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Called to lead – Silverton First Baptist welcomes new lead pastor

By Bruce Kingwell

Silverton First Baptist church is welcoming its new lead pastor, JD Winters. 

The congregation has gathered at its current location on Westfield Street, between Safeway and Robert Frost Elementary School, for more than 70 years. While in that time much has changed, a congregation of seven decades learns to recognize joyful change when it comes. Such was the case when church leadership, including current pastor Tom Smith, recommended Winters for the lead pastor role.

Jack Holt, long time member and church leader, said, “Pastor Tom Smith has been our lead pastor for over 15 years and has been faithful to the teachings of God’s Word and caring for the people in our church. But we are so thankful that God brought us a man such as JD who was willing to accept the position of lead pastor.”

It was Smith who saw potential for Winters to join the pastoral team at Silverton First Baptist several years ago when searching for an associate pastor candidate. He noted that “JD Winters brings positivity, youthful enthusiasm and ministry experience to the pastoral role.” 

As Winters served the community, he demonstrated a gift that made him a promising candidate as Smith considered retirement. The congregation confirmed this with a vote of affirmation on Jan. 21. 

“I am excited to have JD transition from our associate pastor to the lead pastor position. His commitment to teaching the Bible along with his demonstrated excitement and energy in caring for the congregation at SFB will be valuable in leading us toward new heights,” said Holt.

Winters came to Silverton via Faith Bible Church in Lincoln City, where he served a children’s and family pastor and filled the lead pastor role during a pastoral search. He recently completed his master’s degree in Applied Biblical Leadership from Western Seminary in Portland. He adds this to a Bachelors of Communication Studies from Eastern Oregon University. 

“JD is a man that speaks clearly and in a transparent and relatable way, which has made him so easy to talk and relate to,” church member and deacon Roger Freeman said, adding Winters brings another valuable asset: his family. “Pastor JD, his wife, and his family, have been such great additions to our church body since they joined us a couple of years ago. They are also a wonderful addition to our community and schools.” 

JD and his wife, Crystal, have been married for 21 years. They have five children between the ages of 20 and 11: Austin, Jackson, Charles, Samuel and Molly.

As an associate pastor, Winters took on administrative tasks and teaching duties, also participating in youth ministries such as Vacation Bible School and High Power Sports Camp. As he transitions to lead pastor  he hopes to continue his involvement in the development of young people. 

“My family and I have fallen in love with the Silverton community. We look forward to investing in our church family, growing in our faith and serving our neighbors.”

Winters’ installation will be made official at the worship service on April 7, 10:30 a.m. followed by an open house reception at the church from 2 to 4 p.m.

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