Episode 10: Pastor Ted Traylor on Church Ministry during COVID-19 (podcast)

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In this week’s episode of The Heart of Worship Podcast Dwayne Moore, founder of NLW International, interviews Dr. Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola FL, about his church during the coronavirus crisis and quarantine. Ted shares some encouraging insights and practical ideas on how he is leading his staff and team, keeping their congregation connected, and ministering to their community during this difficult time.


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TRANSCRIPT of Episode 010: Pastor Ted Traylor on Church Ministry during COVID-19 (podcast)

Dwayne: Hey everybody welcome to our podcast. I’m very excited to have special guest with us today. Dr. Ted Traylor… Thank you for giving us some time today…Well let me say upfront. The reason that I thought about you is you. Pass this this amazing church in Pensacola Florida, Olive Baptist Church. And you know just over the years. I’ve always been amazed at how you manage to reach out the community. I remember sores. You told a strongly vandalistic strongly shepherd minded and then I thought about you okay. ’cause I I see some things you’re doing now. I thought I’d love to get an interview with him. Share with our pastors. That’s why I wanted to ask you to be on this but give us some insights. I just finished a Webinar. And we had people listening in, and I just told them, I said I’m Gonna be honest, we’re kind of making some of this up as best we can. But before we get into that. Tell us Tell us about you. Let’s your about your family. Not everybody knows you that’s listening.

Ted: Liz and I met at Samford University way back in 1975 and got married in ’76. I grew up in northeast Alabama in a little town. I tell people now the only people who come to interview me anymore are young preachers…I always share the one bedrock truth. If you forget where you’re wrong you’ll forget where you’re going. We go back to those roots to that Little Country Church where the Lord saved me called me. I tell people I got my burning before I got my learning. So that’s home for us and then we went to Southwestern Seminary. We have two children; they both live here in Pensacola now, two granddaughters and come October. I’ll be here at Olive Church for thirty years. I’ll mark thirty years this coming October. I moved to town on Halloween. And my first Sunday was the first Sunday of November. I jokingly tell people some people think the devil came and stayed so when I came Halloween…you know people ask about longevity and there are some keys to that. A lot of people said that’s a blessing, I’d like to do that. There’s great blessing but there’s some downside to staying long too, because you have to start the church over. I tell people I’ve pastor three churches while I’ve been here because the church is alive. And it’s changing. The pastor has to change too. God has to do the working. You match the way you deal with people. When I got here I was the next to youngest guy on the staff; now I’m next to the oldest. That makes a difference, and so you just have to learn you got to be flexible and some changes coming your life. so you got to change or you’re dead.

Dwayne: Oh that’s really a word. We all need to hear because we are definitely in a time of changing goodness and so I wanted to get a pastor’s perspective. Some worship leaders have give us some great insights. But I just wanted to ask you about this and so you know give us some encouraging words and also some sobering words on I know you will but can we hereby your Easter. Let’s start with that.

Ted: Easter was was good day course completely different like it was for somebody else Weird is you know we zoom a lot to staff and then we go an hour ago. I was with my two guys who kind of oversee things For me on a ministry in a monetary side. They do those things for me and I was meeting here in my office with them and and it was in a meeting like that. We were discounted knocking. Thanks Bye Eastern. Look like what do we do that at at at and so somebody who you know some Razz? What could we do and I said I still a matter of scope owner Rufin preach in. I’m heard about this kind of funding on Sunday. Called drags and as to. What we did is our media. People took all of the stuff they needed a whole. The top and it is a big flat roof with a huge cross Which is really a a marker in Pensacola and I laid off that because it’s eliminated all during the night and people see it. It’s at the busiest intersection in the county. And and so people know that crawls and I stood by that cross and brought a brief Easter message and we broadcast live at six thirty at sunrise. You was kind of a nasty morning but no rain. That was the day that the storms went up through a Alabama. Your young became so tough that night and we weren’t sure we’d be able to do it But we went up there and I did fifteen twenty minutes and I prayed over our region. We could see the college from the roof. We can see the hospital from the roof for local school and it turned down that or go to me pray for business personnel and so we had those four calls after my eastern brief devotion. Ibm We had people in. The parking lot became listen on radio as well as on their devices and I had them blowing their horns and all of that he turned into a a fun. Morning did worship already Liberal Club Okay. But it was just good it. It was something a little different I’ve had so many of our people right being called thank you. We needed that. Just you know we need. Life is what we So it was a good day and your local media picked up on it. I saw what they did Roofs and fiscal new journal photographer. Who’s there our local newspaper and I said. Hello. Who are you in? I didn’t know this particular. But he put it on his twitter account and then they ran this on the front of the local sectional Monday. So a lot of you know. Pr One of my one of my good friends. Who’s here in town? He’s an attorney Jewish Fella too. Good friend of mine Each L. Smell the company’s pastor never forget all. Pr Is Good Pr. They’re not talking about you. They forgot about apple.

