Some church leaders labor through their entire careers without seeing the fruit of their work, and may even feel they’ve made no difference at all. John Pendley, of Casper, Wyoming, has been blessed to work for God for many years and see children he discipled grow into strong young leaders themselves.
John’s initial dream was to attend the Black Hills College of Evangelism, but he could never afford it. Ironically, after John was unexpectedly laid off when the 2008 economic crisis began, God provided the means for him to attend Amazing Facts College of Evangelism. His goal of becoming an evangelist was within reach when, upon graduating, John was offered a position as a traveling evangelist for the Amazing Facts ministry team. However, John was convicted that this lifestyle would be rough for his four teenaged boys, so he decided to take what he had learned and work in his own back yard.
Returning to Casper, John plunged headlong into ministry, teaching a young adult Sabbath school class and Drilling and Marching for the Pathfinder Club. John is still in touch with many of “his kids.” Two are among his closest friends, and one is the leader of Men’s Ministries at the Casper Church. John works alongside Tom Mcdonald in almost every step of his ministry, watching someone he taught teach others.
In 2012 John began reviving a languishing Sunday morning men’s small group prayer and Bible study. This core group of 12-15 men constantly generates ideas for ministry, such as hosting a formal Mother’s Day brunch, and moving families with a trailer and many willing hands.
At a meeting last October, someone expressed a burden to teach others about technology. Two men quickly started planning the Adventist Tech Talk Seminar that our church hosted in January covering AudioVerse, Ellen White apps, website and CD-Rom, and the Sabbath school app and website.
Next an idea began stirring to create an opportunity for everyone to experience the fresh and simple worship with God that the men were experiencing on Sunday mornings. It took several months of planning and preparation, but ENCOUNTER finally began last October.
The vision is to seek a fresh encounter with God, in which Jesus is lifted up and we become more like Him. The format is simple, with a Christ-centered message followed by time for reflection and concluding with praise. Even with the early Sabbath morning meeting time, there are nearly 40 in regular attendance. John, who directs the program, says, “Many or few, we are grateful for another opportunity to walk, and talk, and share more about Jesus!”
Recently the Casper Church decided to hire a part-time Bible worker. Several people interviewed for the job, but on the day the committee was to make a decision, John offered to take the job for free. His action inspired other volunteers and spearheaded a weekly outreach training each Sunday.
John has also started a program to train members to be lay preachers and small group study leaders. Three young couples who just moved to the area are all fired up for evangelism. Since beginning these workshops, several men have been preaching God’s Word at other churches on their own dime and their own time.
There are many fantastic leaders across the state, the country, and the world. What makes them good leaders is their ability to disciple others for Christ. Every good leader is led by a good leader, and Christ is the best leader in Creation’s history.
John won’t take credit for all he does for the church and for God. In fact, he credits so many people that space limits their mention. The wonderful thing is that everyone has the opportunity to work for God through the power of God and His Word.
Rachel Ashworth is a member of the Casper (WY) Church and a regular blogger for outlookmag.org. Check out her blog.