“A revival pastor must put his priorities on growing people to care for the lost,” says Pastor Fredrick W. Olson of Church of Pentecost in Jacksonville, Florida. “Our tag line is ‘Where Lives are Changed.’ If people’s lives are changed, then you will have a growing church.”
Principles of Growth
Pastor Olson believes there are three core principles of growth: “First, I must be growing; second, the leaders must be growing; third, you must be reaching for growth. You will never have more than you can care for, so there must be a system for caring.
“My passion is growing people. Training, mentoring and personal growth plans are a big part of our growth.”
As part of that, Pastor Olson has incorporated a ministry called iCare. “iCare is a group of leaders, new friends, and saints that meet once a month to discuss ways to incorporate our new people into the fold. Out of this group, leaders have been developed to lead Small Focus Groups: Parents of Teenagers, Gardening, Men, WOW – Women of Wisdom (ladies aged 50+), Mature Marrieds, Photography, Singles, and New Moms.”
Organizing for Growth
In the early years, outreach efforts included flyers, telephone calls, yellow pages and home Bible studies. Now, Church of Pentecost has several departments and ministries which incorporate these efforts. Included are PAT (Pastoral Administration Team), Board of Directors, Shepherds Team – Established Leaders, Music – Youth Choir/Chorale/Sanctuary Choir, New Friends, Guest Reception, Youth, College and Career, Young Marrieds, Bus Ministry, Nursery, Sunday School, Kids ROCK – Children’s Ministry, Hands of Praise Sign Team, Keepers of the Temple, Bible Quizzing, and Audio/Visual Ministry.
Pastor Olson meets with ministry leaders (Audio/Visual, Music, Greeters, New Friends and Ushers) weekly, and once a month with other departments. “If it’s a weekly ministry, reports are emailed to me and each department has a job description.”
The pastor also holds a yearly planning meeting for main events. “Our Pastoral Administration Team meets monthly to plan and promote excellence for our month-to-month events. I encourage attendance to any and all conferences that will benefit their ministry. Also, once or twice a year I bring in a guest minister to speak to the leaders and offer training.”
He estimates that 70 percent of Church of Pentecost members are involved in some form of ministry with 20 percent involved in evangelism.
Pastor Olson and his wife, Alexa, founded Church of Pentecost at 7301 Beach Boulevard, and their first service was March 25, 1984. “It was a small white building 23 x 35 on Beach Blvd,” the pastor explained. “The sanctuary seated 100 people. There were no classrooms. Sunday school was held outside and the nursery was in the 10-foot kitchen. There were ten people in the first service.”
Five years later, they were able to purchase property and built what is now the Fred Olson Center. They were in this building for 21 years, and grew from 70 to over 200 members.
In 1999, God spoke to Pastor Olson to begin raising money to build a new worship center, “as we were fast outgrowing the current facilities. He told me to challenge 100 families to each give ten thousand dollars. Over the next five years, the Lord used over 70 families to raise 1.5 million dollars for the building program. The majority did not give out of their abundance, but through miraculous circumstances. People on disability, divorcees received settlements, and single income families — all were vessels God used to bring about this miracle!”
According to Pastor Olson, their current building, The Worship Center, completed April 2010, has 550 seats with the potential of seating over 700. “My wife, Alexa, took very careful steps in decorating each and every space,” he said. “We have 20 classrooms and 14 restrooms! We have a thriving coffee shop/bookstore called Java Jireh and a welcoming guest reception area stocked full of treats every Sunday morning to welcome our guests. Our office area has five administrative offices and a beautiful conference room. Our original building next door, called the Fred Olson Center (named after my father – who helped design and build it), is now our fellowship hall which has a full kitchen, five classrooms and two offices. We have shared many meals and celebrations together in this building – it has been such a blessing to have both spaces.”
Currently, Church of Pentecost runs 300 to 400 people. “In 2012, we baptized 66 and had 41 receive the Holy Ghost. Six families were converted and became active members of our church. So far in 2013, we have baptized 14 and had eight receive the Holy Ghost. We are in need of extra parking so we are looking into obtaining land surrounding our building.”
“I believe there are two things that are needed for a well-grounded church: teaching of the Word and the moving of the Spirit,” said Pastor Olson. “One cannot replace the other and you need them both on a regular basis.
“You can’t lead people in areas you are weak. You can’t give understanding in areas you have no wisdom.”
“If God has called you, He called you for what you have. It will not be exactly like someone else’s, but it will be uniquely your own.
“Seek to bring balance into your life. Utmost, seek to know what God wants out of your life. Nehemiah 2:20: ‘The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: …’
By Christina Li