“What comes to mind when you think of creation?”
I ask you, dear reader, what comes to your mind when you think of creation? Perhaps Genesis 1:1 or the book of Genesis as a whole, or maybe some aspect of nature itself, or perhaps one of several excellent creation ministries that exist today? Would you not think this question to be a rather general, basic, and easy one?
If you have followed this blog series, you know some of the intricacies in relationships that we have had with a couple of pastors, one in NC and one in UT. If you’ve made it thus far without thinking that we have an “axe to grind,” bless you! This segment is especially designed to help folk see where we’re coming from and our purposes in writing what eventually may turn into a book! For the Bible-believing, church attenders out there, please know that there really is a dearth of creation information, foundational truth in the land of “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” Reading this segment will hopefully communicate just an inkling of that dearth as I share a broader perspective.
Honestly, I have learned SO much more of creation and apologetics after my formal Christian education, with college training at Pensacola Christian College (1982-1986) and in high school (1977-1982) at Tabernacle Christian School in Hickory, NC. It really wasn’t until I served as an assistant pastor at Faith Baptist in Shelbyville, TN (1994-1997) that we were introduced to creation truth via a creation evangelist. While we didn’t buy anything from his book table, the two messages we heard during those years were like sown seeds that later would be watered and grow.
Married only 5 months, we left NC to serve in youth and music ministry at Faith Baptist in Shelbyville, TN. After 3 years there, we left to travel with an evangelist friend whom I’d known since high school days, Evangelist Dave Kistler. It was during our time of itinerant ministry with his family (1997-1999) that we served at one church that had a library with the set of videos from that same evangelist we’d heard in TN! We borrowed the tapes and began watching them. As a result, we ended up making copies for others. As we heard the presentations repeatedly, we began to be burdened for creation ministry and especially how we could reach young people with foundational truth!
“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
As a result of information we began learning while in TN, the LORD burdened us to begin “Creation Family Ministries” (2000), a ministry using creation to turn hearts to the Creator.
“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
We began a series of VBS themes with a subject favorite to many, especially children: dinosaurs! Our first theme was DinoMight (2000), the next, Mountain Mysteries (2001), then Secrets of the Sea (2002), Wilderness Wonders (2003), and Jungle Tales (2004). The more we learned from a variety of sources to prepare for children in a VBS setting, the more we began to see the need to reach adults. After all, what better way to reach young people long-term than to help the adults who are tasked with teaching them all year long?
As we developed a new theme each year, our scope broadened and our burden grew! We soon added an effort to encourage pastors by sponsoring a Leaders Luncheon along with the conferences, which included a packet of take-home information. Tons of effort went into these events, that we envisioned could go on to multiple states or areas around the country! Since 2008, the LORD has allowed us to hold a variety of such conference events in NC, VA, and TN, bringing in special speakers from different solid ministries such as Echoes of Eden, Institute for Creation Research, or Biblical Discipleship Ministries. In addition, we’ve been blessed to have the creation museum of Creation Truth Foundation and even a creationist animal handler!
For things to develop further, we realized that there would need to be more people involved…and more money! The thought was, as more and more pastors saw the need for creation truth and “connected the dots” of apologetics to the people in the pews, they’d want to help sponsor the conference ministry of CFM (now called SET: Strengthening believers, Engaging unbelievers, Training others). However, more people and more money has yet to come to fruition…
Why? How could pastors ignore something so basic as the need for foundational truth? It all goes back to the question I asked at the beginning. We had been experiencing more and more opposition from the new pastor of our (then) home church, so I began to wonder how I could find out where he was coming from. So, I pondered awhile on a particular question to ask, a rather generic and unbiased one, and that was, “What comes to mind when you think of creation?” The pause afterward seemed like an eternity as I waited and the pastor carefully weighed his words. Complete silence for 30 seconds or more is long in a conversation. After perhaps 45 seconds, he finally said:
Nothing. Hmm…NOTHING?! That non-answer-answer, being overlooked in the moment of me trying to build a case for a creation conference and thinking of what I needed to say next, later loomed extremely large in my mind as I contemplated his apparent lack of knowledge and understanding of creation and the need for creation teaching and preaching (apologetics). As a result, we began to wonder more and more, “How could we base a creation ministry here with such a pastor who is this ignorant of creation and its foundational importance, and not only ignorant but we were seeing to be antagonistic? What’s most uncanny and saddening in all of this we found out that this pastor had taught Bible to pastoral students in a Bible college (Crown College)! May the LORD help his former students!
Next, “The Last Year”