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Gilstrap bio

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  • 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 consultation. 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 Lake. 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 learner. 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).

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