Dwayne: Yes right remember to Sodhi Street was yeah well. That’s that I knew I knew you. I’ve known you for so long. I knew that you’d have some creative away approaching it. I don’t know if I’ve heard anybody else doing rooftop preaching so you gotta you win them. Kreisel Mallon so. Let me ask you this because John. Tyner your worship pastor and he’s become a different of ours and our ministry and I wanNA thank you publicly allowing him to go to Ethiopia with us by the Wester and but Hanauer talking and and and you know I had him on a podcast recently. And if he was talking about how they’re saying you guys are staying connected with you mentioned soon with those. What what else you doing anything to begin to tell them some things. I’d love to hear from you. What are some things you? You’re doing not only a rooftop preaching but on a weekly basis to try to with your conversation. That’s what a lot of pastors are struggling with right. Now it really is well.

Ted: We did like a lot of people. We took the whole membership divided. It up gave every staff member to sheets of people and say take the next ten bays and call every member And we’ve had just many called Max from that where we’ve left messages. Peop- comedies everything. Okay or am I in trouble or getting phone calls. Yeah yeah so we just reaching out a little shocking to them but they were grateful just to hear from the home base and so our staff been doing that we. I think we’ve just about completed calling everyone in the church and then of course I e mail just set my weekly email to my deacons. This week that we started doing like should we do with the all staff We took our support staff. Everybody put him on a zoom call. One we’re going to do this every other Wednesday is longest like this and it’s just but but we see jobs face and so I get area and We’re our church is still. I have a skeleton crew that I keep back to church. Somebody’s the phone three or four people and of course iron officers and they will see each other and so they’re distanced of but they’re they’re they need each other We we’d had no death into this week. We’ve had a couple of really tragic Forty six year old gentleman died in a drowning accident and Bill there’s things like as you just gotTa know able to touch so We’re trying to continue to have the touch but yet stayed distance all those you know. It’s just call call call give a tax email arken action groups are still staying connected.

Dwayne: Okay they do some things online with each other and Have you know it is communicate?

Ted: Communicate Communicate. I told our guys when the last time we were all together. I said you. You’ve got have communication. You GotTa do ministry and Got Flexibility. Those three things are just indication. Ministry flexibility and flexibility. Yeah because nothing’s going to be the same and you’ll be called on to thanks. You’ve never done before so Just to be flexible. Do whatever God calls on you to do faster so We’ll be good. Yeah wow flexibility we. We did a Webinar to mention that. But I I had people send me a message before it began and they said we really wanted to be a part of it. But we’re we gotta be at the Church recording our service for the Sunday.

Dwayne: Well they you know they’d never done and John Your Worship Pastor told me that you look to be there whatever it was happening on showed we’re recording are Serbs. Yeah so that’s flexibility. I mean that’s that’s that’s you know some things we’ve never done before at least not worship stab now a so you said you’re zoos. I think he mentioned a prayer time in the mornings did you are you doing some. It may be that was season. Maybe we’ll talk I.

Ted: This was before Toronto. Oh I plan to do what was called. Twenty days of prayer and we were twenty days before Easter. Twenty days of prayer leading up to Easter. Twenty Twenty S. Well we build it and we were going to come to the Church House. Pray at six o’clock every morning and Have you know just pray with each other? Walk the building that kind of thing. Anybody come well when this hit course we could do it so right here in my office where I am. Now they they turned this into a studio brought three cameras in wild older stuff that they needed. My media guys met me here everyday for twenty days at five thirty in the morning and I did a ten minute. Devotion called Prayer Call Twenty days of prayer and then told our people pray about these things and so we did that and Dwayne. We would have never thought to have done. It got engineered force. It’s the best thing that we did the whole time. Our guys would they captured and of course in at from six to six fifteen then by six thirty they had it loaded up in the box and anybody could come in at seven and watch it or eight or not all year today and then the next day. Same thing So we did that for twenty days and it was it. It’s the best connection That that we had in of course we you know we work. Smart Enough Planet. But we had transitioned to make it live and we did it that way and it became fun for us. You know but it was good and yeah. That’s the flexibility of our team and being unified and because well wasn’t that already already part of your culture there.

Dwayne: something you guys have probably been aware of the need for that kind of flexibility. Not just now but you you kind of prepared for this without realizing it when you said that.

Ted: Yeah well. Yeah if you’re if you’RE GONNA grow at Church you’ve gotta have team that everybody’s in and flexible Do what are called on to do And if they don’t do what you’re called on to do they’re called Oneida. Go do it somewhere in. You know. You hate to lose people. But she’s got to be on the team and So that that’s a good thing you know. Force we’ve got a great group right now that Come into yeah. That’s what John Stairs. I mean He. He knew the staff there. He’s just talks really highly of the of the. Teen Camaraderie and and Team effort. You know I can tell that in. That’s why I say that just happened overnight. But but house like this can bring us together now.

