Local VAPN Leaders Look Forward to Partnering with Pastors Around the Country to ‘Stand in the Gap for Truth’
BOSTON, Va.—The American Pastors Network (APN, www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net), the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square, is welcoming a new state pastors network to its growing organization.
This week, APN is launching the Virginia Pastors Network (VAPN, www.vapastors.net), a uniquely gifted group of pastors in Virginia who are joining together to “Stand in the Gap for Truth.”
“The American Pastors Network has been standing in the gap for truth around America and is growing again through the new Virginia Pastors Network,” said APN President Sam Rohrer, who is also president of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN, www.papastors.net). “We know that pastors there will be an invaluable support to one another as they engage their congregations to stand for truth and freedom and effect true change in the culture.”
Leading the Virginia network as its president will be Steven Harrelson, senior pastor of Mount Lebanon Baptist Church in Boston, Va. He has been married to his wife, Hannah, for 13 years, and they have a 6-year-old son named David. Harrelson holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biblical studies from Piedmont International University and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia Evangelical Seminary. Harrelson has served on the board for Child Evangelism Fellowship of the Greater Yadkin Valley and as an appraisal reader for LifeWay Publications. He has also served as a senior pastor, associate pastor and youth pastor before his post at Mount Lebanon.
“I understand the responsibility of the Church of Jesus Christ to know and articulate the Christian response to the difficult issues that we face as a nation,” Harrelson said, “and I am honored to be a part of the American Pastors Network and to lead the Virginia Pastors Network.”
Leading VAPN with Harrelson will be Doug Wright as vice president and Paul Collins as secretary/treasurer.
Wright moved to Berryville, Va., in November 1994 to become the senior pastor of Keystone Baptist Church. He had served from 1985 until 1994 as a teacher, principle, youth pastor and associate pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Clymer, Pa. The effects of the local church youth program and attendance at summer camps led to Wright attending Bob Jones University in the fall of 1980. After graduation in 1984, Wright married fellow graduate Kristy Browning, and initially they both served as Christian school teachers in Pennsylvania. The Wrights have three children.
Collins is a graduate of Peninsula Bible Institute, and in 1984, received his bachelor’s degree from Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville. He has served as a pastor in Tennessee, South Carolina and Virginia over more than 30 years in ministry. His preaching ministry is designed to win the lost and build up Christians through expository preaching and teaching. In October 1997, Collins and his family left a growing church in South Carolina to begin a new church in Harrisonburg, Va. Collins has also served as Virginia State Promotional Director and Moderator of the Virginia Free Will Baptist State Association during his ministry in Virginia, along with pastoring Harrisonburg Free Will Baptist Church. Collins’ wife, Patty, his daughters, Rachel and Hannah, and his son, Joshua, add to his ministry through their involvement within and outside the church doors.
APN focuses on a concerted effort to grow its state pastors’ network initiative through a plan to welcome pastors in all 50 states who will serve as State Network Organizing Representatives. The ultimate goal is to develop free-standing state chapters of pastors and leaders in each state. These state networks will focus on their particular states and carry out the mission and purpose of the American Pastors Network, which include:
- Identifying, encouraging, equipping and educating pastors and church members to “Stand in the Gap for Truth”;
- Being a voice for truth and an advocate for pastors in the public square by providing Bible-based and constitutionally consistent analysis and recommendations on matters of public policy; and
- Strengthening the biblical relationship between pastors and elected officials through various private and public meetings for prayer, study and policy discussion.
Current chapters are already doing the important work of providing timely, in-state leadership on issues impacting local families and congregations. Examples of their efforts include speaking out in the defense of marriage and standing up for religious liberty.
VAPN and APN offer pastors numerous online resources that help clergy choose sermon topics and find information for other church ministries. With some free and some paid resources, topics include marriage, abortion, apologetics, creation, the culture crisis, economics, education, the environment, history, homosexuality and Islam, along with many others.
The Virginia Pastors Network encourages pastors to bring together biblical and constitutional principles in their sermons and provides resources to pastors throughout the state. For more information on VAPN, visit its website at www.vapastors.net.
VAPN is a group of biblically faithful clergy and church liaisons whose objective is to build a permanent infrastructure of like-minded clergy who affirm the authority of Scripture, take seriously Jesus’ command to be the “salt and light” to the culture, encourage informed Christian thinking about contemporary social issues, examine public policy issues without politicizing their pulpits and engage their congregations in taking part in the political process on a non-partisan basis.
The American Pastors Network is the largest, national network of pastors who believe in the authority of scripture; who boldly preach the whole counsel of God with a disciplined application of a biblical worldview to public policy; who are building a permanent infrastructure of biblically faithful pastors and lay leaders; and who are mobilizing congregations to participate in the political process on a non-partisan basis. For more information on APN, visit www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net, its Facebook page or follow APN’s Twitter feed, @AmericanPastors. Those interested in forming a chapter in their state may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To interview a representative from the American Pastors Network, contact Beth Harrison at 610-584-1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, or Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, ext. 102.