“This is not the first time someone has asked Bryan Chapell to be moderator,” said George Robertson, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Ga. “For many years, people have begged him. And when I asked him to consider it this time, he wouldn’t say yes right away.”
Instead Chapell wanted to consult the Covenant Theological Seminary board, from which he recently retired, and the session of Grace Presbyterian Church where he is senior pastor. “That’s the way he has always operated,” said Robertson. “He always seeks the counsel of broader wisdom. He really embodies our conviction of the plurality of leadership in the Presbyterian system.”
These qualities uniquely suit him for the role of moderator of the 42nd General Assembly of the PCA, along with his lifetime of service to the denomination, said Robertson. Raised in Tennessee, Chapell has a journalism degree from Northwestern University, an M.Div. from Covenant Seminary, and a Ph.D. in speech communication from Southern Illinois University. After pastoring two churches in Southern Illinois, he spent nearly 30 years at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis; 18 as president. As the senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Ill., Chapell provides grace-filled preaching and teaching, visionary leadership, and discipleship of young leaders. He has written or contributed to more than 50 books, including “Christ-Centered Preaching,” which is now a standard textbook for preachers throughout the world.
“In every role God has given him, he has been a consummate pastor. He always speaks the truth, but it’s always in love.”
At this moment in our denomination’s history, Robertson said, Chapell’s reputation and experience as a reconciler, peacemaker, and healer will serve the General Assembly well. “I nominated him because he is a Christ-like shepherd,” said Robertson. “In every role God has given him, he has been a consummate pastor. He always speaks the truth, but it’s always in love.” With the goal of unity and collaboration, Robertson sought the input of leaders of major PCA networks, such as Reformed Communion, National Partnership, Original Vision, and Gospel Reformation, to secure their approval of the nomination.
In addition to his pastoral approach, Chapell offers experienced leadership in the technical details of PCA committees and agencies, and parliamentary procedure. He has served on the Standing Judicial Committee, the Committee on Constitutional Business, the Overtures Committee, the Committee on Educational Standards, and the Strategic Planning Committee. Robertson said, “He’s been an active churchman for so long, he knows how the committees and agencies work. When the General Assembly is taking up a number of technical issues, such as the Standing Judicial Committee, it’s very helpful to have an experienced person at the helm.”
Chapell has been married to his wife Kathy for 36 years. They have four believing children who, with their spouses, are all in leadership in PCA churches.