Dwayne: What about What what do you hope to church you might be? We’LL START WITH OLIVE. But but you know you have a broader scope of things you. You’re out there among a lot of churches. You’re a leader in southern convention so you may be hearing things in a broader scope. Will churches be changed in a positive way from this experience? Because I don’t believe God did it, but we will live in a fallen world, and he allowed this. How do we get some stretching from this time that actually ends up being a positive thing for us? What do you think?

Ted: Pruning is good for the Body. And there’s going to be some pruning that comes here. There’ll be some things you were doing at church that you’ll do no longer. They were good but maybe not their best. So they’ll be pruned away. It’ll be some other things that come. There will to be new growth. That will be some good things to come in the days ahead. So I’m trusting God that the pruning, while painful and sometimes ugly, will be fruitful. Secondly, I believe under heaven, we’ve been praying for it, we’ve been praying for spiritual, holy ghost revival in the church, and there are more people praying. Pastors ask me, “Where do you go from here? What about the post-Easter Coronavirus time?” Well I’m preaching on the fullness of Holy Ghost this Sunday. That’s what I’m preaching on, and getting in just a spiritual awakening out of Romans 8, and I’m believing God for just a move. I’m a part of Jesus Movement… and I’ve prayed now for almost forty-five to fifty years that God would do it again. I’m telling you I can see glimpses that God may be about to do it again. The young generation are coming, crying out, doing things in a new way. And I can’t tell you how, just from my vantage point, my senior adults have been so flexible. They say, “Pastor, whatever we need to do, let’s just do it.” They keep writing checks and helping people and doing whatever they need to do. I’m praying that we see spiritual awakening come to the Body. I know that’s sovereign. God does that. But he also does individually…If we get hungry? He’ll fill us up so I’m praying that God prunes us and the pain will lead us to real spiritual, holy ghost revival in the local church.

Dwayne: Well I’M GONNA ask you in a few moments to pray that very pray over US I think we. I think we need to hear you. Pray that for us because we encourage them and you know I. I haven’t talked to several pay a lot of pastors but the ones I’ve talked to in some things I’ve read a sounds like password leaders and other staff people over maybe especially pastures a really some are going to very very difficult if not Depressing time but you know we. We hear you and go. Wow now see that encourages. You haven’t lost that vision that fire in fact you see what God can do through it and and so I’m GonNa ask you if you moms to pray over us. You know maybe struggling with that. I don’t know if this statistic tried so please don’t quote me I don’t believe about half of what your face but what I see but but I I guess I’m hopeful that this is true that they’re upwards of seventy thousand was a number thrown out there that that made a decision of some sort for Christ over the Easter Holidays Online.

Ted: And you know what? God’s big he I could see that happening and yes sir. Oh no doubt in many you know. There are a lot of people that I guess. They don’t feel comfortable coming in our churches. That’s probably our fault more. It is there’s But they tune in on land they’d look and I still believe that You know we need to meet together. Abra stands for. Do you know Princess Pacific. Yeah a Church of the Living God together but this is a new way of reaching out to another generation that live will these instruments like this and we’ve got to have a way of connecting with but yeah. I was highly encouraged what I saw many of my friends. We had a lot of people. Save Sunday you know.

Dwayne: Hey if you pray sprayer grateful to God for it so Well let me drill into that for the small. Don’t I want to keep you much longer? But but but you mentioned just something right then that tweet my interest and maybe someone else’s listening had an invitation. I mean in in this setting online. You clearly did it. Could you unpack that just a little bit more for us?

Ted: Well we do it. A couple of ways we we keep routine I’ll bet Studying in Chatting while I’m reaching And people are talking online and you know. They’re having a conversation but Sunday three times. I gave free appeals. During my Miss I learned this from Greg Greg. Laurie Island West Coast when I watched him the week. Before when president trump had said he was going to watch great opportunity in and watch Greg and after he preached his first point of the sermon. He said I WANNA stop right here and give you an opportunity to receive crises that I know some of you just tuned into his for awhile. Then you’re quickly going to miss this and I thought man there’s wisdom right there so I did. I have free port Sunday after each point. I said You know if you’d like to trust Chrysler help you to do that. The first time I prayed then I drew them in the third time we pray and then I put a number We have a number that you take St- And and then you text the word to us. We use the word savior. Y’All think you have to somehow get these purchaser of my media. Group does all that But we got a number and a word that we and if you text that to us if our something back to you and it connects us in in our team follows up. So that’s the way we give the invitation and then I tell them you can write me. Email me a you can call our office During the week and someone glad to get back to you. We’ve not done the phone number because we just didn’t have enough people we were fearful of five or six people called in and he couldn’t answer the phone it wouldn’t be the so called during the week or let us know rat a letter. I received things in the mail from people so Just make the appeal you know. I’m not Scott Dawson but but I do the best way I

