Bobby Contreras was the senior pastor of Alamo Heights Baptist Church in San Antonio since 2018 and is second vice president of the Executive Council of the Texas Baptist General Convention. From the bottom of a Texan’s heart, he shares his experience and thoughts on church and ministry. To suggest a BGCT affiliated minister to appear in this column, or to apply to be presented yourself, click here.
Where else have you served in the ministry, and what were your positions there?
We have come to San Antonio to serve as the Director of Campus Life with Youth For Christ in the Alamo Heights area. I was also a program director for Blueprint Ministries.
I’m the chaplain for the Alamo Heights Fire and Police Department.
Where did you grow up
The city of El Chuco, the city of the sun. I was born and spent my formative years “in the town of El Paso in West Texas”. We moved to San Antonio 14 years ago. I feel like I’m “growing” every day.
How did you come to faith in Christ?
My parents made the best decision for my younger brother and me when they attended a home Bible study where they first heard about Jesus and the life found in him. As a family, we started going to a religious community where, when I was in fourth grade, Mrs. Doris explained to me the good news of Jesus and I said âYesâ to following Christ.
Where did you study and what diplomas did you receive?
I am currently taking courses online through Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
About the life of ministry
Why do you feel called to the ministry?
James Robertson was my youth pastor from grades six to twelve. James was very intentional not only to teach the gospel to the youth group, but to live it. He taught, discipled, and empowered us as young people to do the same.
I knew in high school that I wanted to do that as a vocation someday. I didn’t know what it would look like or where it would take me, but I felt called to go all the time.
What is your favorite aspect of ministry? Why?
People. âGive me a job to teach the rebels your ways so that the lost may find their way homeâ (Psalm 51:13 MSG).
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I love to connect with people and hear their stories. I love the intersection of our stories and Jesus. Listening, sharing and teaching Jesus motivate me on a daily basis.
What aspect of the ministry gives you the greatest joy?
Serve alongside Hannah and our daughters. We seek to relocate as a family that reflects Jesus in everything we do – on the church campus, in our neighborhood, and throughout our city.
What aspect of the ministry would you like to change?
The change is happening in the way we view our Sunday mornings together. I would like to commit to playing a role in the push.
Tim Timmons puts it this way, âThe church is not a place to go, it’s who we are. We spend 10,080 minutes in a week, and 80 of them are spent together in a room, which is greatâ¦ but there are another 10,000 minutes in a week. â¦ The church becomes the church all the time – gathered then dispersed – all in the name, power and authority of Jesus.
It has changed my approach to ministry â the way we teach, program, and act as a body of the church.
How has your ministry or your perspective on ministry changed?
The need for local pastors to rally together for encouragement and prayer. I have seen and experienced the benefits when pastors from different churches constantly meet with no other purpose than to drink good coffee, have a good conversation, and pray for each other.
We must continue to do so, intentionally looking to the future as we seek health for the pastors, their families and the communities we serve.
I write more about this at thewholepastor.org.
About the Baptists
Why are you a Baptist?
I like to say that I didn’t choose to be a Baptist, but the Baptists chose me. It has been my experience, the Baptist tradition has been passionate about reflecting the love of Christ to others. I can stand behind this.
Texas Baptists today refer to the âGC2 Movementâ. Jesus calls us to love God and to love others. In our Baptist church, we articulate it this way: We seek to connect people to people while connecting people to Jesus.
What are the key issues facing Baptists at the denominational and / or congregational level?
As we move towards 2022, my prayer and hope is that Baptists come forward as leaders whose hallmarks are repentance, grace, forgiveness, peace, kindness, and hospitality. There are enough problems in this world. May we as the body of Christ seek to bring healing through the leadership of Christ.
What did you learn in the job that you would like to learn in seminary?
actually, I made learn something in the seminar that all seminars should emphasize.
One of the first courses I took at Southern was called âPersonal Spiritual Disciplinesâ with Don Whitney. Dr. Whitney stressed the importance for pastors to spend time in the word of God for their personal benefit before preparing for sermons and teachings. I learned so much during this term. I now continually participate in Bible reading, prayer, fasting, silence, and daily journaling.
How does the ministry impact your family?
My family is everything. The ministry humbled me to realize that my first priority is Hannah and our daughters. I echo Paul by saying, “I haven’t figured it out yetâ¦ but one thing I’m doing is moving forward.”
Hannah and our daughters inspire me to be a better man, disciple of Jesus, husband, father and pastor.
Name something about yourself that would surprise people who know you.
February 3, 2019: Early detection of testicular cancer saved my life! I am an advocate for everyone to know the health of their bodies and love to encourage people to live spiritually and physically healthy lives. Do not wait. Get verified.
Running frees my heart and mind. I am looking to become an avid ultramarathon runner.