This isn’t just a
study on the book of Revelation, but rather my study notes on the book. Included within are also question to consider
as you read through the book and my notes.
In my study notes I refer to Dr. Henry M. Morris’ book The Revelation Record. In my opinion this is the best commentary on the book of Revelation I have ever read. I strongly suggest you get a copy for your library if the book can still be found!
How do you know when a community needs a new church?
Webster defines protocol as “the established ceremonial forms in official dealings.” That’s not what I mean here in speaking of a protocol of planting a church. The word protocol is also used of the order of things. What begins and what comes next. It is in that sense that I use the word in connection with church planting. What follows is a brief account of how God saw fit to plant a church in Three Forks Montana, and how we accomplished that. In looking back there were five steps we followed. (1) Assessing the need, (2) Planning the birth, (3) Birthing the Church (4) Organizing the church, (5) Letting go. This was our protocol, and if it can be of help to you in your ministry then we are gratified.
Once these goals are met, you have done the job God has called you to. A church has been born! Now what will God do with it as the years go by? Hopefully it is a group of people God can use to His glory!
I thought this might be a good place to give you some book suggestions for books your congregation might enjoy reading. This was my 2019 reading list for my flock. We live in far northwest Washington State so reading during the “rainy” season is a great way to help our spiritual growth.
Saving My Assassin, Virginia Prodan. This is the true story of a woman coming to know the Lord and the persecution she endured for her faith. From her own words: “I should be dead. Buried in an unmarked grave in Romania. Obviously, I am not. God had other plans.”
Same Kind of Different Me & Working Our Way Home by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. These two books are an autobiography of the lives of a rich white guy and a black homeless guy, how their lives intersect and what God does with it. A fun read!
Paul Tripp is one of our favorite authors, so we have three new books by him for the coming year.
New Morning Mercies. This is a daily devotional book. It is rich! You will be blessed daily by his insights and challenges.
Suffering. This book is about the Gospel hope we have when life doesn’t make sense.
What Did You Expect? This is a book for married couples at any stage of life. With all the problems in marriages these days, this book will bring you back to the core issue and solution.
Unimaginable. This is a book by Jeremiah Johnston. This book examines what the word would be like without Christianity. I think we take for granted all that we have, but the author puts it all in a new perspective. Without Christianity, this world and certainly our culture would be far different.
Discipline: the Glad Surrender. This is a book I’ve read several times by Elizabeth Elliot. It’s an older but timeless book. My fellow elders and I will be reading through and working through this book this year. Maybe you would like to experience it as well!
Even at that young age I knew God had a job for me
I came to know Christ as my personal Savior at age nine while attending ALCAAC Bible camp at Harpster, Idaho. I realized my lost condition upon hearing the gospel and responded to the Savior’s call to accept His gift of Salvation. I grew up in the Lord at Orchards Community Church, Lewiston Idaho.
Even at that young age I knew God had a job for me to do and was calling me to service. That call was reaffirmed when after graduating from high school God led me to Millar Memorial Bible Institute at Pambrun, Saskatchewan, Canada. (Now Millar College of the Bible) While at Millar, I returned home and married Kathy English. She was (and still is) a beautiful girl I met at Bible camp when we were nine or ten years old. Little did we know then that God had a great adventure in store for us. Here is her Testimony: “I came to know the Lord while still a child, for which I am thankful. I was a very stubborn child with no doubt that I was a sinner in need of God’s grace. I am still a work in process………. God placed me in a loving Christian home with a very caring church family where I could grow and thrive. Jim and I met as young kids attending a Sunday School Union Bible Camp. The falling in love came in its time. Our marriage was a commitment not only to each other but to serve the Lord however He directed. Our motto has been to “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” He sent us to Bible School and into the pastorate. What a humbling privilege to be ‘planted’ where we can see God working in big and small ways all around us over and over, and thankfully in our lives as we journey with Him. We are blessed with a son and daughter and our family continues to grow as we now have a daughter-in-law & son -in law and six grandchildren. What a joy to see them continue to grow and serve the Lord! We consider ourselves on a great adventure with the Lord, desiring to be available to be used as He sees fit, growing closer to Him and to each other daily. Matthew 6:33 is a verse that has meant a lot to me: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” My desire is to be about His business and trust Him to take care of the rest.”
Kathy and I returned to Millar Memorial Bible Institute as a married couple and completed my schooling. Millar was an excellent school with emphasis on Biblical exegesis and ministry. Just before my graduation our first child was born. Joshua is now married and a father. He is a fine young man and a joy to his mother and I. We are very proud of his accomplishments and his close walk with the Lord. He and his wife Amy now shepherd Three Forks Bible Church, a church God used us to plant in 2005.
Right after graduation in 1977, we were accepted as a missionary couple with Northwest Independent Church Extension (N.I.C.E.) and were commissioned and sent out by Orchards Community Church.
