Meet our New Pastor

Meet our New Pastor

Paul Burgess

Paul was born and raised in Smithfield, NC, where he attended First Baptist Church, a fellowship that gave him a strong foundation. It was during his years at First Baptist that Paul was encouraged to consider ministry as a vocation. While pursuing his undergraduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill, God affirmed that calling and upon graduation, Paul enrolled at Campbell University Divinity School, where he forged valuable relationships and deepened his understanding of what a minister should do and be. Paul left Campbell with a Masters in Divinity with Languages in 2011, and has since initiated his journey towards his doctoral degree (also at Campbell University).

With regard to ministerial experience, Paul first served as the Interim Pastor at Sharon Baptist Church in Smithfield. The experience he gained at Sharon prepared Paul for his first full-time ministerial role, that of Associate Pastor for Students and Outreach at First Baptist Church in Clayton, NC. After two years of growth with a tremendous youth group and loving church, Paul received a call to serve as Senior Pastor at Benson Baptist in December, 2013 and has been there ever since.

Paul states in his introduction letter to our Pastor Search Committee that he gets out of bed in the morning because he loves getting to love people for a living. He loves sharing the source of all love, Jesus Christ. He loves preaching and engaging his passions for creativity and art. He loves nurturing a community of believers eager to share God’s endless love. And he loves that he gets to be present with people through life’s most intimate moments. Paul says, “Ministry is what I love; it’s what I was wired to do.”

A summary of Paul’s life must also include what he characterizes as his greatest highlights—his wife, Eliza, and sons, Steven and Parrish. Paul and Eliza met as middle schoolers on a church mission trip in 1998; after remaining friends for several years, something deeper eventually blossomed, and the blessed result was a wedding in 2008. Then, in 2012 and 2015, their journey got even more exciting with the birth of their boys.  Steven and Parrish are, without question, the light of Paul and Eliza’s lives, and are living testimonies to the goodness of God that is beyond the reach of words.

Paul and Eliza with sons, Steven and Parrish

Transition Schedule

Paul will be completing his commitment to Benson Baptist Church over the next 8 weeks and then will be in preparation for his first day at Winter Park – Sept 18, 2017. During that interim period, Paul will also participate in a retreat with our entire staff to begin planning for the upcoming Fall at Winter Park. Similarly, the congregation at Winter Park will also be participating in a season of prayer during this interim period, which will be led by our associate pastors.

June 18: Paul officially voted in as Senior Pastor of WPBC

June 18 – Sept. 18: Interim period for Paul to complete his service at Benson Baptist Church, as well as a season of preparation through prayer for Paul, Winter Park’s staff, and the congregation at Winter Park. More specific details on how the congregation can participate through prayer will be provided by the Spiritual Emphasis Team.

Aug. TBD : Staff planning retreat with both Paul and existing staff

September 18: Paul officially begins ministerial service at Winter Park