Pastors Fellowship has a relational component in place—that it is not just a gathering of preachers who have no sense of camaraderie or sense of connection. (2) We want to make sure we are attractional and missional in our engagement—missional as it relates to recognizing that the New Testament church has a mission that has been given to us by Christ, and attractional in the sense that pastors and leaders from all different reformations are looking for something to be part of and to be connected to that is actually doing something. (3) We want to be intentional in our leadership development. (4) We want to be pastoral in our focus.”
Full Gospel is committed to helping churches build strong infrastructures. Oliver plans to expand The Fellowship, starting with a rebranding of its annual conference.
“The pastors conference is designed to be a place where pastors who are part of the fellowship can come. Even beyond that, we want to be open to others from different reformations. We want to provide resources that pastors can use to help their churches grow. We also want to have organizational plans that will help to equip leaders. We recognize that there are other individuals who serve in ministry, so we want to provide the best practices and plans that can help those leaders to be equipped. Similar to the pastor and church leader development conferences around the country, my desire is for us to have a one-word title for the conference—PROPEL (Pastoral Resources and Organizational Plans for Equipping Leaders).”
This year, the conference will offer nearly 30 sessions described as learning labs on various topics such as self-care, servant leadership, integrating theology with technology, church administration, and managing multi-services and multi-sites. Instead of 45 minutes in duration, each session will be two and a half hours, allowing time for dialogue and detailed expert instruction.
Oliver is appreciative to Bishop Walker for the opportunity to serve Full Gospel in this capacity. “I’m just honored to have the privilege to stand in his shadow, attempting to fill the massive shoes he has filled. I pray and trust that I will do it in such an honorable way that The Fellowship will be enhanced.”