I have never started a local church, but I have been able to keep a few churches from closing their door.
For some reason the churches where I have been, the church has been in disarray. The first church I went to
FIRST CHURCH I WAS THE PASTOR: 1971-1974
The first church I went to, Madison Missionary Baptist Church, Minford, OH they had five splits in five years I was told. When I arrived there were 12 people, and after the first month those twelve people quit the church. So you might say we started from nothing. Oh the church people will celebrate that they are 100 years old, but the history has been very poor. And by the way the church today is doing very good. They have had some very good pastors since I left. Praise the Lord.
THE SECOND CHURCH I WAS THE PASTOR 1980-1996
The second church I went to I learned that there were five preachers who tried out, and was voted to come, but they all turned it down. (Mrs. York told me this)
When I came, the adult teacher was not even a member and was not a Baptist. The song leader was having Mormon class in his home. The young leader was not a member was not wanting to be. And deacons where were not even saved. So I came anyway, and in the first month they were going to vote me out as pastor. (which I would have gladly left.)
That first few months, the deacons left and their family, all those above people left the church, and and before it was all over with several families left the church. Its amazing why people leave the church. Its usually not for a biblical reason but for silly reasons.
But for some reason the Lord saw fit to allow me to stay for sixteen years. The best sixteen years of my ministry as pastor. Of course I am amazed that the church survived with me as pastor in the first place.
I am so amazed. The church today is doing very well and has a very good pastor.
Charity and I were invited back again in May 2015 and was so blessed to see the church do well and they have a find pastor.
We were so blessed to see many faithful in their love for the Lord.
THE NEXT TWO CHURCHES 1999, 2000
I tried two other churches, but both was not a fit and they didn’t want Me to stay, so I left. Don’t want to be where where the people don’t want you.
In six months at both church, we had a very good beginning and the church had growth and the people really liked us and we thought. We did our best to take the church to another level but we certainly failed.
You might think why would I want to continue in ministry.
THE LATER YEARS 2001-2008
Then 2003 we went to Portsmouth Baptist Church and had a good run for about year and half, before the preacher said I need to go.
Then in 2004-2007 I was in Bigelow Church, and really loved the people and had a wonderful time with the group, but finally after been turned down to be a deacon, turned down by the Elders to be an Elder and then as assoc. pastor, and then voted in as a staff member and then fired before I took office, I quit. It’s wonder that I would want to continue in ministry. The pastor left and the next pastor died in the church and then they had another pastor which they fired. And now they have two men who pastor the church, and I hope they are doing a good job, and I still really love many of the folks in that church.
RIVERS OF JOY BAPTIST CHURCH, MINFORD, JULY 2008 TO PRESENT
Then comes along Rivers of Joy Baptist Church. I was asked to call the only deacon left about become the pastor and he hung up on me. Only the next week two families walked out and they were going to shut down the doors. They had tried out five preachers in 18 months they couldn’t get enough votes to become pastor.
For goodness sake, why of why did I come? My wife said it would not work at all. It was the last church in the world that I would have wanted to pastor for sure. So why did I end up at the church?
Bob Temple, my father in law. Its all his fault for sure.
While I have always been an Independent Fundamental Baptist preacher, the old fashion one, and most of the preachers would not think I was a good one.
When I came to the church, there was little that I was in agreement with how the church leadership ran the church.
By the way, this church was your typical IFBC. It was one of the best for awhile without any question.
The church was started because the preacher wanted to come back to Portsmouth to finish out his life. He had pastored there for a number of years, had left and now want to come back to start a church. So he wrote all the former member to tell him he was staring a church in Minford, and wanted them to come with him. He wrote me as well as my father in law as well. So the church started with a lot of former members who left the church they were end.
If you talk to the members at the time, they really believed that they had a great church, there was a lot of excitement and growth and lots of work and lots of people coming. The pastor was one who loved to visit, go in to a home ask for coffee and then sit down an take a nap on a nice chair and then get up and leave. Very true.
The church grew and they then built a very nice building that would set 250 people, and it was full too. What seem to be a great church and good people and people were been saved, making a lot of profession of faith, supporting a lot of missionaries, and helping out in the community. People where out door to door, winning people to the Lord. Some were called to preach by the preacher and deacons. For a while you would have thought this was the best church in town.
But what look good from the outside, in my opinion was not looking so good on the inside.
I am not going to address all the things that I was told by members of the church that led to the fall of this church because we still have some good people who are still in the church, who are very good people and have stayed to course.
When I took the church, it was with question. The only deacon left did not want me there in the first place and he and his family left a few years later.
