Elder Spotlight | Brian Sholly

I had the chance to sit down with newly installed elder, Brian Sholly, to get to know him, and to hear his heart for the church. I thought it would be beneficial to offer you a seat at our table so that you can get to know him along with me.

Brian and his wife Yolanda (who he affectionately calls ‘Yo’) have raised 4 children, all between the ages of 37 and 32. They have given them 9 grand children. Additionally, Brian and Yolanda have fostered 13 children over the years - usually a few brothers and sisters at a time. Pastor Brian explained to me that God birthed a passion in his heart for the fatherless while ministering to children in Cape Town of South Africa. After meeting so many fatherless (and motherless) children, and having extra bedrooms and extra margin in their lives, Brian and Yo felt God leading them to open their home to kids who need a family. 

Following his MBA in Finance at Ohio State Univ, Brian’s career spanned consumer products to online technology.  In 2018, Brian purchased a small pet manufacturing business to be able to “get off the road” and be present locally.  By God’s leading, he has ended up in ministry here at Sojourn. Not every elder is on staff, but Brian has been on staff since April of 2019. I asked him what his staff responsibilities are as the Executive Director of Operations: 

“Leading operations, finance, policy, and helping to provide practical solutions with any challenges within our Sunday morning space. I also work with our Development Steering Team which is mapping out future gathering spaces for our growing church.” 

Most people are used to what is called a ‘CEO Pastor model’, but Sojourn, instead, operates with a team of elders. I asked Brian to explain why this is beneficial for our church. 

“I think having an elder team keeps us from puting one person on a pedestal, and remembering that all elders and church leaders are under the authority of Jesus. Our people will also be better served by having diverse spiritual gifts, skillsets, and perspectives on that team of elders. For example, I’m not a theology heavyweight, but I can bring organizational and strategic input as we give oversight to the church.” 

I asked what his desire is for each member of Sojourn. (Brian sat and thought for a moment before carefully responding.) 

To experience true joy & peace from a deepening relationship with Christ - leaving behind a surface-level Christianity. It will require a level of uncomfortability to break free from security being rooted in jobs, or in wealth, or elsewhere in the world. But I am excited to think about what God can do in our Sojourn family and community as we grow in our personal discipleship.
Join me in praying for Brian, and the other three elders (Bryon, Joe, and Trent) as they shepherd our church in truth, love, and grace / committing themselves to God’s Word and prayer, seeking to honor God in all things / bearing with, suffering for, and keeping watch over the souls of this faith family.
Mitch Pinion
Director of Storytelling