Senior Pastor Mike Glenn Honored For 20 Years Of Ministry

Kaylan Christopher

A Time of Celebration

On Sunday, August 21, more than 1,100 people gathered for a special 5:00 p.m. service to honor our Senior Pastor for his 20 years of ministry and service to Brentwood Baptist.

At the hour-long service, Mike was joined by his family: his wife, Jeannie, and his sons, including their wives, Chris and Deb and Craig and Nan. His parents, mentors, and lifelong friends also filled the pews along with members of the church.

The worship team, choir, and orchestra led a time of worship. And a song titled “Word of God, Life to Me” was presented to Mike—a work that was specifically written and composed for the anniversary celebration by our own talented members: lyrics written by Karla Worley, Mike Harland, David Hamilton, and Ric Domenico; music created by Shelly Johnson and David Hamilton; and arranged and orchestrated by David Hamilton.

A Call to Healthy Leadership

Bill Wilson, Jr., the son of Bill Wilson, Sr. who was the first pastor of Brentwood Baptist for 20 years before Mike, was the first guest to take the stage. Celebrating 30 years in ministry himself, Bill Jr. first met Mike in seminary where they became fast friends.

For that reason, Mike was well acquainted with Bill Wilson, Sr. long before he was ever considered to be pastor of this church. After Bill recommended Mike and he accepted the call, Bill became an even closer friend and mentor.

“I was in [Mike and Jeannie’s] wedding, and we shared the births of our children,” Bill Jr. said. “Mike has ministered to my family through the death of my dad five yeas ago this fall. I’m so grateful to be here today and only sorry he cannot be here in person, but he’s certainly with us.”

Now the president of The Center for Congregational Health, Bill Jr. explained that one of the primary traits of a healthy church is healthy leadership.

“I want to say a special word of thanks to Mike, Jeannie, their family, and this congregation for modeling what that means,” Bill said. “Thank you for being a good leader. Thank you for humility and a sense of humor. Thank you for recognizing there was a Brentwood Baptist before you and there will be one after you.”

When Bill Wilson, Sr. retired as pastor of Brentwood Baptist to take a position with the Tennessee Baptist Convention, his son said he was fearful. He worried the church would take a nose dive and crumble. But his fears were soon put to rest.

The Letter of Blessing

Nearly 12 years ago, after attending a service where Mike preached, Bill Wilson, Sr. penned what Mike and Bill, Jr. called the “Letter of Blessing.” It says:

Dear Mike, 

As I sat in the services today, I was overwhelmed with the realization of God’s blessings in my life. I’ve been given the gift of helping start two new church families and seeing them both grow into strong, impactive churches. 

But when I began to sense that God was calling me away from Brentwood Baptist to the Tennessee Baptist Convention, the thought that bothered me most was: How can I stand it if a new pastor comes to this church, and the church loses its vision or is torn apart by internal dissension? I couldn’t stay in this community and see something like that take place after putting 22 years of my life into this church. 

I dreamed and prayed that God would bring someone here to lead this church to the greater glory for Himself and not let the church betray its mission. Today . . . God reminded me that He had done that, too, and I thank God for you. 

I sensed God saying that now was not the time to quit dreaming big dreams, so I’m back to dreaming big dreams again. I want to see God’s Spirit come over this church in great power, interrupting our plans with His greater plans, with such demonstration that all will know this is only something God can do. 

Along with you, Mike, I want to see God do the things only He can do in this place. Thank you for your friendship and encouragement. I think you are God’s man on this day, for this day, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.

Congratulations Are in Order

After Bill Wilson Jr. left the stage, Mike was honored with a video message, which included congratulations from:

• Hardy Clemmons, an early mentor

• Bob Fisher, president of Belmont University

• Scot McKnight, author of Jesus Creed

• Ricky Watson, chief of Brentwood Police

• Dr. Wade Rowatt, professor at Baptist Seminary of Kentucky

• John and Barbara Glenn, Mike’s parents

• Brad Paisley, country singer

Famous country singer, Brad Paisley, remembered when he first heard Mike on stage as the guest speaker at a Belmont University chapel service.

“I had prepared to cut out early . . . and halfway through the sermon, I realized this is where I need to be going to church because this guy is as inspiring a speaker as I’ve ever heard,” he said. “I can’t talk enough about how talented and wonderful I think he is. But, more than that, he’s been a friend to me.”

Brad remembers getting his first record deal and going to Mike to talk about his fears of what that success might do to him as a person. Mike took him aside and counseled him in that moment—and has been doing so since then.

“On a Sunday morning at Brentwood Baptist, I went under the water, and I’ve been a member ever since,” Brad said. “Of all the spiritual leaders in this world that I’ve had the good fortune to meet, I don’t think any of them have impacted me the way he has. We’re the luckiest church in all of Tennessee and all of America to have him.”

A Time to Remember

Several Brentwood Baptist members were also featured on the video, remembering the last 20 years of Mike’s ministry and leadership.

Jan Foust, member of the 1991 Pastor Search Team that called Mike, said, “All we were trying to do was prayerfully and obediently find God’s person that He’d chosen for the church. All we knew was what we were at that moment. We could not have imagined where God wanted to take the congregation. God clearly identified him. The thing that was the most important to the members was that somebody in the pulpit deliver God’s Word with clarity and in a profound way. The first time we heard Mike Glenn, we believed he was, indeed, that person.”

Gayle Haywood, Senior Adult Minister who has served for more than 20 years on staff, said, “I would describe this church, under the leadership of Bill Wilson and Mike Glenn, as an innovative church. I think Mike has helped us to realize that gift has been placed in each of us. As each member has discovered their giftedness and has begun to explore and exercise that gift, that has enabled us to minister in ways…that we would not have been able to accomplish otherwise.”

Toward to end of the service, the church was led in responsive reading by Jay Strother, pastor of The Church At Station Hill, and Aaron Bryant, Kairos pastor—two young leaders Mike has taken under his wing and mentored in recent years.

A Gift Bestowed

To wrap things up, Betty Wiseman, longtime member and Trustee, surprised Mike with three things: a book full of the notes of thanks, encouragement, and congratulations sent in by members in the weeks before the service; a memory book chronicling his last 20 years with history, stories, and pictures; and the Dr. Michael L. Glenn Pastoral Development fund, developed by the Trustees as a gift to honor Mike.

The purpose of the newly established fund, available to emerging pastoral ministry leaders being mentored and coached specifically by Mike, is to assist them in furthering their development by attending seminars, workshops, lectures, and online events, and to purchase personal library additions and marriage enrichment resources.

The first recipient, Jamie Thompson, pastor of Reborn Community Church in Chicago, was a guest at the service and on hand to receive it directly from our pastor.

“I didn’t know anything about this,” Jamie said to Mike. “I just came this weekend to honor you. I feel honored that you take time to help people like me—simple people trying to love Jesus, serve Him, and do His work. So thank you. Thank you for your work and for your willingness to work in my own life.”

At the conclusion, Mike and his family took the stage, where he said, “Of all the things that have happened, and of all the things I’ve been a part of, and of all the things I’ve been able to witness here, honestly, I don’t know why Jesus likes me so much and lets me do this great stuff. . . . Being your pastor and watching what God has done in and through you amazes me. If there was ever a pastor who loved his church, I love you. . . . Thank you for these 20 years.”


Photos by Joe Hendricks