“Our church is built on the power of prayer,” says Pastor Mark Cottrill of the Bourbon United Pentecostal Church of Bourbon, Indiana. “The thing most noticeable about our church is the pre-service prayer when one enters the doors. My wife, Sis. Jane Cottrill, is the Prayer Ministry Director, and everyone is encouraged to come a half hour before service to lift their voices in prayer. Most walk or stand at the altar, worshipping out loud, setting the tone for the service. Our worship services are power packed!”
The Cottrills have two sons, Matt and Nathan, both licensed with the UPCI. Nathan Cottrill serves as sectional men’s director and senior class teacher. Matt Cottrill pastored in Michigan City, Indiana, and now serves as assistant pastor at Bourbon UPC. Their wives are involved in church ministry and teaching Sunday school. Pastor Cottrill has held many district and sectional offices, including Sectional SS Director while pastoring in Bucyrus, Ohio, and from 1985-present, in Bourbon, as Sectional Youth Director, Sectional SS Director, and District SS Secretary. He has served as District Global Missions Director and District Presbyter since 2007 to the present, taught Historical Books at Indiana Bible College for eight years, traveled to 15 countries and preached multiple conferences. Sis. Cottrill served as Indiana Sectional Ladies Director and District Ladies Director.
Organization & Management
The ministries of Bourbon UPC include Children’s Ministry (SS), Daycare Ministry, Ladies Ministry, Breakout Student Ministry, Focused Families (young married), Super Singles Ministry, Bridge Group (singles 18-30), Music Ministry, Upper Class Ministry (age 55 and up), Promotion Ministry (internet and newspaper), Audio Visual, Outreach (home Bible studies), Prayer Ministry, New Life Class (new converts), and Ushers & Greeter Ministry.
“I meet with department heads every other Sunday before prayer service,” says Pastor Cottrill, “and we go over upcoming events. We have an annual planning session in November to plan the next year and post a calendar of events a month ahead. I have booklets for every department head and staff worker, detailing their purpose and responsibilities. Our Ministerial Training Class (MTC) meets before service every other Sunday morning, and shares videos or chapters on leadership principles. This gives me a chance to mentor the leadership. I tell our church that everyone has a ministry, and everyone should be doing something to reach the lost. January is our spiritual thrust month in which we encourage every member to look for open doors of evangelism, give their testimony and reach the lost or lukewarm. We began a program called Ignite to become aware of those ‘ignite moments’ when God wants to use us. I sit down with church members and ask them about their talents and interests. They should have a burden for what they do, so they can be effective.”
Principles of Growth & Revival
“Time is a premium,” says Pastor Cottrill. “And a wise pastor will learn to look for opportunities to reach the lost and work with new people to help them grow closer to God. Our Sunday school and youth programs seem to be most effective in growing the church. Teach the Word of God to youth while they are young, and they will become faithful adults. Our unwritten theme or mindset consists of the 3 E’s for our services: Wednesday evening Bible study (Educational), Sunday morning (Evangelism) and Sunday evening (Edification).”
According to Pastor Cottrill, a portion of the church parking lot is used as a farmer’s market for their town every Saturday during the summer months. In addition, each spring, Bourbon UPC hosts a Community Fun Day and invites every child in town for free food, cotton candy, rides, and games with prizes. “In July, we do a big fireworks show and ice cream social for our entire town,” he says. “We want to bless our city and show them the love of God. People are stressed out in our world. Coming to church, worshipping and feeling His presence is the most therapeutic thing they can experience. I encourage our saints to enjoy their salvation, and I have trained altar workers to ask God for wisdom and be sensitive to those praying. Our church motto is ‘There’s Room in our Family for Yours.’
“Our church isn’t a wealthy church. However, if you give people a chance to bless others, they will give. We give to various ministries of the UPCI. Our church tries to be a resource to any church around us. We pray for them, and in the last few years, we’ve sent out three missionary families, one child evangelist, and three pastors and helped support four new churches. We send $1,700 per month in PIMs for global missions, and seven weeks before Easter, we started a competition men versus women skits to raise funds for Save Our Children. In the last 11 years, we’ve given $51,000 to SOC.”
