What is your full name?
Jerry Douglas Byrum
What is your role at the Summit Church?
Elder Team Leader
Where were you born? When?
Little Rock, Arkansas: December 14, 1958
Where did you begin Kindergarten?
Where did you go to college?
Ouachita Baptist University, undergraduate
Univeristy of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Doctor of Medicine
Tell us about your family. Who, how long, how many, how old?
Very happily married to Sherri since August 15, 1980.
4 Children: Julie 28 married to Joel Stone, Kathryn 22 married to Chad Bensonm, expecting their first child, Daniel 21, Luke 17.
2 dogs Daisey and Remmie, Golden retrievers
What is your current occupation?
I have two occupations. I am a pediatrician at All For Kids Pediatric Clinic. I am also a worship pastor. I split my time between these two callings.
When you are in your free time, what are you likely to be doing?
Doing what my kids want me to do: usually water skiing, snow skiing, fishing, golfing, hunting or just hangin out with them. Or for myself, computers, music, and star and sunset watching.
If you were caught in a fire in your home and could only pick up two things, one in each hand what would they be?
After I made sure my family was out, I would grab my MacBook Pro.
How long have you attended the Summit Church?
Since the first day the church met: November 1, 1998
Why did you join the church?
Because God told me to and because I trusted my dear brother and mentor in the faith, Bill Elliff.
Why are you an elder at the church?
God told me to do it. At the same time, I aspired to this job.
What do elders do in our church?
Lead, oversee, teach, pray, preach, oversee finances/personnel, shepherd, pastor, counsel, exhort
What do you do as an elder?
Lead the elder team and generally overseeing the church as an elder team.
Who taught you about spiritual matters? Who discipled you? Where did you study? Who are your spiritual influences?
My father and grand-father, both by their lives and their verbal teaching have done more to disciple me than anyone. Both of these men are life-long pastors. I have also been tremdously influenced by the teaching ministries of RC Sproll, Henry Blackaby and Rick Warren.
How did you come to Christ? Give us a brief testimony.
At the age of seven, I was sorry for my sin and prayed that God would forgive me. At 14, I made God the Lord (the boss) of my life. At 22, I consecrated my life to him and to ministry. At 31, I came to really experience God as I opened clean channels in my life for Him to work through.
What authors have influenced you? What books have meant a lot to you?
Henry Blackaby’s book Experiencing God, revolutionized my thinking about God and His role in my life. Growing up as a pastor’s child, one would think that I would understand how to experience God in my life. Unfortunately certain life lessons must be individually learned. I entered medical school because I thought that “God has given me a brain and He wants me to use it”. Put another way, I believed that God had created the universe, spun it like a top and had withdrawn His hand. I believed that we were in charge of everything that happens on this earth and that God was out of the equation. He had given us “fire insurance” to protect us from hell for those who asked and believed in Him, but that He himself was checked out of the world, not present. I soon found out how wrong that theology was. Blackaby wrote that:
God is always at work around you.
God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal.
God invites you to become involved with Him in His work.
God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes and His ways.
God's invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.
You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.
As a direct result of Henry Blackaby’s teaching, I came to experience God in our ministry to the city of Novgorod, Russia. More later.
Rick Warren explained the purpose for me individually and the purpose for God’s church in The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church. These were foundational works for me. In addition, I have studied the core classes that Rick Warren has written for Saddleback Community Church, Class 101, 201, 301, 401 (membership, maturity, ministry, mission). I attended a purpose driven conference at Saddleback in 1997 when this information revolutionized by thinking about the church.
Having invested in most messages that Ligoner ministries has made available, RC Sproll has taught me about who God is, the person of Jesus Christ and what his death on the cross did for the remission of our sins, why suffering is in the world, creation, the history of the church and church fathers, the Holy Scriptures, the role of the Holy Spirit, the trauma of holiness, the meaning and mission of the church, what salvation by faith alone is all about, worship, election, and other issues covered in reformed theology.
Tell us something about how you connect with God.
Read Psalms chapter 19. Go ahead read it now. In it you will hear about what God has revealed in his creation, particularly what can be understood by looking into the heavens, at the expanse of the sky, the stars, the moon, and the sun. We hear about the glory of the movement of the sun. Sunrises and sunsets hold such wonder. Then toward the end of the chapter we learn some of what reading the scriptures does for us. We are told that the scripture restores our soul, makes us wise, rejoices our heart, enlightens our eyes, endures, is righteous, is desirable, is sweet, warns us, rewards us, acquits us, keeps us from hidden faults and makes us blameless. The chapter then ends with these words: “may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”
I have learned the power of connecting these three ideas simultaneously. Sometimes I spend hours at a time or even a whole day at a place where I can see the sky. I watch the sunset. I may watch the moon rise. I gaze at the stars and just wonder at the magnificent scale of the universe. It blows my mind. Did you know that if you gaze at the sky long enough, we can actually become aware of the rotation of the earth. It is a beautiful feeling, although un-nerving as you want to grab hold of something solid, because the earth is all of a sudden unstable as you realize it is indeed moving.
Then at the same time, I read or listen to scripture, usually taking in a complete book. Many books in the bible were designed to be read at one sitting. I have never read the scriptures that God has not ministered to me. Then, I mediate on what I have seen, read, heard and felt. Then there is this beautiful peace, as God communes with me and tells me that all is well.
What Bible verse(s) has had particular meaning to you and why.
Psalms 19:14 quoted above.
What has been the most meaningful time with God that you have had and why was it meaningful?
The preparation for our first mission trip to the city of Novgorod, Russia in April, 1993 was a time that I first began talking and walking with God on a daily basis. I learned to listen to God and obey Him in my actions (walking in the Spirit) during that trip. For the first time in my life I actually saw miracles of God that were unexplainable any other way, and I was used by God in a redemptive way to reach people in the city of Norgorod, Russia.
In a sentence, what have you learned about God this past year?
That He is the keeper of my Soul, for eternity.