Interim Pastor

Get to Know Dr. Jim Lacy


Jim Lacy has served as a pastor for 43 years as well as a professor of ministry at Cornerstone University for 20 of those years. He has served as an interim pastor in 14 churches and currently "ministers to ministers." It has been his privilege to preach in 10 countries.

His doctor of ministry degree is from Trinity International University in Chicago. He and his wife, Nancy, live in Sparta, MI and have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. Jim likes sports, good jokes, and is trying to deal with his Mountain Dew addiction.


Interim Pastor Plan – Pastor Scott Wilson

As you may know, I have been informed by the Illinois Air National Guard that I will be deployed as a Chaplain in February 2019.  My family and I are extremely grateful for the love and support our Bethel family has shown towards us as we face this upcoming separation.  This has also caused our staff and elders to prayerfully consider how to care for the needs of Bethel Baptist Church while I’maway. It’s an unusual situation for a Senior Pastor to be out of his role for an extended time like this, but we are certainly not the first church to problem solve through such an event.  As we have spoken with Converge leadership, churches, and other chaplains who have experienced deployments the encouragement we’ve received has been to hire an Interim Pastor who will focus on the necessary aspects of leadership in the church and provide stability for the staff and church.   

Throughout these discussions one man rose to the top.  Dr. Jim Lacy has served as an Interim Pastor for the past 20 years while teaching seminary and Bible students at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids,MI.  He has extensive experience serving churches in similar situations.  His references, and my colleagues who have worked with him, whole heartedly endorse him and most told me that Jim has a reputation for leaving churches in a healthier position than when he first arrived.  Our Bethel Elders unanimously recommend Pastor Lacy for congregational approval as ourInterim Pastor.   

Jim Lacy was with us on September 9th to preach in our worship services and he will be with us again on Sunday October 14th.  On that Sunday he will answer questions from the congregation and share his heart for serving Jesus.   After reading the below article from Jim describing himself, please consider sending us a question for him to answer on Oct 14th through .  Then on Sunday Oct 21st at 6:00 PM the congregation will have the opportunity to vote on Dr. Lacy serving in this capacity.  Our proposal is that he serve 2/3 time, not full-time.  This means he would be with us about 2/3 of the month and the rest of the time, responsibilities and pulpit supply would be covered by our current Bethel staff, volunteers and elders.  Fortunately, we have an amazing team of people who are willing and eager to do anything they can for the glory of God.  My time away will be hard for my family.  But I know that strong families, and strong churches survive deployments like this.  I’m confident the Lord will continue to guide and lead us just as He always has.

Dr. Jim Lacy Testimony - Jim Lacy   





In high school friends shared the Gospel with me and I was born again. In college I experienced a growing desire to serve the Lord in ministry.  It was my desire to be a missionary, but it became clear to me that my calling was to be a pastor.  In 1975-76 I served as an interim pastor in a Community Church in McKenna, Washington, while I was a student at Northwest Baptist Seminary (where Pastor Scott Wilson would later attend).  After graduation Nancy and I moved to West Michigan to study at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary and I became the pastor of Faith Baptist of Greenville.  The next 13 years would be blessed times of church growth, helping mentor area pastors, and the birth of our three children:  Andrew, Elizabeth, and Sharon.

In 1989 we moved to Racine, Wisconsin, where I served as senior pastor of Fellowship Baptist.  While there I was able to finish a Doctor of Ministry program at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in nearby Deerfield, IL.  In 1994 I accepted the call to Sparta (Michigan) Baptist Church and began serving as part-time faculty at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary (part of Cornerstone University).

 While continuing to teach for Cornerstone University, I formed “Intentional Interim Church Ministries” in 1998 with the hope of assisting churches between senior pastors.  The goal of this ministry is to “help churches in transition prepare for future success.”   In this ministry I help mentor and place pastors in churches. Also it has been my privilege to serve 14 churches as the interim senior pastor with the average of my service time being 9 months.  These churches, all in Michigan and Illinois, have been different from one another, but several have been similar to Bethel Baptist.

The purpose of an interim pastor is to provide stability and encouragement to the church and staff while they do not have a senior pastor.  If it is the will of God, I would delight in serving Bethel during the 7 months of Pastor Scott’s deployment as a military chaplain. 

While I may not be serving Bethel full time, my responsibilities would include preaching most Sundays, regularly meeting with staff and church leaders and meeting with any church attenders who wish to meet.

Being an interim pastor has been a fruitful and fulfilling part of Nancy’s and my life.  Now that our children are grown and Nancy has retired from teaching, we have enjoyed the travel as well as doing volunteer ministry work. 

My life verse is Jeremiah 3:15-
   “Then I will give you shepherds (pastors) after My own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.”



Interview with Jim Lacey from Bethel Baptist Church on Vimeo.

Things That Matter to Me from Bethel Baptist Church on Vimeo.