After arriving in Phoenix, AZ, I ended up as an insurance salesman and was soon asked by the State manager if I would take over their office in Tucson. Here I was, 27 yrs. old, never before really working in the business environment, and now I was being asked to go into a management position.
Because our new church had been praying to open up a church in Tucson, this seemed like a perfect setup. I could take care of my work obligations during the day, and some evenings, and then pursue my deeper longing of being involved with ministry work. 1979 looked to be a great year, bright with such wonderful possibilities.
Needless to say, the year we spent in Tucson was a year of brokenness in so many ways. Every effort to get the church started failed miserably, and the management requirements were increasing monthly. Jeanne had become pregnant and delivered our third son, Christopher, in the fall of 1979.
Because we had a base of two incomes at the time, Jeanne had to quit work to take care of the newborn. My income was just not sufficient to sustain our family after a while. The State Manager of the insurance company knew of our situation and asked if I would consider moving back to Phoenix to take over an independent agency from an agent who was leaving the business.
Jeanne and I prayed over this quite a bit. And we came to the conclusion that this was God’s way of bringing us back to the original vision of supporting the work back in Phoenix.
After moving back to Phoenix, I ended up leading worship at the church. I also taught a weekly home Bible Study up in Scottsdale. But after a year of trying to get a church started, and with few if any people showing up on Sundays, it was so refreshing just to be back in the midst of a healthy church, being fed the Word of God.
Then in 1981, a surprising development occurred. We had heard that there were Christians in the north part of Phoenix who were longing for a home Bible study up in their area. Our church was down in south Phoenix, and most of those folks didn’t want to venture down into the south part of town, especially at night.
So Pastor John Higgins and I would trek up to north Phoenix at the home of Jim Looney (who is now Pastor of Calvary Chapel of Scottsdale) on a Thursday night, Sept. 17, 1981. John would give the study, and I would lead the worship. After a couple of weeks, John’s schedule began to have major conflicts with this time slot, and I ended up teaching the study.
Week after week new people were coming to the home, just to be fed the Word of God. There were significant troubles brewing all across churches in the north valley of Phoenix at the time. At the end of three months we had forty people coming to the home on Thursday nights.
George Rayburn, who was working for Southwest Restaurants at the time, knew one of the men attending the study. He mentioned to him that the company would love to have our group use one of their restaurants on Sunday mornings for a church service, since their restaurants didn’t open up until 5 pm on Sundays.
We chuckled a bit over the prospect, prayed over the opportunity, and believed that it was an open door from the Lord. So on Sunday morning, November 15, 1981, Calvary Chapel North Phoenix officially began. I was made pastor and three godly men (Jim Looney, Steve Talkington, and Will Brown) who had been there from the first study were appointed as our first elders.
During our many years in Phoenix, we have raised our family of three boys. I’ve had the privilege of performing the wedding ceremonies of all three of them, got to see them involved with Christian ministry and service and have been blessed to have spent loads of time with our grandchildren.
Jeanne and I have been blessed beyond measure in so many ways. Our desire is that somehow, our latter years will be more fruitful than our former years. This has led us to turn over the church, Calvary Chapel North Phoenix, to our second son, Jesse. We are now serving other pastors and wives through the POIMEN MINISTRIES (Poimen is a Greek word for ‘shepherd’ or ‘pastor’).
Jeanne and I now live in Exeter, England. I am pastoring a small church in Exeter (Calvary Chapel Exeter). We still continue to minister and help other pastors and wives here in the UK and Europe as the time allows.
Here is a collection of a few of the songs written during the years I’ve been in Phoenix:
I SURRENDER:from Closer to God ‘85
AT THE START OF EACH NEW DAY:from Arizona Praise ‘90from Throne Room Ballads ‘91
YOU’VE ACCEPTED ME:from Arizona Praise ‘90
IF YE BE RISEN UP WITH CHRIST (COL. 3):from Throne Room Ballads ‘91
ANCHOR OF MY SOUL:from Arizona Praise II ‘92from Live “Over the Years” Concert ‘95
WORDS OF LOVE:from Live “Over the Years” Concert ‘95