To Greatness from Humble Beginnings
25th Anniversary of the Word of Faith Ministries, Inc.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” (Zechariah 4:10 NLT)
The Humble Beginnings
If you think about it, some of the greatest accomplishments of dreams and goals began as a thought, followed by a rather small, tentative and perhaps, simple step of faith. That was the case with the Word of Faith Ministries, Inc. In August 1989, after 8 years in Atlanta, my family and I relocated. We moved to middle Georgia in the southeastern United States, only with the promise in God’s Word which says, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40 ESV) At the time we did not know what the promise was for. But we later came to believe that it was for the birth and subsequent growth of the Word of Faith Ministries, Inc.
In Atlanta we were members of a dynamic Word-based church. And when we left Atlanta our intention was not in any way to start a ministry, even though we had felt for some time that God was calling us into some type of ministry. Upon arrival in middle Georgia, we discovered that things were different here than they were in Atlanta. Unlike Atlanta, there were no churches that we knew of that taught the principles of faith like we were accustomed to in Atlanta.
One day I met a colleague in the school at which I was teaching. When I found out that she was a spirit-filled Christian, I asked her where she attended church so that my family and I could visit. She said that she was not a member of any church at the time. Then I discovered that, like me, she was searching for a church which she could join. During our conversation she asked where I lived. I said that I lived in Milledgeville, Georgia. She told me that she knew another spirit-filled believer in Milledgeville that she met when she was in college. “Why don’t we get together and have a Bible study once a week?” she asked. We both agreed to do so.
Not long after we met, I ran into another colleague who was from Iowa. Like me this colleague was also new to this area and like me he was also spiritually hungry but could not find a church in which he felt comfortable to worship. He also agreed to join us in the Bible study. The Bible study was to meet in our house on the lake in Putnam County, Georgia and I was to lead the studies.
We met in our living room for the first Bible study in early December of 1989, with six adults and two children. In about a month we had over thirty people crowded in our small living room listening to me explain the concepts of faith the best way I could. Before we knew it there were so many people coming to the Bible study and so many coming to the knowledge of the Lord in Bible study. Many were filled with the Holy Spirit and others testified of physical healing. At one point I was so busy with preparation, teaching, and counseling the new believers that I knew I could not handle this in addition to my teaching in secular school. We started to pray for direction and at the end of the school year I decided not to renew my teaching contract but rather to go into full-time teaching ministry.
Incidentally, as soon as I quit my secular job and decided to go into full-time ministry, most of the Bible study members stopped coming to the Bible study. Word came to us that rumors were spreading that I quit my job to depend on the group for my financial support. In fact, it came to a point that on some Wednesdays Enobong, my wife, and I were the only people meeting for the Bible study. Nonetheless, we refused to be discouraged or to quit because we knew that, despite challenges, we were in God’s will. As we continued being faithful the Lord opened the door for us to teach a Monday evening group of people who had been filled with the Holy Spirit but were praying for God to send someone to teach them the principles of faith. It was in that group that I met a lawyer who later helped us incorporate the Word of Faith Ministries. Inc. So on June 20, 1990 we launched The Word of Faith ministries, Inc. with a makeshift office in our home.
40 Acres and Still Growing!
After incorporating and launching the ministry we prayed for an office. The Lord provided a small rent-free building in downtown Eatonton which we were able to use. (We have since added to that building, which is presently our administrative building in downtown Eatonton, Georgia). Then we prayed for a means of transport and the Lord also miraculously provided our first van – a Ford Aerostar van – which enabled us travel from city to city in the United States to share the word of faith the best way we understood it.
Meanwhile, we had started a lunchtime Bible study in the front office which soon grow to the point that we needed a larger space. We moved the Bible study meeting day to Thursday evenings so that we could meet at the Senior Citizen’s Center in Eatonton that opened their activity room to meet. From the senior citizen center we moved to the library as the group grew. Pretty soon, we moved to another building.
By 1992 some people had expressed a desire for us to start meeting on Sundays for worship, fellowship, and more studies. After much prayer and waiting the Lord led us to two and a half acres of a pecan farm with an old single-wide modular home and a little house on the same property. With His help we purchased this piece of property for thirty thousand dollars and paid off the mortgage in two years. On November 26, 1994 we held the first service of Abundant Life Word Fellowship in the space provided when we removed the wall that separated the master bedroom from the front room in the modular home. We renovated the small house on the property and used it for the children’s ministry.
At the beginning of 1997 it became clear that we needed a larger building for the ministry and with God’s help we were able to obtain a bank loan to construct a 5,400 square feet sanctuary on the two and half acres of land to house the Abundant Life Word Fellowship – an outreach ministry of The Word of Faith Ministries. Inc. The new building housed the sanctuary, the bookstore, a fellowship hall, the pastor’s office, and a kitchen. On December 6, 1997 we dedicated the building to God’s glory and held the first service in the newly constructed building.
Things were going relatively well and peaceful when in 2005 we had a letter from the Georgia Department of Transportation that we would have to move our church to another location because of the State of Georgia’s plan to expand Highway 441 to a four-lane road as opposed to the two-lane road it had been for years. We protested vehemently, knowing what it took for us to find that piece of land and how much we invested in it in order to develop it. But in spite of the protest and petitions, the state insisted that we move. After months of negotiations, the State of Georgia bought us out and we were able to buy, rebuild, and move to forty acres of land…which we paid cash for! Today our paved parking lot alone is larger than the total space we had in the previous location.
Onward and Upward
From the little group that studied the word in the living room of our small home, the Word of Faith Ministries has grown to an international ministry which is now reaching people globally. With our YouTube broadcast, The Living Word Magazine, our CD and DVD ministries, and several books, we can reach thousands of people all over the word each weekday with the word of faith. Our next project is a thirty thousand-square-foot complex that will house the sanctuary, ministry offices, the School of Ministry and the Early Learning Center.
We are thankful to God and to all of our partners who have made it possible for us to pursue the call of God and to do the things we have done over these past 25 years. We are ecstatic about what the Lord is doing and we look forward to another 25 years of ministry.