Special ops good prep for bivocational pastor

By Roger Alford

Published: August 22, 2017

Former special ops pilot Tim Morgan, now military contractor and Kentucky Baptist pastor, is shown here during a tour in Iraq with one of the helicopters he used to get servicemen into and out of hot spots.

NEBO—Retired Army Maj. Tim Morgan spent 24 years as a soldier serving his country. Now he’s focused on serving others as a bivocational pastor.

Morgan, pastor of Silent Run Baptist Church in western Kentucky, now seeks to bring the same courage and tenacity to his ministry that he was decorated for as a special operations helicopter pilot delivering Delta Force soldiers and Navy Seals into hot spots around the world.

Five years after retiring from the military, life is busy for Morgan who is working two jobs, one with a military contractor making sure the special ops aviation regiment at Fort Campbell has all the tools and resources it needs and the other as pastor of a rural church in the farming community of Nebo, population 220.

“If you did a demographic study into where to build a church, this is not where you’d choose,” he said. “Yet, God has blessed. As a congregation, we’ve not only grown in numbers, but we’ve grown deep in our relationship with the Lord.”

Sunday morning attendance has more than doubled from 70 to about 150 and counting since he brought his no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point preaching style to the church in 2013.

Morgan’s enthusiasm for sharing the gospel is contagious, said Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood.

“He loves the Lord, the Lord’s church, and has a passion to see the lost saved,” Chitwood said. “His job as a Special Ops pilot found him in some of the most dangerous war zones on the planet, but Tim realizes that the battle for souls has even greater risks and consequences and approaches his work as a pastor-evangelist with even more courage and conviction.”

Morgan shares his faith with urgency and has preached in all kinds of places, including state parks, even arts and crafts festivals, wherever he found crowds of people to listen. For years, he has volunteered with World Changers, a LifeWay ministry that provides students with opportunities to repair homes and do one-on-one evangelism. He has prayed with lots of soldiers as they prepared to go on dangerous missions.

Through the years, he has found that the job of pastor isn’t easy. In fact, he said, it’s far more difficult in some ways than leading soldiers.

“They were trained to follow without question,” Morgan said. “In a church, you might ask the whole congregation to help with a project and get maybe 25 to show up.”

But Morgan is a dynamic personality who is able to inspire church members to get involved in reaching out with the gospel. He notes that he has little tolerance for interpersonal drama that can hamper that.

“I’ve only got one mission here,” he said. “I don’t have time for pettiness. I don’t have time for nonsense. We have to be about reaching people with the Gospel because I just don’t believe we have a lot of time left before Jesus returns for His church.”

Morgan says he’s simply obeying Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord.”

Still, caring for the needs of Silent Run families is a huge task for a man working a demanding second job. Morgan said fortunately, he has lots of help from others in the congregation.

“A leader’s relevance to the fight isn’t always measured in proximity to the battlefield,” he said. “I have the most cherished thing of any pastor, I have amazing men of God, some of whom carry the title of deacon, to go and care for the flock when I need them to. They love me, pray for me and sometimes even protect me.”

Todd Gray, the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s evangelism team leader, described Morgan as “a faithful, Spirit-filled pastor” who, as a bi-vocational pastor, is having a huge impact in his community.

“The work that God is doing through Tim’s life and ministry would be notable if Tim’s only job was serving Silent Run Baptist Church,” Gray said. “Thank God for pastors like Tim Morgan. They deserve our respect and our support.”

Morgan said God has been kind in allowing him to make the most of the time he has for ministry, Bible study and sermon preparation.

“Only He can do through me what needs done, so I am forced to rely on Him for all things,” Morgan said. “As long as a man is willing to rely on the God of all creation for everything, including time, all things are made possible. If you don’t rely on Him and Him alone, it’s impossible.” (KT)