FRESNO – “Wow! God has been getting me ready for this job my whole life,” Mike McGuffee exclaims. “Not only that, if you were to say who the least person would be to have the responsibility of caring for pastors in California, it would have been me. I was pretty much a rowdy, carnal jock who just loved life until God totally turned my life around.”
Mike joined California Southern Baptist Convention (CSBC) as ministerial leadership specialist and church consultant with the Healthy Church Group in 2001. His responsibilities include , mentoring and coaching pastors, leadership development for pastors and church staff, healthy church consultations, working with church search committees, encouraging pastors and training deacons.
Mike was born in Norman, Oklahoma. His godly parents moved their family to Sacramento when he was five years old. His father worked for the U.S. Air Force as an electrical engineer and was a deacon in the church they attended. His mother served as Woman’s Missionary Union director for their church and for the Sacramento Association of Southern Baptist Churches.
Unknown to Mike for many years, his mother dedicated him to Christ when he was born saying, “Lord, I want my son to be either a pastor or a missionary, and we’ll do whatever we can to prepare him for that.”
“I had known about Christ and being a Christian all of my life,” Mike recalled. “It was when I was eight years old that I was convicted of sin and felt the need to invite Jesus into my heart. I made that decision in my room with the help of my parents. It was a very natural thing for me to do.”
Although professing faith in Christ, Mike lived a double life. He went to church on Sunday and said all the right things, but lived another way with his high school and college friends. He attended California Baptist College (CBC), now California Baptist University, where he focused on playing sports and having fun. During his senior year, God answered his mother’s prayer and claimed Mike’s life.
“There was a group of students who were praying for revival to break loose at CBC,” Mike said. “Rick Warren and a couple of the other guys met on the soccer field every morning at 6 o’clock to pray for revival. They prayed specifically for five names, and I was on that list. They said that if God could get a hold of Mike McGuffee, revival would break out on campus.
“Well, a week before finals in 1973, I truly felt a conviction from the Holy Spirit to get right with God,” Mike continued. “I talked with one of the guys who was praying for revival, confirmed that I really was a believer, confessed my sins and asked God to fill me with His spirit. It was amazing! I had this tremendous sense of peace, and a week later God called me to ministry.”
When Mike got serious with God, he never looked back. He graduated from CBC with a bachelor’s degree in business in January 1974, got married on a Saturday, and moved to Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary on Sunday. Mike graduated with a master of divinity degree from Golden Gate in 1977.
Throughout the 27 years that Mike pastored before joining CSBC, God led him to invest in the lives of men whom God was calling into ministry. He responded to an invitation from the International Mission Board and Golden Gate to go to Russia to train Russian pastors, a trip he made three times. Psalm 37:4 became very real to Mike: “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
“I had always wanted to be a history teacher,” Mike said. “I had always wanted to travel. I had always wanted to be a missionary. In Russia, I taught Baptist history, church history and historical theology. God made my dreams come true.
“I really believe in the sovereignty of God. He has a plan for our lives, which we can deviate from, but if we stay close to Him, God has got things that He wants to accomplish in and through our lives that are just amazing.”
Mike is a member of Clovis Hills Community Church where he serves as an elder and trustee. He is a trustee at Golden Gate and has taught in the seminary’s doctor of ministry program. Married for 39 years, Mike and his wife, Linda, have three grown children and two grandsons and two granddaughters.
Mike’s message to California Southern Baptists:
“Three things that pastors need are found in Joshua 1:16-18. When Joshua became the new leader of Israel, the elders told him that they would follow his leadership, that they would support him, and that he was to be strong and courageous. The three things that pastors need are for people to follow their leadership, for people to support them during difficult times and for people to give them encouragement.”
“Love, support, pray for and follow your pastors. Being a pastor is probably the hardest job in the world. It can be very lonely, and it can be very discouraging. If Satan gets the pastor down, he has gotten the whole church down.”
“Above all, be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:18, HCSB)!
- Pray for wisdom, guidance and creativity for CSBC staff as they follow God’s direction during this time of limited resources.
- Pray for Mike as he strives to stay true to God’s leading with continued focus on important issues.
- Pray for Mike as he stretches himself to stay on the cutting edge to gain insights that will be relevant for the pastors with whom he works.
- Pray for Mike’s physical and mental health while focusing on lifestyle changes necessitated by recent frustrating health issues.
- Pray for Mike’s continued sensitivity to family needs.
- I praise God for the positive changes in churches because of the church consulting process.
- I praise God that He has allowed me to see spiritual growth in the pastors I have been privileged to help.
- I praise God for the joy He has given me through my family.
- I praise God for the joy of teaching and preaching.
- I praise God for the highly functioning group of people with whom I work. We are better together than we are by ourselves.
Recommendation for Bible study:
“I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content – whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13, HCSB).
Ministerial Leadership Specialist
California Southern Baptist Convention
678 East Shaw Avenue
Fresno, CA 93710