The primary ministry emphasis for me currently is chaplaincy. Click here to read about that. While not currently on staff at a church or denominational office, I continue to fill pulpits for churches when their pastors are out. I have been blessed to preach at the following locations:
- Road2Damascus Church in Damascus, OR (now in Boring, OR)
- Greater Damascus Church in Damascus, OR (Now Trinity in Happy Valley, OR)
- Sunnyside Community Church in Damascus, OR
- Hollyview Family Fellowship in Damascus, OR
- Orient Drive Baptist Church in Boring, OR
- Solid Rock Baptist Church, Happy Valley, OR
- Clackamas Valley Baptist Church in Estacada, OR
- Burnside Baptist Church in Portland, OR
- Lincoln Street Baptist Church in Portland, OR
- Peninsula Baptist Church in Portland, OR
- Mill Park Baptist Church in Portland, OR
- Lower Highland Bible Church, Beavercreek, OR
- Parkdale Baptist in Parkdale, OR
- Amity First Baptist in Amity, OR
- Emmanuel Baptist Church in The Dalles, OR
- Columbia Avenue Baptist Church in Goldendale, WA
- 1st Baptist Church Bingen, WA
- 1st Baptist Church Sultan, WA
- Oak View Baptist Church in Irving, TX
- Duncanville’s First Baptist Church in Duncanville, TX
- Silverlake Baptist Church, Silverlake, TX
While I officiate weddings and funerals and am available to serve in that way, I generally prefer to defer those needs to a local church pastor when possible.
I look forward to walking with God wherever He leads in the future as well. For other ministry opportunities I am available for, click here.
The story of God at work in my life:
“I’m so glad I’m a part of the Family of God”
I was born to parents who helped start a new church in a rural area of Illinois where the Chicago suburbs were starting to spread to. The grandson of a CMA pastor, denominational leader, educational administration one one side of my family, and the grandson of hard working immigrant farmers who were so proud of their heritage (and even more proud of his new citizenship in the USA!) on the other side of the family.
Is it any wonder that I should feel an early bent towards other cultures and languages, or towards Christian ministry even when it means the hard work of doing most of it as a bi-vocational ministry or lay leader?
Click here to read about how I became a believer in Jesus Christ. That is the beginning of so much, including my ministry.
To keep from boring you with too much prior to these past ten years, suffice it to say I started off as a Sunday School teacher of 6th graders when I was 18. I became a intern for a youth minister (1st Baptist Lakeland, FL), later served as an interim youth minister (1st Baptist Duncanville, TX) and later a pastor of an inner city church plant (Willowbend Baptist Church) in Irving, TX.
Between those, I was ordained as a one of the youngest deacons ever at 1st Baptist Duncanville. They also licensed me to the ministry when I served as their campus minister to a local college which I later graduated from.
Served as a youth worker, Sunday School teacher, chaired various committees etc and enjoyed serving as a Deacon as well. I served as a chaplain for a retirement home in the community. Later I was asked by a former professor or mine to consider being an interim preacher in the quaint East Texas town of Silver Lake where I served for a couple of years. My love of languages had led me to an English degree, but the great bible and theology classes I was taking as electives, led me to pursue a second major as well
My scholarship from the Baptist General Convention of Texas required me to sign an agreement that I would use my educational skills in lifelong ministry, or pay back the money they spent on me. Frankly, I could never think of not being involved somehow in ministry, even though that may never be my primary means of making a living. Spent a year at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 21 hours towards an M.Div, as a requirement for the International Mission Board, but for health reasons that door closed. Studying evangelism under Dr. Roy Fish was one of the highlights of that year for me.
Sloan Institute for Church Planting
A few years later, I was blessed to be part of a four man team that God used to usher in the beginning of a church planting movement in Chiapas. While my part was insignificant in many ways, my heart would never be the same. The poorest state in Mexico, and the place with the heaviest persecution of Christians in the western hemisphere, Chiapas has seen scores of churches have been started and thousands have come to know Christ. To read about my close friend and partner in ministry, Gary Sloan, and the impact he and Gloria had on Chiapas, click here or here.
New Orleans mission trip just before moving to Oregon
Less than a month before moving, our family had the privilege of helping Lane Corely (a friend who pastored in Irving in the same network that Gary Sloan and I pastored) kick off his new church plant in New Hope, Louisiana. That was before he became the church plant strategist for the 90+ church strong Northshore Baptist Association in his area.
A wreck, a layoff, and the move of a lifetime!
Fast forward to 2002. God uses a terrible wreck (18 wheeler his us, cops said we should have died), and post 911 layoffs where I worked to let us live out our dream of moving to our favorite vacation destination, Oregon, with the intention of helping to plant new churches. With no promise of jobs, but a God we knew we could trust in, we moved the family to Gresham so we could be part of a church we understood to be interested in planting new churches. We were excited to help with a block party our first week here, as we had participated in many evangelistic block parties in Louisiana Mexico, and Texas where we had seen many come to Christ and churches planted out of some of those. While this block party was not very evangelistic, it was good wholesome fun for our family and a great way to meet new friends, and our 9 yr old Bethany even won a great new bicycle!
