First Baptist Church – Tustin, MI
I preached 48-50 sermons per year. I use an exegetical style of preaching – focusing on the meaning of the passage and applying what the text teaches to life. I preach both expository and topical series. I try to make sure that I am transformed by the text before I preach, but at times I have to confess that I am speaking from a place of conviction. My preaching has been described as passionate and bold, yet humble. I do not shy away from the difficult texts nor am I afraid of saying the difficult things the text demands.
I taught weekly adult classes and Bible studies. These include Sunday School classes, prayer meetings, and small groups. I’ve taught lots of biblical book studies and topical studies such as “Knowing God’s Will,” “Spiritual Leadership,” “Christian Parenting,” and “Developing a Biblical Worldview.” I develop my own curriculum but often use the books of solid Christian teachers to supplement or guide the class. I use a conversational style because I believe adults learn best through discussion and by asking questions.
I counseled individuals and couples needing spiritual care. In my counseling I focus on being a good listener first. I listen to the individual and I listen for evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in their life. My philosophy of counseling is based on helping people identify their motives and their movements (either toward the Spirit or toward the flesh). I have seen several people grow in their love for God and their confidence in His sovereign power.
I developed a Small Group ministry by training leaders and hosts. I started the church’s first-ever small group ministry by identifying two couples who would be good small group leaders, two couples who would be good hosts, and a few young Christians who would benefit from the experience. Over the next year I trained the leaders how to facilitate good discussions while maintaining a safe and open environment. I taught the hosts how to provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere. I showed them the importance of prayer in the small group ministry. This initial team divided into more small groups that served over 40% of the total congregation.
I coordinated all of the church’s ministries (4 boards, 7 standing committees, 3 church officers, and several additional ministries). Most of the time, I was able to trust the board and committee chairpersons to lead their ministries. Occasionally, I would need to train them for the next step in ministry or correct their group through gentle teaching and suggestion. On a few occasions, I had to have someone removed from a board or committee because they were not working out.
I served as an ex-officio member of all boards and committees. From time to time, it was necessary for me to meet with a board or committee to help them through an issue or to cast vision for the future.
I moderated membership meetings. I do not think it is wise for the pastor to be the Moderator of a meeting because it limits the influence he can have in the discussions. Even though our bylaws stipulated that I was responsible for moderating the meetings, they did give me the option of delegating that responsibility to the church’s Vice Moderator and, I often did just that.
I worked with the Deacon Board to set the church’s vision, strategy, and systems. I believe that the church should be led by men who are praying and seeking God’s will. Their authority comes from faithfully interpreting God’s word. Personally, I believe the church should be led by a plurality of Elders but in our case we had a Deacon board. So, I led my board to spend more time in prayer and encouraged them to be seeking direction from God’s word. We reorganized the church structure in a way that brought greater unity while empowering leaders.
I organized a team to evaluate the total ministry of the church according to biblical values, principles, and commands. This team met for two years, searching the New Testament for a more biblical understanding of the church, and presented its findings to the membership. Much of what we found directly challenged the traditions and practices of the church. Most members received the information well, but some continue to resist.
I officiated over the Lord’s Supper, baptisms, marriages, and funerals. Whenever I had the opportunity, I used these events to celebrate the grace and love of God. I am often told that my funeral messages are compassionate and inspiring.
I worked with the Pine River Ministerial Association to organize community worship events and high school baccalaureate. We held community worship services for Thanksgiving and Good Friday each year. The churches took turns hosting the events, but all the pastors participated in the services. We also worked to raise money for Community Christian Outreach, an ecumenical charity that provides money for heat and electricity to poor families in the community.
I have presented workshops at several conferences including the Church Ministries Conference in Grand Rapids, MI and the Small Church Big Deal Conference in Fenton, MI. My workshop topics have included How to Care for Your Pastor, Loving People We Don’t Understand, and Caring For the Families of LGBT People. I am currently working on additional workshops about understanding your pastor’s stress and how to care for your pastor’s family.
India Rural Evangelical Fellowship
In 2003, I traveled to Repalle, India as part of a mission team. I was one of four pastors who were invited to come for eleven days. Our first week, we taught the local Christian pastors and evangelists in Repalle during the day. In the evenings, we preached evangelistic services in the surrounding rural villages to about 5,000 people. The second week we taught daily at a large bible conference for about 3,000 Christians. At night we preached evangelistic messages at the city fair grounds where the crowds swelled to 20,000! We saw thousands of people come forward for prayer and repentance. Many asked us to pray for their healing. After each evangelistic meeting, we spent an hour or more praying for people one by one.
In 2003, I traveled to Repalle, India, as part of a mission team. I was one of four pastors who were invited to come for eleven days. During our first week, we taught the local Christian pastors and evangelists in Repalle during the day. In the evenings we preached evangelistic services to about 5,000 people in the surrounding rural villages. The second week we taught daily at a large Bible conference for about 3,000 Christians. At night we preached evangelistic messages at the city fairgrounds where the crowds swelled to 20,000! We saw thousands of people come forward for prayer and repentance. Many asked us to pray for their healing. After each evangelistic meeting, we spent an hour or more praying for people one by one.
The highlight of the trip was participating in a baptism service for over 200 new believers. These were people who had come to faith in the previous year. After we baptized the people, it was our honor to give them new Biblical names to replace their Hindu names (usually the names of Hindu gods).
Grand Rapids Theological Seminary
On several occasions Dr. Byard Bennett invited me to speak to his classes on Ministry ethics. I have also participated in a panel discussion (made up of pastors from various traditions). This panel was gathered to help graduating students prepare for ministry.
Converge Worldwide – Michigan District
Board of Ministries – I served as a member of the board for two years. This board was responsible for overseeing all the activities and ministries of the district. This included overseeing the work of the Executive Minister and the ministry of Center Lake Bible Camp.
Executive Committee – I served as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Ministries for one year. This meant that I was also a member of the Executive Committee. During my time on this committee, we reviewed employee relations with all district employees. This included all office staff and all full-time staff at Center Lake Bible Camp.
LEAD Team 2002-2007 – The acronym LEAD stand for the four components of all meetings where leaders LEARN, ENCOURAGE, ACHIEVE, and DREAM. They work together to reach people for Christ through starting new churches and revitalizing struggling churches.
A LEAD Team is a gathering of 6-12 pastors, planters and leaders who meet together regularly to: ignite a movement of reproducing churches in their region or people group; connect pastors, planters and leaders together around a mission; and join a thriving network of lead teams around the world.
New Life Fellowship – Kentwood, MI (1991-2000)
Lay Pastor – January through April 1999. When our pastor left, the members asked me to fill the pulpit and work with the district office to determine the direction for the congregation.
Elder – 1997-1999
Youth Leader – 1994-1997
Pulpit Supply – 1995-1999 (as needed).
Small Group Leader – 1994-1996 I led the college/career small group.
Worship Team – 1992-1994
Committees (pastoral search, bylaws, properties. . .)