There were several other families who came back and for a while, but did not buy in to the new form ministry that I had established.
My style of ministry was different: which was
1. I was a Expositional verse by verse Bible teacher more than I was a preacher.
2. I did not believe in giving a pressured packed altar call and made people fell that they need to come to an altar every month. Giving a altar call really is not Biblical at all in the first place.
3. Then we reworked the church by laws. From pastor rule, to Eldership leadership. I don’t think the church was ever membership rule.
4. I didn’t believe that trying to see how many people I could get to come was the goal. I was not willing to try every trick in the trade to get people to come.
5. I was not willing to have just anybody be a deacon, by teacher, be a bus driver.
6. I was not will to take money from just anybody that was not a member, and I was not going to go outside the church to get money.
7. I didn’t believe that every time I need money to do something that I pressured people to give.
8. I didn’t believe in asking businesses to give us credit and then not pay them.
9. I didn’t believe in pressuring people to be saved.
10. I don’t believe in clicks. I don’t believe certain people with high profile should be the only ones working in the church.
And certainly didn’t believe in doing what I heard so many times what was been done.
So when I came I had a session with the people and they ask me questions.
1. Do you go out soul winning ever day?
2. Do you go out visiting door to door?
3. Do you make hospital visits?
4. Do you use only the King James Bible?
5. Do you like VBC?
6. Do you like a bus ministry?
All my answers was not what they had been used to.
Good thing they didn’t ask if I was a Calvinist or an expositional preacher/teacher .
A FEW THINGS THAT HAPPEN WHEN I FIRST CAME TO ROJBC?
The formal pastor’s wife, the first pastor told people not to vote for me for all the reasons she didn’t like. She was right in describing what I believed.
There was a family that was coming and she was teaching in the SS and then teaching in the church service. I ask here to give up one and she quit the church the first month I was there.
And one member came for awhile and was very excited about come and had a lot of this family coming and then he got bad in about a month about the change and quit again.
Later the deacon quit, he got really bad, he was critical from the start, and hated all that had happen before I got there.
Some came and saw the changes and didn’t come back. We had members come for a while and didn’t like what I was preaching and quit.
The piano player and his lovely wife and who we loved, and worked with so much QUIT. Hated that you know. He never told us why either.
My father in law remarried and moved to Arlington TX, that wasn’t nice of him. But he and his wife come up a few times a year.
Then as of June 2015 the Assoc. Pastor quit, finally. We worked with him for almost seven years.
Then church has not seen one baptism, and only a few being saved as far as we know. I have wondered if we have had the door of the blessings of the Lord closed on us.
FOR GOODNESS SAKE HAS ANYTHING HAPPEN THAT HAS CAUSE YOU TO SAY AT RIVERS OF JOY BAPTIST CHURCH.
1. There have been a few old members who have come back into the fellowship, and with a lot of struggle and trials and hard times, have been blessed and doing good. That in its self has cause me to want to stay.
2. There have been some who just didn’t like us at all, I think, and they have come and are a really blessing to the church. What an encouraging that has been to us.
3. We have a 94 year old saint who voted for me not to be the pastor, who has not missed service yet. That has been so encouraging.
4. We have seen the growth in several men since we have come. That has been a blessing.
5. We have seen folks that might have struggled with our position and doctrine but they have been faithful in their giving and support for us. That is why we are still here by the way.
6. Charity finally talked me into having a class for the ladies, and that has been a real blessing. Through those classes we have learned just how much they love our church know and they love the teaching that I give, and that is why I am still at ROJBC.
7. Our people have worked on trying to get people to come because they love the fellowship and teaching.
8. And then we had a family come this last few months that have uplifted our fellowship so much that I think I might make it for another year. We will see.
9. I hear the folks say that they are loved and or blessed so much.
10. We have not seen growth in number but we have seen growth in spiritual growth.
11. The Grants, Hall, Dawkins, Lemaster, Field, Rameys, have stayed.
So in July 2008 we will began our seven year at ROJBC church. Its not July yet, it is not June, so we might still be at the church.
BUT IF YOU COME TO ROJBC YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW THESE THINGS?
If you don't mind a pastor/teacher that is not bound by the KJV only group, if you don't mind a service where the music is not the primary focus, if you don't mind that the primary focus is on expositional (verse by verse) teaching of the Word, if you are not offended that we don't give altar calls, pleading some one to made a public profession of faith, than ROJBC might be the church for you.
If you are not offended that the pastor preaches theological and has a strong view on Sola Fide, by faith alone. Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone. Solus Christus, through Christ alone. Sola Gratia, by grace alone. Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God ... then ROJBC might be a place for you