(23/4) Opinions: Men That Influenced My Life
by Linda Schreckenberg
James Poitras, St. Louis, MO –
Each stage of my life and ministry brings its own man of God into my life. First of all, one must be willing to allow a man of God to speak into his/her life. Finding such a man is something that should be done deliberately and intentionally. God brings such people into your life. Everyone needs a pastor. Everyone needs an encourager. And everyone needs to be involved in mentoring or passing truth to the next generation.
My mentoring of a young man 16 years ago turned into a reverse mentoring process. Even today, that man speaks into my life and is my accountability partner. Age is not the primary consideration for a man of God in your life. I have several in my life who have greatly impacted my ministry; men of God that leave me a better Christian after interaction and meeting together. I call these my “kitchen cabinet” and consult them when making important decisions in my life. It is imperative and pivotal to have mentors and heroes of the faith. If we fail to pass Apostolic truth to the next generation, Christianity can become extinct. My personal vision, calling and mandate of II Timothy 2:2 is to educate, equip, empower and encourage the next generation of members, ministers and missionaries.
Andrew T. Urshan, St. Peters, MO –
My late father, Bishop Jonathan Urshan, has had the greatest impact on my life and ministry. Devoted to ministry as he was, he made the importance of his family a high priority. In ministry, he was an example of consistency in his doctrinal beliefs and holiness, regardless of cultural pressures. A student of the Word, he encouraged study of the Word and valued teaching as well as preaching. He emphasized depth alongside passion in preaching.
Privileged to be pastored by Bro. T. L. Craft, I saw passion, vision and faith. Bro. David Reever and Bro. Darrell Johns were great examples in youth ministry. Under Pastor Paul Mooney, I saw a tenacious defender of Apostolic precepts and identity. Ministers in my family, including my brother, Pastor Jon Urshan and others, have had an impact on my ministry. The late Bro. N.A. Urshan and Bro. David Bernard have also been honorable examples to me.
Howard Pastorella, Destrehan, LA –
Identifying the most influential man on my personal ministry is a difficult task. A close look at my UPCI ministerial licenses reveal the fingerprints of at least 13 fellow ministers who have been both inspiring and influential to my overall ministry. Two of the most important men are Bro. W.W. Smith of Pinehurst, TX and Tommy S. Parker of Metairie, LA. I have known these two men of God for 31 of the 40 years of my Christian life. They taught me the three most important components of ministry: prayer, praise and people. My admonition to all younger ministers is that they attach themselves to their pastors and become a Joshua or an Elisha to them. Leading always starts from the position of a good follower.
Bradford M. Robinson, Belton, MO –
I would say Bro. W.C. Parkey, my pastor in Kansas City, most influenced my ministry. He led Gateway College in St. Louis, MO while I attended there, and my wife and I assisted him for a period of time. He was a preacher's friend and led by example. Not afraid to voice his stance on matters concerning the church, he believed the message and engraved that in my heart and life. He is by far one of the greatest heroes of the faith. I feel it is of utmost importance for a young man to have a mentor to seek Godly advice and direction.
Jerry L. Burns, Rio Rancho, NM –
Missionary Evangelist Billy Cole took my wife and I under his wing in 1971 after we had been married for only two weeks. We traveled the width and breadth of the USA holding Holy Ghost rallies and saw over 600 receive the Holy Spirit infilling. He poured himself into us, teaching us to pray and imparted things in the Spirit.
Mentoring, training and lessons learned have served us well through 42 years of ministry. We followed his example, pouring ourselves into dozens of young men and women around the world. Our church is a mentoring and training center, sending laborers into the "harvest."
Others impacting our ministry include the late Bro. James Burton, Bro. Harry Scism and Bro. Edwin Judd. They took a special interest in developing our missionary ministry. To be successful in ministry, one must submit himself/herself to someone.
Rick Lovall, Sikeston, MO –
The man who most influenced my ministry was my pastor, Bro. Fred Ruff of Apostolic Faith UPC in Mountain Home, AR. He taught me how to feed the sheep through dynamic "treaching." For example: even if the core of the message is directed to a select few, it is the minister's responsibility to make sure everyone learns something.
Another great influence to my ministry is Bro. Ron Patrick, Assistant Pastor at Northside UPC in Ft. Smith, AR, and former Arkansas Youth Committee member. He taught me how to speak "a word in a season" to those who may be struggling. His voice brought clarity to my life and ministry.
Whether it’s mentoring, training or doctrinal instruction, all young ministers need elders speaking into their lives. Show me a man without a voice of wisdom and understanding in his life, and I'll show you a man void of clarity and direction. Sheep were not designed to be self-pastored. Even as shepherds, we cannot forget that we are sheep, too.