He continued, “People need to know what the needs are in a church to give them an opportunity to get involved. At our annual business meeting, I show the year’s improvements and what we have accomplished. It’s a great time to give God the glory! I also show and post church needs for the coming year on our hall board, and cross them off as they are filled. We have great unity, and everyone gets involved in reaching those goals. This visual reminder helps people to give to the building fund on a regular basis.”
“Miracles happen just about every month at Bourbon UPC,” says Pastor Cottrill. “I’ve been licensed with the UPCI 41 years and have seen cancer healed multiple times, uneven legs become even instantly, stomach problems and migraines healed, tumors disappear, and immediate deliverance from addictions. An 89-year-old lady died during one of our banquets and was gone for 15 minutes. We prayed for her, she took a big breath and asked what had happened. The next day, her family doctor examined her and told her, ‘God has brought you back from the dead.’”
Pastor Cottrill continued, “A personal miracle encouraged me while preaching in Tanzania, East Africa. A teenage girl that only spoke Swahili received the Holy Ghost, speaking perfect English. She kept saying, ‘There is only one God, and He is coming soon.’”
“We have to love people and not get hung up on the kind of sins they committed and remember how far God has brought us,” says Pastor Cottrill. “Be patient with them, convince them God cares about them and loves them. Everyone is unique, so we must ask for God’s wisdom, and His direction, timing and manner to reach them. I’ve won four waitresses to the Lord just by being nice and eventually inviting them to church. Our city of only 2,000 is surrounded by smaller towns. Everyone knows me after 32 years and calls me pastor. I was the parade marshal at the city’s annual parade, and I begin my days at the town coffee shop, talking to people and making contacts before I go to the church for prayer. We’ve got to be friendly to introduce them to our friend, Jesus.”
The church began in 1924 in a street meeting, was established in 1925 and is still at the same site, according to Pastor Cottrill. “The original building held 75 people. Extra classrooms, added in 1947, now serve as a kitchen. Upon my graduation from the Apostolic Bible Institute of Saint Paul, Minn., I came to Bourbon as the assistant pastor. We added a third floor educational wing and missionary apartment. The church later purchased two adjoining properties. We outgrew the building by 2002 and built a 10,000-square-foot auditorium, new offices, restrooms and a new entry. Adjoining property was purchased for a new parking lot in 2010. In 2016, an acre of land was purchased across the street for a Family Life Center that will house a new daycare, gym, new fellowship area and kitchen. We are saving for that program now and are debt free. Our church is quick to respond to a need.
“We usually run 220 in attendance. Our present building will seat 350, but we’ve had over 425 at a youth rally. The church recently started a Spanish Ministry, and we are reaching out to the Amish community. I’ve been teaching one family I’ve never met over the phone. The father, mother and three teens have received the Holy Ghost. They’ve asked me to baptize them in Jesus’ name as soon as they break away. God has opened doors of opportunity everywhere. He is interested in saving the whole world, all cultures and backgrounds.
“We’ve actually been told by visiting ministers and missionaries that we are one of the top 10 churches they’ve ministered to because the power and presence of God is so strong. The pastor must be an example in worship, prayer and sacrificial giving, because the church will take on his personality and follow his lead.”
Pastor Cottrill grew up in Columbus, Ohio. “My parents didn’t attend church, but when I was seven years old, saints from an Apostolic church began taking me to Sunday school,” he explains. “I was baptized in Jesus’ name at nine, taught my first Bible study on the plagues of Egypt in front of the church at 13 and received the Holy Ghost at a church camp at 14. I witnessed to my parents and prayed them through to the Holy Ghost when I was 16. I was the only Apostolic Pentecostal in my high school of 3,000 kids and won some of them to the Lord. My pastor had me in leadership roles as a teen, and I sat in on church trustee meetings just to learn.
“While attending ABI, I felt the call to preach and was voted in as class president. My wife and I met at ABI, and both of us graduated in 1976 with a Bachelor of Theology. I was ordained with the UPCI in 1985.”
“I love to play golf,” says Pastor Cottrill. “I’m an avid deer hunter, love to ride my motorcycle and read books, including biographies about famous people. We have four grandchildren, another on the way and a Bichon Frise dog named Yogi. I’ve kept the notes of every sermon I’ve taught or preached since I was 18, and I feel very honored to pastor the finest saints on earth in Bourbon.”