I am most passionate about influencing those who are influencers. Everyday I seek to find a way to influence those who influence the lives of others. I try to share the things that I learn and experience in my daily walk of life with others who are called to lead people. Because I am a bivocational pastor I understand where other bivocational pastors live. This excites me the most. I am not talking about something I have learned. I am sharing something I am experiencing.
Name: Ira Antoine
Children: Two God-daughters (28 & 20) who are children of our hearts
Ministry: Bivocational Pastors Ministry
Number of years: 13 months (Eight and half years with the Texas Baptists; prior to serving in my current position, I served with the Office of African American Ministries from June, 2006 to December, 2013)
Where did you grow up?
New Iberia, LA (The home of Tabasco® Hot Sauce)
How old were you when you became a Christian and what is the strongest memory about that time?
I was 19 years old. I vividly remember hearing God's voice calling me to be His child and allowing Him to be my Father. I had been part of a college Gospel choir for a year singing His truths, but had not committed myself to the Truth. On January 1st of every year, I celebrate my "Re-birth" day.
Where did you do your undergrad?
University of Southwestern Louisiana, which has been renamed University of Louisiana-Lafayette
If you did any post-graduate work, where did you attend and what degree did you earn?
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary MDiv (1998), DMin (2008)
Who is your favorite author? What book of theirs really impacted you?
Henri J.M. Nouwen, "The Wounded Healer"
Please explain more about your position and how you serve bivocational pastors?
The Bivocational Pastors Ministry serves as a resource to Texas Baptist churches and Associations in developing a model for Bivocational Pastor Ministry, which result in a significant increase in available truly-called, well-equipped Bivocational Pastors. Our aim is to become the most reliable resource/asset for Bivocational Pastors who serve Texas Baptists churches.
I serve as an advocate for Bivocational pastors, facilitator of training for and personal connector with Bivocational pastors. In essence, I seek to assist those who serve as a bivocational pastor to successful in their assignment and encourage them during the journey.
What are you most passionate about and how does this play into your everyday life? What excites you most about working with bivocational pastors?
I am most passionate about influencing those who are influencers. Everyday I seek to find a way to influence those who influence the lives of others. I try to share the things that I learn and experience in my daily walk of life with others who are called to lead people.
Because I am also a bivocational pastor I understand where other bivocational pastors live. This excites me the most. I am not talking about something I have learned. I am sharing something I am experiencing.
As a bivocational pastor yourself, what words of encouragement do you have for bivocational pastors around the state?
I would encourage bivocational pastors to maintain balance between the various responsibilities they are assigned. Please make sure that you guard your personal time with God and your family.
What events do you feel bivocational pastors should put on their 2015 calendars?
Because time is a prime commodity for Bivocational Pastors I would encourage these events to consider placing on their calendars.
- One of two conferences, which focuses on those who serve as bivocational pastors. The National Bivocational and Small Church Celebration is held on June 26-27. The Annual Statewide Bivocational/Smaller Church Conference is held on July 10-11.
- The second is our Annual Meeting, which will be held November 8-11 in Frisco, TX.
What is your favorite topic to teach on? Why is it so meaningful to you?
Preaching. It is meaningful to me because it is means in which God uses to share His Good News of His saving grace. Preaching of the Gospel confounds the wise and liberates the captives.
What historical figures do you look up to? Why?
Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Booker T. Washington. These individuals are the embodiment of sacrificial living for the cause of the common good of humanity. They were focused on the liberation of the mind, body and soul of human being.
If you could be any one of the 12 disciples, who would it be?
What story does your family always tell about you?
My wife often tells my zeal for spiritual knowledge and growth. When we met, she was a maturing believer and I was an infant in Christ. I spent the summer studying the Book of Romans so I could be knowledgeable of God's word like she was. My girls tell about my unconditional love for them. They share how I sit them down and remind them that there is nothing they can do to earn more of my love and there is nothing they can do to lose any of my love.