1. DR. ROBERT E. GILSTRAP
For the past decade Dr. Robert E. Gilstrap Jr. (Bobby) has served the churches of the
Huron and Southeastern Associations of Michigan as their Associational Missionary.
While serving these churches he has cast a vision for reaching the lost in those areas of
Michigan, as well as fostering a culture of empowerment and trust. He has worked to
resource the local churches and build relationships with pastors to provide coaching and
Interestingly, Michigan played a major role in Dr. Gilstrap’s journey beginning all the way
back to the summer of 1981. That summer Dr. Gilstrap served as a summer missionary at
Bambi Lake Retreat and Conference Center. During this time, he had his first opportunity to help with a
church plant. Brother Tom Fishell was serving as a church planter in Roscommon and Dr. Gilstrap served as
the music leader. It was also in the mission at Roscommon that he preached his very first sermon.
According to Dr. Gilstrap it was “a miserable attempt at a sermon.” However, while serving as a summer
missionary that summer, Dr. Gilstrap surrendered to the Gospel ministry in the Hubbs’ Lodge at Bambi
Dr. Gilstrap was born in Fort Worth, Texas where his father was attending seminary. His parents were
appointed by the International Mission Board (FMB at the time) and moved to Guatemala when Dr. Gilstrap
was six months old. When he was almost seven the family moved to Georgia where he remained until
graduating from high school.
Dr. Gilstrap is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. He received
a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His Doctor of Ministry was
conferred upon him by Midwestern Theological Seminary. His Doctor of Ministry project was “Designing a
Church Planting Strategy for Michigan’s Huron and Southeastern Baptist Associations.”
In addition to serving as an Associational Missionary, Dr. Gilstrap has eleven years of pastoral experience
with churches in Texas and Oklahoma. He has also been a youth pastor and an associate pastor. While
serving Huron and Southeastern Associations, these areas have led the Baptist State Convention of Michigan
in percentage of churches gained over the last ten years. Furthermore, he has led the associations to
restructure to function under a resourcing model with streamlined systems and ministry action teams. He has
been able to recruit as many as twenty-five mission teams a year to come to his associations with a total of
3,080 volunteers involved over the years. In an effort to provide quality training opportunities, Dr. Gilstrap
began the Audio Conference for Pastors in 2006. Since then he has hosted twenty-seven programs with
some of the most prominent church leaders in the country as guests and hundreds of participants from all
around the country. He has been a conference speaker or workshop leader at dozens of conferences in
Michigan and across the United States. He currently serves on the Executive Leadership Team of the
Network of Baptist Associations. Dr. Gilstrap is an accomplished and innovative leader who is well suited to
lead the Baptist State Convention of Michigan into the future.
His personal vision statement is: “Envision a passionate relationship with Jesus Christ, enabling me to
intentionally grow my family to model a genuine faith and minister through resourcing and training believers
from local churches to be God-centered, missional and reproducing for Kingdom expansion.” Dr. Gilstrap
says he values family, excellence, creativity, responsiveness, being an equipper, leadership, and being a
Dr. Gilstrap has been married to his wife Brenda (Wallace) for twenty-two years. Brenda holds a Master of
Arts in Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The two of them have two
sons, Robert (17) and Andrew (15).