Q&A with Darrell Hall

Q&A with Darrell Hall


Rev. Darrell Hall is Campus Pastor of Elizabeth Baptist Church’s campus in Conyers, Georgia. Rev. Hall’s mission is to love all people into Christlikeness through the practice and preaching of the Word. He is married to Eboni and together they have three sons.

Relationship, Not Recipe

Q: You serve today as a campus pastor for the same congregation you’ve attended since you were a kid. How has that lifetime of service to one church shaped your leadership and ministry? 01

Our campus just celebrated its fiveyear anniversary, on the same Sunday our mother church celebrated its ninetieth. Believers for generations before us were faithful. They sacrificed and gave. We’re part of that. We may be the youngest baby of the bunch, but we’re part of the same family. It’s my responsibility to appreciate and advance that history.

It’s a long process to shape someone to carry on a church’s identity. How long? For me it took 32 years—which is how old I am.

Leaders are key DNA carriers of the congregation. Our historic mother church influences my ministry through me—as fresh and new as my work might be. And that’s a good thing. That heartbeat and mission are part of me. I may presently serve at a campus 40 miles away, but it still feels like home to people visiting from our mother church.

Q: What did your church leaders do well in preparing you throughout your life in the congregation? 02

They let me serve! I first started volunteering in our congregation when I was five. Including the younger generation is a vital place to start. Younger people are capable of so much—and it prepares them for future leadership as well as present service.

I’ve served in probably 15 different volunteer capacities over the years. Shoulder-to-shoulder learning—listening, leading, collaborating—is what most shaped me for my present role. There is a positive culture of training and equipping people here. In general, it’s a relational process rather than a recipe.

Q: You’re a young leader on the “upward” transition path. That can go to a young leader’s head. What are you learning about navigating that? 03

When a transition is upon us, we have an opportunity to check ourselves, whether we’re the ones exiting the office or entering it. Losing or gaining it does not change who a person is or their intrinsic value. Your influence may have changed. Your importance has not.

At the cusp of a transition, we have extra energy to examine ourselves. There is excitement, remembrance and intentionality for the next season. I can mostly speak from the perspective of transitioning “up” into positions of more responsibility. Over the past 16 years, that’s been my journey, starting out as a Bible study leader for our choir, then transitioning into our adult ministry, as a preaching assistant to our senior pastor, then youth pastor, and now serving as a campus pastor. At each level, who I am in Christ is important—it’s the place I serve from.

I think danger comes in when a person—especially if they are young—“leapfrogs” levels of ministry. Growth is usually gradual. It’s a grace to go up by the stairs rather than the elevator. Each step begins a season of disequilibrium, where you have to regain your bearings before resettling into your fundamentals in Christ.

Q: What else should we remember about transitions? 04

Times of transition have a way of humanizing spiritual leaders.

When a leader is at the peak of their tenure, there can be this dynamic, like Joshua, who God made “large in the eyes of the children of Israel.” That “big” quality of a leader can fade in transition, because they are leaving the position they needed it for. They often don’t exude the same confidence. They often aren’t larger than life anymore.

But the transition humanizes them. Moses led his people through the Red Sea, then ended his life in an anticlimactic moment, alone on a mountain, not getting to go into the Promised Land. We think, wait, what just happened? He just dies. But the ministry keeps moving.

Do we give our leaders space to be human? Especially in transition? Often not. Bitterness can come up, anger. Natural human emotions that need to be processed. That’s part of what it feels like to be a person. A person with feelings. Our pastoral robes or clerical collars are not bulletproof.

Leaders hurt. Many pastors learn to serve in spite of that. But when you transition out of a role, it catches up to you. There needs to be space to process the whole range of shortcomings that might have happened in that role. Who do I need to forgive? Who might need to forgive me? Am I carrying pain? How is the Lord using this to make me more like Christ?

When I moved out of my youth pastor role I felt some guilt. I felt I could have done more with the position. I felt frustration—there had been so much more I’d had in my heart to accomplish as a youth pastor. Moving on was right, but I still felt that. I had to acknowledge my mixed feelings to bring emotional closure to that season and move forward to the next season.

Keeping a good name is different than having a great title. At the end of the day, no matter how I serve, I’m still Darrell Hall, on my knees before God, just like on the first day of my call. We all must learn to minister out of that settled place.

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After the Transition

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