A Pastor’s Pastor

“Render therefore to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute…honor to whom honor.” (Romans 13:7)  It is well to acknowledge gratefully the accomplishments of fellow soldiers of the cross, giving thanks to God for the impact their light has made among us while its brightness helped to guide us on our journey with confidence and trust.

Pastor Bob Taylor and his helpmeet of 60 years, his yellow rose from Texas, Joan, are a team that many would like to honor and pay tribute to. I first met them shortly after they were married and took up residence in Reveal Dormitory at Bob Jones University as dorm supervisors. They were kind and gracious to sometimes thoughtless, if not rowdy, young men away from home for the first time. My main job at that time, dorm-wise, was to make sure I did not warrant any special attention from this Tennessee-Texan team that was newly married and establishing their home in a dorm for young college men.  I succeeded, and the next time I gave any thought to Bob Taylor was when, as a pastor in Kansas, I saw him preaching on what was then a very popular Sunday evening television hour for Christians, “Rejoice in the Lord,” which originated from the Campus Church of Pensacola Christian College. Pastor Taylor founded the church in 1974 and led that ministry, airing a daily radio broadcast, “The Pastor’s Corner.” He also served as Campus Pastor, offering biblical counseling to faculty, staff and students; leading the Pensacola Christian College ministerial students; and contributing regularly to the spiritual well-being of the campus family through his chapel messages.

In time, Bob and Joan and their three sons moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he assumed the pastorate of Colonial Hills Baptist Church, following the 32-year ministry of that church’s founding pastor, Dr. Wendell Heller. From August of 1988 until his retirement as senior pastor of Colonial Hills Baptist Church 21 years later, Bob Taylor shepherded one of the outstanding fundamental ministries in the United States. He was also a leader in the Indiana Association of Christian Schools, the Indiana Fundamental Baptist Fellowship of Churches, Hope in Crisis, the Bob Jones University board and Gospel Fellowship Association. His pastoral ministry was known as an example—both at home and abroad—for its balance, involving both missions and local church evangelism.

Bob Taylor was a “Pastor’s Pastor.” He was gracious, treating everyone equally with kindness and respect. He raised the bar of pastoral excellence among his peers. He was a true friend who, in humility, would both share and seek advice. His Christian walk was Christ-like and challenging.

Golfers, whether they were locals or visiting evangelists and missionaries, often discovered that Bob Taylor would—graciously, of course—take his competitors “to school,” as it were, demonstrating skills on the green not often seen in amateurs.  He loved the game, and his reputation as a great golfer is widely known.

He is also widely known for his administrative and organizational abilities and careful attention to detail. Another Indiana pastor friend, at an IFBF Christmas banquet, once “roasted” Pastor Taylor as a person who had all the paper clips in his desk lined up in the same direction—and the shirts in his closet, as well as the socks in his dresser, all hanging or pointing with precision.  His demeanor is always pleasant, and his acceptance of you as a person is ever assuring. His helpmeet, Joan, was always by his side and remains so today, serving, living, walking, and working as an inseparable team. They now enjoy living in a retirement community and treasure moments with friends, their CHBC family of faith, and their three sons and eight grandchildren. They continue ministering through a weekly Bible Study in their assisted living quarters.

From those early days when I was a sophomore living in the shadow of the Taylors’ dorm apartment—admiring from a distance of this seemingly suave while soundly spiritual Christian gentleman/pastor—I and my wife, Ellen, have had the privilege of becoming good friends with Bob and Joan.  I no longer try to avoid him, as I did in the dorm! Ellen and I love having lunch with the Taylors and other couples with whom we have served in ministry in Indiana.

Happily, Pastor Taylor, upon his retirement as senior pastor in 2009, was succeeded by Dr. Chuck Phelps, whose ministry at Colonial Hills Baptist Church carries on the tradition of excellence that characterized his two predecessors.  Until recently, Pastor Taylor taught an adult Sunday school class numbering upwards of 100 people, mostly retirees, at CHBC.

On April 16, 2009, at an IFBF meeting at Colonial Hills Baptist Church, the following citation was read in honor of Pastor and Mrs. Taylor:

In recognition of two of God’s choicest servants who have labored selflessly amongst the brethren and tirelessly on behalf of the Indiana Fundamental Baptist Fellowship of Churches, we salute with thanksgiving to God Dr. and Mrs. Bob Taylor for 20 years of ministry at Colonial Hills Baptist Church of Indianapolis, Indiana and for the sterling example of Christian virtues and for the benchmark of ministry excellence that you have left for the generations to come. You will leave us spiritually richer for having been fellow laborers with us these past two decades. May your future be filled with greater blessings than you could dream of, and may all your days on this earth’s pilgrimage be full of love and joy and peace through his matchless grace.”

That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim.3:17)

And, Bob Taylor, Happy Birthday on this 4th day of October, 2022!!


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