“I think the most important thing is to keep a constant soul consciousness in the church,” says Bro. Robert Martin, pastor of Voice of Pentecost Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and General Superintendent of Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ (ALJC). “Everyone is a witness, everyday. It’s not an activity; it’s a lifestyle.”

Pastor Martin believes a pastor’s priorities “should be placed in developing like-minded leaders. As they develop they will be an extension of you and your philosophy in every department and ministry of the church. Having regular meetings with church leaders is of primary importance in order to ensure unity of purpose and to measure successes and failures.”

Encourage Increase
“To increase church attendance we encourage the teaching of home Bible studies. We have many people involved in this ministry. Also, our young people are actively involved in Bible studies – several teach Bible studies in their public schools, and our students have started student ministry at LSU (Louisiana State University) and participate in group meetings at other universities. Everyone we reach may not attend our church because of distances, preferences, etc., but we teach a kingdom concept — the kingdom is larger than any local assembly. If any church is having revival, we are all having revival.”

Pastor Martin continues. “We also encourage our people to constantly invite friends and family members to church. Every month we will have at least one ‘special’ activity tailor made for guests. Any guest that comes will be inundated with handshakes and greetings. We are known for our friendliness. Everyone is someone special here.”

Encourage Involvement
Pastor Martin believes simple encouragement is necessary for increasing involvement. “Constantly speak of Bible studies being taught, visitors that come because of them, and so on. Speak of the blessings of involvement. We tend to have more that want to be involved for the positions available. So we encourage Bible studies as a threshold of involvement. Everyone can witness and teach a Bible study.”

Voice of Pentecost Church has several ministries including, “Student Ministry (local church youth ministry, but also including high school and college organizations), KidzQuest Ministry, Women’s Esprit Ministry, Menistry (men’s ministry), PrimeTimers (50+), Overcomers (divorced and widowed; those facing great difficulties), Tender Touch (follow-up ministry), Outreach (Bible studies, etc.), Married Life (especially for young marrieds), NEXT (college and career), Hispanic Ministry (they have their own services), and World Missions Ministry (constant support for missions, with visits by missionaries on a regular basis).”

Pastor Martin meets monthly with his ministry leaders. They all have specific job descriptions. During the meetings, “we discuss our goals, successes and failures. We do a monthly overview. I allow them to make plans, and we discuss those plans. I try to give them trust and allow them to be engaged in their ministry without micromanaging.” For training, “I provide materials and encourage each leader to attend conferences that are tailored to their respective ministries.” Forty percent of his members are involved in some form of ministry with 25 percent involved specifically in evangelism.
Pastor Martin includes in his list of miracles from the Lord, “rapid development of Hispanic ministry; multitudes of restorations, including scores of preachers; many healings, including a doctor that has been healed of cancer; and a true multicultural church that is open and inviting to everyone. We have about 250 members – 25 percent black, 15 percent Hispanic.”

Encourage Ministry
Pastor Martin’s philosophy of ministry is to simply “love people. It’s His church, not mine. The person is more important than the performance. If we err, err on side of mercy, not judgment. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Life is already tough; church shouldn’t compound the problems. We are a refuge. We need one another. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Don’t neglect your family – if you win the whole world and lose your family, you lose! These are things constantly stated in our meetings and church services.”

Pastor Martin enjoys preaching mercy and grace the most. “Encourage people that they can and will make it! I have preached and preach many sermons based on the Prodigal Son. We are a true restoration church. Hurting people come all the time, and they are our continual focus. At one point we had four backslidden preachers attending. All were restored and have moved on to other areas of ministry. They don’t all stay here, but they know they will be loved and restored here. And again, the kingdom is bigger than one location. We understand that. We do our part. If they stay, great. If they go elsewhere, as long as they are in the truth we are satisfied.”

Pastor Martin has seen “a constant, continual, incremental growth from 30 to 250 over 20 years. I don’t recall any particular one time of great growth. Although the last year has seen a growth of about 50.”

History of Voice of Pentecost
“Our founding pastor, Ken Mayo, started the church in someone’s living room in 1989. They moved to a storefront/warehouse. He began construction of our original metal building in 1991. The foundation was poured and the metal frame was up, and he was killed in a solo plane crash (at the age of 33). Construction was put on hold. The storefront lease was broken. The few people were scattered and those who remained were renting another church on Sunday afternoons. I was evangelizing and had preached for Bro. Mayo previously. I was asked to preach a time or two after the accident. I had no desire to pastor. But when they voted and did not select any of the ‘candidates’, they asked of my interest. I began to develop feeling for the pain and hurt they were going through. I said if no one else gets it, introduce my name. I was elected. I was 27 years old and single. (I married my wife five years later). There were about 30 people when I came. God has blessed us with gradual growth up to about 250 over the last 20 years. I feel that our church’s background and all that we have experienced together has developed a keen sense of mercy and grace and compassion among us. It has made us a church of restoration. Mercy, grace and restoration is in our DNA.”

Future Plans
The Voice of Pentecost has recently purchased property off a brand-new interstate connection, and plans are underway to begin construction of a new 700-seat sanctuary. Pastor Martin said, “We want to expand our vision and help reach and restore as many people as possible. We are excited about our future.”

Closing Comments
“We are all simply shepherds. We need to get our hands dirty and help people. Don’t be a castle builder, but build God’s kingdom. And remember that the kingdom is much bigger than any of us and of any organization. An organization is man made, but kingdom is a God thing. Don’t think too much of yourself; but don’t think too little of God’s abilities. Love people. Love people. Love people! And always love your family. Don’t neglect them. If you win the whole world and lose your family, you lose.”

 

By Christina Li

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