Knowing I moved here with the intent of doing ministry, Pastor Keith Evans soon asked me to serve as a chaplain at the TA truck stop in Troutdale, just off of Interstate 84. I worked with the the one man doing that job, and together we built a team of men who could take turns bringing a message and then on music as well. After a couple of years, God led a man to us who wanted to do this full time, a man who had a background in trucking and a real heart to share Christ with truckers.
Gordon Story went on to become our full time chaplain just in time for me to back out of that ministry so I could concentrate on planting a new church in Damascus, Oregon.
Church planting in PDX
In 2005, while helping Greater Gresham develop an evangelism strategy at the pastor’s request, I got an agreement from our former church in Irving, TX to bring a mission team to do evangelism projects the following summer in July of 2006. I had been gently pressing the church’s leadership to plant their first church and knew that church planting would be part of any evangelism strategy for a church that was serious about planting the gospel. I wanted this team from Texas, seasoned in sharing the Gospel and seasoned in doing block parties, vacation Bible schools, and backyard Bible camps to be of assistance to some of the church planters in the greater Portland/Vancouver area. To a man though, each of them turned down my offer to provide them with a team for a week, a team that would already have their transportation, housing, and meals taken care of. Scheduling conflicts etc. So I called Rob Pengra, the church planting strategist for Southern Baptist churches in our area (and on staff at the Interstate Baptist Association) what to do since “his” church planters were not interested in such a great offer. He said, “What about Damascus?“. I had been in a discussion with him and Pastor Keith several years prior about that location, and knew exactly what he meant. The Macedonian vision came right to mind. I called my friend Bevan McWhirter, church planting guru for the Northwest Baptist Convention and he agreed.
Trinity Church is Born
On the Fourth of July, 2006, the team from Oak View Baptist Church in Irving, TX came to be based in Gresham for a week of ministry, concentrating on an evangelistic block party in Damascus and several backyard bible clubs there as well. Seeing that the spiritual ground was fertile, Greater Gresham’s leadership agreed to start a church in Damascus, that church would later be called Trinity Church.
A Pastor, Clay Holcomb, is found!
I served along with two Greater Gresham staff members (Pastor Keith Evans and Joe Flegal) and another future member of Trinity church (Kay Taylor) on a pastor search committee for over a year while I led bible studies on Sunday nights at a coffee shop in Damascus and developed relationships with people in that lovely town. Finally, I sent a personalized letter to every Southern Baptist seminary in the US; one to each seminary president and one to the director of the church planting and/or evangelism department. I got a lot of nice “We’ll be praying for you brother” letters, and then I got one from the church planting department at New Orleans Seminary. It said they may have our man, but they’d hate to see him leave the great work he is doing down there. That man, Clay Holcomb, ended up coming to buy into our vision of planting churches that plant churches, and now not is on staff at Trinity Church but was recently hired as the church planting strategist for the Northwest Baptist Convention in roughly the same area as Rob Pengra once held that similar position at the Interstate Baptist Association. Bevan has since retired and became our interim pastor. We are now pastored by a great guy named Rusty Massey. Rob Pengra later went to Thailand as an IMB missionary, one of many our church supports through the Cooperative Program, and is now pastoring a Thai church in Portland.
A 2nd church planting opportunity opens up as well.
Before Clay came to Oregon, my friend Danny Griffin, at that time on an extended temporary position with Greater Gresham as their evangelism strategist, discovered an old church building in NE Portland that was about to be sold off by the Interstate Baptist Association. Danny and I met with leaders from these two denominational groups to discuss what might be done to avert that sale of the property, and to plant a new church in it. Our talks led to an idea of pitching the idea to Greater Gresham Baptist Church, and while costly repairs would be needed we were able to come up with a workable plan, and in time Greater Gresham bought into the plan. Clay Holcomb later oversaw that project as well. Much has been done to the old Mt. Zion Baptist Church building to make it useful, and now a new church ministers there.
Later I would be asked to serve as a moderator for the Interstate Baptist Association, you can read about that in the Non Profit section of this site. I did that for a few years and stepped down to clear up time to become a chaplain to more effectively reach the area around Damascus. In 2014 I was asked to serve on the Executive Committee of the Board for Northwest Baptist Convention which I felt I could balance with my chaplaincy and other obligations. Part of my responsibility is serving on the Church Planting committee.
A Hispanic Congregation Boring/Sandy
I had been praying about how to start a new Hispanic congregation in the Sandy/Boring area of Oregon. A few of yrs ago a man who did not speak English came to Orient Drive Baptist Church where nobody spoke Spanish. As God would have it, a young lady was home from college and also visited this same day and was able to translate for the man. He gave his life to Christ, and his family and friend started visiting. Several more have since come to Christ as a result, and my friend Pastor Rick wanted to help reach this local growing language group. God has done many great things to prep the ground for this ministry, and as we were praying for God to send the right leadership to launch that new work, an established Hispanic work nearby had a difficult situation which led to some of them starting a new church – – Orient Drive turned out to be a great place for them to grow. Gloria a Diós!
I look forward to what door God opens up next to be part of planting new works in the Portland area. Chaplaincy is where I pour most of my ministry effort, so I wonder if somehow God will use that in planting a new church someday. God knows, I must simply listen and obey.