This Sunday, June 5, will mark my 28th Anniversary in the ministry. After completing a degree in Business Administration at the University of Illinois in 1980, I graduated from CHRIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY on the last Sunday of May 1983.
The very next day I reported for work as a full-time associate Pastor at Crusaders Church in Urbana, Illinois. My great Father was the Senior Pastor and my boss. (Truthfully that was no different than the day before!) Because I had the privilege of growing up in the parsonage and have always enjoyed the work of the Lord, I loved my new assignment.
Our Sunday School Bus ministry grew to average over 300 riders on 7 routes. Our record attendance shot above 800. We began a Saturday Afternoon Bible Club that grew to nearly 50. We started a ministry in the Illinois Department of Corrections Facility near the church. We edited and expanded FAITH IN THE FUTURE, our monthly publication read by over 2,000 families in 30 states. We began a radio ministry called THE CRUSADERS PULPIT that was aired on 4 radio stations and heard internationally in Latin America. We went Door to Door calling every week, preached outdoors on the campus of the University of Illinois, and organized Open Forum Ministries at the University of Illinois, Purdue University in Lafayette, IN, and at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL. We met with the Teens on Fridays. I taught at KINGSWOOD SCHOOL, a K-12 Christian School led by my Brother Marsh. I helped my brother with the Citizens For Decency, a grassroots effort against pornography, and then was co-founder of the Coalition for Traditional Values in Champaign County. Those were great days.
In 1996 my new bride and I (Vickie and I were married on June 21 of that year), moved to St. Louis to launch a Crusaders Church in St. Louis. We called the new church FAITH COMMUNITY CHURCH. Our first Sunday, September 15, we were thrilled when 27 from St. Louis attended services in the Knights of Columbus Hall on Adie Road in St. Ann, MO.
From that humble beginning, FCC has grown into a thriving ministry touching hundreds of souls each week with the message of full salvation. Often we have to go where the people are, but that’s our calling! There are people in heaven today because FCC reached them with the Gospel. The Gospel Truth is preached in love without compromise. Our altars are not barren. Those hungry for salvation, seeking sanctification, and longing for God’s touch have prayed their way through to victory here. Young people have met, couples have married, and children have been born and dedicated to the Lord. Time and time again the family of God known as FCC has reached out to help one another.
We are strategically located along a major St. Louis thoroughfare (25,000 cars pass our church each day), on 2 acres of land with a lovely colonial building that seats 250 and has nearly 100 parking spaces. Our congregation is growing. Our record attendance of 282 will not stand long. The Lord has provided for our financial needs. We have a mortgage of just under $550,000 on this great 11,700 square foot building. And though we seldom have had any extra, we have had enough, month after month. PRAISE GOD!
I’ve taken this trip down memory lane for a reason:
I WANT TO PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!
I WANT TO GIVE GOD ALL THE GLORY FOR HELPING ME FULFILL MY CALLING. Looking back over the past 28 years I’ve said so many stupid things, acted without thinking, and been distracted when I should have been paying attention, that I am absolutely sure that any good that’s been accomplished has been because GOD IS FAITHFUL!
I WANT TO THANK GOD FOR HIS SAVING AND SANCTIFYING GRACE! Though I have failed, He has never failed. Hallelujah! I’m so glad that Mercy’s door is wide open. I like the Apostle’s creed, “Forgetting the things which are behind, and reaching forth to the things that are before, I press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!” In Jesus’ name we press on!
I WANT TO THANK GOD FOR HIS GOOD PEOPLE WHO HAVE STOOD WITH ME! Without the prayers and support and help of God’s people no minister can persist. You have loved, cared, given, supported, lifted, encouraged, and been there when the burdens were greatest. You have prayed for me. I will be eternally grateful for God’s good people.
I WANT TO PRAISE THE LORD FOR A WONDERFUL WIFE AND A LOVING FAMILY. Many a minister has been discouraged from the work of the Lord by a critical and unwilling wife. I have been blessed with a loving, supportive, and faithful wife. She and her family have been a great blessing throughout these 28 years. And Tressa, our precious girl, is growing in grace. I am so thankful that she is saved and seeking to do God’s will.
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I FULLY EXPECT THAT OUR JOB WILL GET TOUGHER BUT THAT GOD’S GRACE WILL ALWAYS BE SUFFICIENT! He has never failed us! Though professing Christian pretenders are preaching “another Gospel” that is not pure—GOD’S WORD WILL NOT FAIL! Though the church world is filled with compromise with the flesh, accommodation with the world, and the deceptions of the devil—GOD’S TRUTH IS MARCHING ON! Though wicked men will grow worse and worse, though evil men will try to strangle God’s messengers, and though the enemy will incite fierce persecution against us—WE WILL NOT BEND, WE WILL NOT BOW, AND LIKE THE HEBREW CHILDREN, WE WILL NOT BURN!
As the 87 year old John Wesley lay dying in London, surrounded by his friends and family, he rallied one last time and proclaimed in an unusually strong voice, “BEST OF ALL GOD IS WITH US!” Praise God! FINALLY I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT OUR FAITH IN THE FUTURE IS NOT FOUNDED ON THE EMPTY PROMISES OF MEN, BUT ON HIM WHO GAVE US THE EMPTY TOMB! We rejoice that indeed the wrong will fail, and the right will prevail! GOD IS WITH US.
Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
But the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never ‘gainst that church prevail;
We have Christ's own promise, that can never fail.