Alumni Q and A with Joseph Stegall
CHRIS MARTIN | January 19, 2017
Q: Tell us about your ministry and family.
A: About six years ago, I helped plant Providence Baptist Fellowship in Nolensville, Tennessee, where I serve as the lead pastor. My wife Sara and I have four girls, Hayley, Claire, Keira and Eden. Eden is our little miracle baby, she has Down’s Syndrome and had some massive medical issues early on, but by God’s grace, she’s doing really well now. Experiencing this trial has actually become a big part of our ministry because suffering is a reality for everyone, but until you actually walk through it you don’t really have any “street cred.” Eden has changed that.
Q: Why Southeastern?
A: First, Dr. Akin came to a church in Atlanta soon after I had graduated from Georgia Tech and spoke at a worldview conference. Secondly, there is a feeling on campus that everyone is family. The theology is solid, the people are missional, but the community was huge for us, especially moving to campus already having one child.
Q: What was your most influential moment at Southeastern?
A: While it doesn’t have to do with a particular class or chapel speaker, living in seminary housing really taught me what gospel community looks like and what it is like be known by others and to know others. This has affected how we do community at Providence.
Q: What is the greatest joy that you have as a pastor?
A: Seeing people go from death to life. Seeing peoples’ eyes opened to salvation and to the glory of God. Even for believers, seeing peoples’ eyes opened to a deeper grasp of the greatness of God is a huge joy.
Q: What challenges do you face as a pastor?
A: Definitely balance. Being a husband, being a father and being there for all four of my children, along with being a pastor—that’s a challenge. One of the challenges we’re facing right now is that we’re planning out how to plant our first church. We know the Lord wants it, but saying we need to plant a church and actually doing it are two completely different things.
Q: What advice do you have for current and future pastors?
A: Stay close to the Lord and His Word. Don’t let your walk drift. Be faithful in the small things. Work really, really hard. Die to yourself daily.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: I love to date my wife. I love to play with my kids. As a former Yellow Jacket track athlete, I still love to run. A friend and I also like to hike sections of the Appalachian Trail.
Q: What was your favorite class or professor at Southeastern?
A: I took a number of great classes, and I soaked everything up like a sponge because I didn’t have an undergraduate degree in biblical studies. The most formative class was theology. The most practical class would have been biblical exposition.
Q: What is one book that everyone should read?
A: “God is the Gospel” by John Piper because it shows the beautiful reality that what we get in the Gospel is God himself. We don’t just get the things He can give, but we get the Creator-God of the universe as our Savior, as our Lord, as our Father and as our friend.
Q: What has God been teaching you lately?
A: The Lord has been reminding me of His majesty, His holiness and His “bigness.” Nothing is out of His control. He is massively in control of every atom in the universe. He is a God big enough to accomplish His good plan despite my failures, and that’s really freeing.
Q: Southeastern is known as a Great Commission seminary, how did Southeastern prepare you to be a Great Commission pastor?
A: Southeastern helped me go from thinking about the Great Commission from a worldwide missions standpoint as if that was something that other people do to realizing that it’s something we’re all called to do. Dr. Akin said all the time, “Don’t ask yourself, ‘Why should I go?’ Ask yourself, ‘Why should I not go?’ And if you can’t answer that, well maybe you need to go.”
This has led us to be a church that supports the Great Commission, whether we’re praying, giving or going