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In accordance with the teaching of the New Testament, Grace River Chapel is an elder-led church.

Pastoral Leadership

The two preeminent apostles, Paul and Peter, directly exhort the local church elders to shepherd (or pastor) God’s flock. They assign this task to no other group or single person, but to the elders. Shepherd elders protect, feed, lead, and care for God’s flock (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-2).

According to the New Testament, elders are responsible for the primary leadership and oversight of a church. Elders lead the church (1 Tim 5:17; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 5:1–2), teach and preach the Word (1 Timothy 3:2; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:9), protect the church from false teachers (Acts 20:17, 28–31), exhort and admonish the saints in sound doctrine (1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 3:13–17; Titus 1:9), visit the sick and pray (James 5:14; Acts 6:4), and judge doctrinal issues (Acts 15:6). In biblical terminology, elders shepherd, oversee, lead, and care for the local church.

Shared Leadership

Jesus Christ gave the church plurality of leadership. He appointed twelve men to lead and teach his church, not one man. The New Testament Scriptures also reveal plural leadership in all the first churches (Acts 11:30; 14:23; Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Tim. 5:17-18; Titus 1:5; James 5:14-15; 1 Peter 5:1-5).

Although the elders are to act jointly as a council and share equally the authority and responsibility for the leadership of the church, all elders are not equal in their giftedness, biblical knowledge, leadership ability, experience, and dedication. So both equality and diversity exists within the eldership: “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,’ and ‘The laborer is worthy of his wages’” (1 Tim. 5:17, 18). The advantage of equality and diversity within the eldership is the functional, gift-based diversity within the eldership team without creating a superior office over the eldership.

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Stephen Morgan lead pastor, elder

Pastor Stephen grew up in a Christian home in Lumberton where he graduated from high school in 2006. In 2007, Stephen felt a call to ministry and has since been engaged in preaching God’s Word to the local church. Compelled by his love for Jesus, Stephen seeks to use his passion for teaching God’s Word to help the body of Christ grow and mature in their relationship with Jesus. His great desire and goal for every person is that they would fall deeply in love with Jesus Christ and that this love would drive them to share the Gospel with a world who desperately needs a Savior.

Stephen has been married to the love of his life, Kimberly, since 2012, and they have been blessed with four beautiful children: Lily, Oliver, Henry, and Violet. Stephen is a graduate of Lamar University, where he completed a BBA degree in General Business in 2010.


Hunter Bittle Lay Elder

Hunter grew up in southeast Texas and attended Lamar University where he obtained a BS in Biology. On October 31, 2008, at the age of 21, Hunter was saved and shortly after baptized with the Holy Spirit. He has a desire to be a help to others and to dispense the great Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Hunter married his wonderful wife, Kristen, in 2011 and they adopted three beautiful girls through foster care.


Clint Wilson Lay Elder

Clint grew up in Southeast Texas in a wonderful, Christian home. He accepted Christ at a young age and grew up as part of a wonderful church, surrounded by other Christians. After being backslidden for most of his teenage years, Clint rededicated his life to Christ at the age of 18 years old. Because of God’s grace, he has had the privilege to serve the local church in several different capacities including directing the Men’s Fellowship, assisting in TV Ministry, and working with the Royal Rangers outpost.

In 2006, Clint married his lovely wife Leslie, who serves in the Children’s Ministry. He has been blessed with a wonderful career at DuGood Federal Credit Union, where he currently serves as Chief Executive Officer. Clint holds a BS degree and an MBA degree, both from Lamar University.