Dwayne: I’d say that yeah. I mean if you had that decisions on Sunday won’t Easter that’s Awesome. And he did it electrically in so wow so the texting. Yeah think anyone could probably go investigate that for themselves. Y’All we we use a texting service as well but yeah those technologies out there and it’s probably not harder harder to get. I want to ask you. Is there any resources of yours that I I know you’ve written some books on? How can we find some things of yours ted? We can want people to and we’ll put it on a website with your permission.

Ted: Sure well everything we do is an olive Dot Org okay. Two words together. I’ll even back your solid balanced dot. Org and you grow faster matter of fact you asked me about that. I had I’ve got a book that I did a few years ago. Called the Eight Callings of God. It is probably the best thing I’ve ever done out of book of First Peter and I’ve been going back to of course all the messages were there that preach a few other books that are written. But that’s probably the one gets more calling.

Dwayne: Okay well you got my attention. I’m curious on what those on. I’ll get me a copy on the Olive Baptist Dot Org. Okay we’ll put that on a website linked to that And probably also put the transcripted vis Just so people. Some people read watch or listen What just encouraging word that you can leave us with. And then a prayer today to to our pastor friends and anyone out there listening well first Peter Chapter one burst.

Ted: The Bible tells us that we are kept about the power of God through faith We’re kept by God protect. Is that Greek word? There were kept protected by the power of God through face. So when you believe in the protecting power of God Your kept in in the hands of the Lord and so through this storm Through and other storms. That are GONNA come out. We just have to trust it. That Were kept by the power of God through faith and he can handle this better nine. Haley I again take and He he keeps us in the palm of his hand. Ever preacher every week ever minister music every staffer. All we’re there. If we’ll by faith respond and surrender to it. We’ll be kicked by the power. Got POWERFUL BUT YEAH. We need to be reminded of that. Wow thank you. It’s his church and he or so. He’ll yup well.

Dwayne: That’s great rather will once you you know? We could talk a long time. But I know you’re a pastor so you got a lot going on.

Ted: Dwayne thanks. Let me spend a few moments with you and again. Thank you for the trip to Ethiopia. It was really life-changing for Jon and for our church. It stretched us because of the time when he was there and getting him back and the quarantine and all the mess that we had to go through because of the virus. He’s always been a great man, but he’s a greater man by having been on that trip and meeting some of the people he met in Ethiopia. It was really God-shaping for my good friend, Jon Tyner.

Dwayne: I’m glad you said that. Because we we were. I was trying to get them back on a plane. But I’m so glad you know I was concerned about his family being worried about him but he even felt a calling to be there man what sap was to us. So thank you We did it for those. We did an intensive school for about one hundred worship leaders and pastors on several pastors. There I think we had sixteen or seventeen pastors and they came from all corners of Ethiopia which is a large country also came from other countries and But Jon was a part of that and so grateful. So yeah man we’ll We’ll we’ll probably try to bar him again obey me.

Ted: I’ll tell you this. In an upright John was a fifteen year old trumpet player in our orchestra when I came to olive thirty years ago And he was younger. Net goes east turned forty But he played a trumpet and in God call him to preach at are called ministry. And just this last year I looked at one Sunday and here came just fifteen year. Old Son down the addle. God called him to preach on and yeah so. The pastor’s part almost came out of his chest but when. I saw the children of my children and Jack Preach for me here a few weeks ago Wednesday night had one person say when he pre man how thrilled I want to see John. Through our ministry come to answer the call and in for his son become an answer. The call of music’s Great.

Dwayne: That’s Awesome I. I think Johnny probably watching US but John. F You are. Would you know that I did see your picture? You posted on Easter of you out in the backyard. I guess with your family that he jacked preach and then I said Ted taken yes. He’d taken off in Dallas. I know I haven’t taught him that. Will yesterday. Learn more to learn. What a great great thing. Well thank you for the time today. Why don’t you pray over? Us and pray Amen.

Ted: Let me do that father. I thank you in Jesus name for your sovereign grace in our lives. I thank you for the people watching and tuning in Operate father you encourage them today. Use them help them know and understand. They are kept by your power through face. Lord is we walk into these next days. I prayed Jesus name that you’d same spiritual awakening and revival in Mapa at olives and more al. All our old Sam away of glory be so furnace and deepen our and a fresh work through this back side. Break what I thank you for way less late your hand. Don’t these and use my and we asked Dr Killed. Jesus eight and

Dwayne: Amen, thanks so much Dr. Ted.



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