Jeff Wells, Bernie, MO –
My dad, Bro. Don Wells, who pastored Nazarene churches for over 35 years, had the most influence in my ministry. Raised in a pastor’s home, I had always been intrigued with the ministry. Although there are stark differences in our doctrine today, I always admired the diligence and commitment he gave to the congregations he pastored. Other men who made a great impact in my ministry were Bro. Maxwell Lewis, my pastor when I first received the Holy Ghost, and my father-in-law as well. After being raised in a denominational church, his insights into Apostolic ministry were invaluable to me. Another, whose ministerial experience and friendship has been a blessing to me, is Bro. Gary Legg, who pastors in Hannibal, MO.
Mentors are vital to our lives. Having perspective from someone in your life who has “been there and done that” can be helpful in assisting you through the winding road of ministry.
Timothy Lee, Cape Girardeau, MO –
Bro. Ron Lappin, my pastor from Greenville, NC, most influenced my ministry. When I came to church at age 17, with ripped-up blue jeans and no money in my pocket, he loved me and taught me the Word of God, showing me by example how to teach Bible studies and effectively live for God. Bro. Wayne Huntley also greatly impacted my ministry. As a young minister, I looked to his preaching for encouragement and desired his qualities of passion and dedication. It is very important for young ministers to have someone to pattern their lives after.
Building a Better Church
by Various Authors
Building a Better Church
Rev. Jeff Thomas - Indianapolis, Indiana
If I were to suggest a change in the building process, it would be that the church should start earlier. There is a tendency on the part of pastors to think they can design a building and begin construction in a shorter time than is realistic. It takes time to develop plans, estimate costs and then apply for the finances and permits. It can be at least a year from the time you decide to build until you actually break ground. Therefore, fund-raising often hasn't been in place long enough to cover the cost.
Also, pastors often put too much weight on what they can do themselves or what can be donated by church lay members. And so, when there are delays in the project, even though you have volunteers doing the work, the delays result into increased costs.
If pastors try to rush a project, they end up with a design that is not thoroughly conceived. And there could be alternative - less expensive - methods of construction that have not been considered.
Finally, some pastors seem to think that they can supervise the construction themselves. They don't realize the amount of time involved in being a project superintendent and pastor both. Pastors have enough decisions to make in the building process; they really don't have time to supervise it also.
Rev. B. D. Maracich - Utica, New York
Here are some points that I've learned are critical to building a new facility:
First, the pastor must have the total support of the church. The church must feel as though they need to build, and really want a new building.
Secondly, people often fail to realize the amount of money required to finish a project. I see some building too big, others building too small. Be sure you know what you need and whether you have the resources available to build it.
Another common problem is that some churches won't pay for a good location and, therefore, end up with poor visibility. Remember, your building can be a strong factor in attracting new souls. Location is critical.
Also, develop a good long-range site plan. You can save considerable money by putting in the water, gas and sewer T's now that you will need later on when you expand.
Utilities are a substantial expense in most churches. Therefore, consider ways to save on your heating and cooling costs. We elected to install water source heat pumps and insulate heavily. It didn't cost that much more, yet this will save us money for years to come.
Finally, put some thought into, and budget for, sound and lighting. This is an area we have neglected for years. Plan for future, as well as immediate, sound and lighting needs.
Rev. William H. Nix - Ypsilanti, Michigan
Our new building seats about 500. I suggest following:
1) Contract out as much as possible.
2) Allow plenty of time to build it.
3) Consider building a large gymnasium and use it for a sanctuary until you can afford a formal sanctuary. We call ours a gym-auditorium because we have several functions we use it for.
Rev. Bob Baglin - Kerman, California
We built our current building which seats 240 and is about 6,000 square feet. I would suggest that you not get in a hurry when building. Also, get as much counsel as possible from other pastors. Finally, count the cost.
Rev. A. P. Tamel - Oak Creek, Wisconsin
Some innovative ideas we have used are to have a sound room that is open to the sanctuary, a large altar area, separate men's and women's baptisteries and prayer rooms, and a book store with a shopping mall type layout.
Rev. Harold Hoffman - Sterling Heights, Michigan
Nothing kills revival like excessive debt. If you can't afford to build, don't. Getting in over your head will break you emotionally. I've been through three building programs. You need a good architect, engineer, lawyer, and a bank where you have a good credit. Finally, take whatever you think you will spend and add 20%.
Paul T. McClure - Melbourne, Florida
First, build with an eye on future expansion. Choose a design that allows you to move a few walls and increase seating capacity. We are building a "gymnatorium" now and our main sanctuary later on.
Second, remember that new federal regulations for handicapped accessibility apply to churches.
Rev. Jack DeHart - Irving, Texas
I have been involved in three building projects. Our current building holds over 750. If I had to build again, I would allow for a lot more platform space. Also, it's a mistake for the membership to get too involved in the actual construction. It takes away from the main goal of the church, which is soul-winning.
(from IBC Perspectives - Volume 3 - Issue 3 - page 2)