We began our ministry in rural Baker County, Oregon and the Lord led us to plant Baker Bible Church. What a wonderful ministry we had in Baker! We saw many come to know Christ and grow in the Lord. The Lord prospered our Church and it grew in numbers as well as spiritually. The Lord also prospered our family. Ruth Ann was born in 1980 while we were at Baker. Our little “Ruthy” is now grown and a beautiful, godly young woman. She married a wonderful Christian man in June of 2005.
In 1986, we felt led of God to leave Baker Bible Church. The church had grown tremendously and met the goals that we had set for it. A small, struggling church in New Plymouth, Idaho heard of us and a group of them came to visit us at Baker. They asked us to come and help them as their church was in trouble. We felt this was God’s leading and so just before Christmas 1986 we moved to New Plymouth to pastor Bible Faith Fellowship.
This turned out to be a completely different ministry from that of Baker. This was an older group of people. There were no children to speak of and very little ministry. The ministries that had been so successful at Baker, failed here! We continued to preach and teach the Word. God was faithful and slowly but surely the church began to grow. As it grew, the people became more encouraged and more ministry developed. Soon we had a vibrant church, with children, young people, new families and our good old stable core group. Our biggest problem became parking. What a great problem to have! The Church was completely gutted, remodeled, the parking lot expanded to meet the need. All of this by God’s hand. He richly blessed our ministry in New Plymouth. While pastoring in New Plymouth, I was ordained through the sanction of my home church, Orchards Community Church, under the direction of the I.F.C.A. Western Idaho Regional.
After seven good years of ministry we felt we had completed our mission at Bible Faith Fellowship. The church was now healthy and growing. Once again we were seeking God’s direction. He opened the door for us to visit a rural church in north Idaho, Southwick Community Church. We fell in love with the people and the area immediately. The problem was that I didn’t feel the area had much potential for growth. The leadership was so passionate about the possibility for growth that I was convinced and we accepted the call. They were right. The church grew each and every year. We saw much fruit and developed various ministries. Among them was teaching the men to lead the Church. Once again parking and space were a problem so we undertook another building project. What a privilege to leave Southwick Community in capable hands when the Lord called us from that precious body. It’s hard to believe that so much ministry is flowing from such a rural setting.
While at Southwick I began work on a Master Degree though Southwest Bible College. This study was centered on pastoral ministry and was for my own personal growth as a pastor. I finished that program in 2003 while living in Montana. This was done through correspondence and took several years to complete because I was busy with a full time pastorate.
In 2000 the mission (NICE) asked us to consider relocating in Montana and taking on a new ministry, that of full time field director for the mission in the state of Montana. After much prayer and counsel with my board at Southwick, we accepted and in the spring of 2001 moved to Anaconda Montana. The ministry in Montana as field director was very diverse. I helped churches seeking a shepherd, did pulpit supply when pastors need to be away. I spoke at retreats and camps. I presented the work of NICE at various Bible Colleges and I encourage and advised pastors. I helped churches going through problems.
In May of 2003 we packed up again and moved to Manhattan to minister there as an associate pastor as well as to the state as Field Director for NICE. Pastor Ron has been handicapped by a stroke, so I carried a bit of the burden here in both shepherding the flock and preaching. I also taught New Testament Survey at Montana Bible College in Bozeman.
We finished up our ministry with Manhattan Bible by the end 2005 and stepped down from the pastoral staff and took up a new challenge that of overseeing a Church plant in the nearby town of Three Forks as a joint effort with Manhattan Bible and Grace Bible of Bozeman Mt, as well as Northwest Independent Church extension. This church took off from day one! We served here first of all as a missionary pastor, receiving support through Northwest Independent Church extension and working at a local grocery store. The church grew quickly and was soon self-supporting so we were able to quit the secular job and also step down from the mission.
In 2014 we felt our assignment was complete and the Lord led us to our present ministry, Faith Community Church in Lynden Washington.
Faith Community was a whole new challenge. First of all it was a big church, with a big facility and multiple staff. This was all new for me, but God has always given us ministry that was beyond our ability and so we felt comfortable taking on this huge challenge knowing that God was in control. At the time we came to FCC it was a hurting church, having just gone through a very difficult time. Our mission became clear, heal this church up, shore up its leadership and correct the structural issues that were the catalyst for continual division. (The issue here was the way the board was structured. Our goal was to have a more Biblical model). By God’s grace we have done that, and He has richly blessed us through this body of believers. This ministry has been a joy. What a wonderful gift God has given me for my last pastorate! God is good!!!
My Philosophy of ministry is
based on the concept that the Church is the family of God not the “business of
God”. The Church is all about people, not about the “bottom line”. It about
ministry not buildings. It’s about discipleship that puts people in ministry.
My view of ministry isn’t based on the concept of success but rather the
concept of what makes for a healthy Church.
What a privilege it has been
for Kathy and I to shepherd God’s people. God has called and gifted me to be a
pastor teacher. I have served as a church planter, missionary pastor, solo
pastor, associate pastor, field director and Bible College Instructor. It has
been a blessing! As the Montana Field Director I was usually in a different
church every Sunday. I’ve learned so much about churches and about “The Church”
by serving in this position. Often people say to me “you are so passionate!” I
have to admit I am excited about God, His Word and his People.