“I have had three goals as a pastor and that is to have a praying church, a giving church and a church that loves preaching/teaching,” said Bro. Mark Fogarty, pastor of The Apostolics of Warner Robins, located in Warner Robins, Georgia. “I feel that growth is a by-product of those three things. The church grows in three areas: spiritually, numerically and financially. Usually that growth is in those stages and in that order. But the church does not grow in those three areas at once.”
Time demands on every pastor are great. Bro. Fogarty has always placed his priorities in building the team that leads the church. “I always want to deepen the bench of leaders,” he said. “Building the base larger will allow for a larger percentage of growth in the church, and more people trained to take care of the new converts that God places in our care. Training and teaching are my priority!” He added, “We have an incredible outreach team that encourages many different avenues of personal evangelism. We go into a different neighborhood on a monthly basis and place door hangers on every door in that neighborhood to give our church exposure. We also have an evangelism tool that we call Market Place Evangelism. Our ladies go out weekly to various stores and shops with one goal in mind and that is to introduce our church to people. Almost every time, they obtain the names and phone numbers of the people they meet so that they can follow up with them about attending the services that weekend. We currently have four teams, and they have made over 600 contacts in the past nine months.”
Once a year in the fall, the church has a planning retreat. “Some years we go out of town and other years we meet in a hotel conference room or at our own church conference room,” said Bro. Fogarty. “The event is usually a two-day event. On Friday night, we discuss the pastor’s vision and review the new job descriptions and monthly reports. Saturday, we begin our planning. The entire day is filled with brainstorming ideas. Our goal is to validate and improve every department. Each leader develops their own plan as to how they will implement the ideas shared. This is a one-year plan, and every department has one. Our mission as a church is very simple – to get folks saved and to keep folks saved. Any ministry or department that is not assisting us in that mission has to go. We cannot afford to spend time, money and energy on any so-called ministry or department that is not helping us to fulfill our mission. Every department/ministry is evaluated with that mission in mind at every planning retreat.”
According to Pastor Fogarty, eighty percent of the members are actively involved in some identifiable ministry of the church. “We have used many training vehicles through the years,” he explained. “We currently have training sessions prior to the staff meetings. The sessions are usually video sessions that we share in the conference room. All department and ministry leaders are required to attend. We also open this up for others that desire to develop leadership skills, which deepens the bench of leaders, also.”
Inspiring Evangelism Involvement
On the mid-week Bible study night, Pastor Fogarty usually deals with involvement and their purpose as a church. He said about 50% of the teaching is directed to encouraging people to be actively involved in the church ministry. “Personal evangelism is celebrated,” he said. “When someone wins a person to God we celebrate the new person, and I always have the person that won them to pray over them when we baptize them. This helps to promote more involvement and recognition of those that are involved. Many of the books that I have written contain lessons about the personal involvement of saints in reaching the lost (Fishers of Men, Pentecost Promise, Christian Living I & II).
“We have a service every year where we promote home Bible studies. A strong convicting message is preached about being a productive Christian. The response is always overwhelming when people are genuinely convicted. Commitment cards are used, and we pray for a harvest of souls. At least once a quarter we will prepare our church invitation cards in packs of 10, and I will appeal for everyone that will commit to giving out 10 cards during the next week. They are always taken and distributed. Ten thousand of these cards have been given out in the past nine months. I have people share their own personal testimonies of doors that God has opened for them personally to talk with people about the church and truth.”
God is Moving Miraculously
In 2014, a man was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and was given four months to live. “Prayer was made for him,” said Pastor Fogarty. “Fourteen months later he is still living and has been declared cancer-free. There was no surgery.”
Other miracles have taken place at The Apostolics of Warner Robins. “We have had three ladies that received negative reports from their mammograms within the past 12 months,” said the pastor. “After prayer, none of these ladies had any further negative reports and were miraculously healed by God. One of the ladies was scheduled for a mastectomy and the day of the surgery, she pleaded with the doctor for one more test. He consented and there was no sign of the tumor. He reviewed the results of both tests and stated, ‘I am not sure what happened, but what we saw the first time is not there now.’ Praise God!”
A Touching Philosophy
“My philosophy of ministry as a minister was defined when I heard Bro. Charles Grisham make the statement ‘I want to touch God every day, touch people every day and touch something that will outlive me every day.’ That has been my philosophy of ministry from a very young man,” proclaims Bro. Fogarty.
“My default message to preach is faith and always endeavor to be evangelistic. God can and will do anything that we can believe Him for. I want to make sure that I reach guests that come to church by giving them hope in their present situation. God is bigger, stronger and mightier than anything that they are facing at that moment.”
A Theatre Repurposed
The church facility was a former theatre with six cinemas, 26,000 square feet under one roof, 400 parking places on four acres on one of the main thoroughfares in Warner Robins. “We have seating capacity for 300 with room for future expansion to 500 in the next phase,” said Pastor Fogarty. “Our educational facility consists of a kids’ church and youth room, as well as a conference room that seats 25 people boardroom-style.
“The office area consists of three main offices and an additional office where each of the 10 department leaders have a cubicle space. The nursery is designed to be very spacious with a children’s slide and many other interesting items for the nursery children ages 6 months to three years old. The Holy Grounds Coffee Shop is equipped with seating for 25 people and is available prior to and after every service for those that desire to just hang around and fellowship. This area is complete with a full service snack bar including theatre-type popcorn.”
The Beginning of Revival
Pastor Fogarty said 2014 started just like the past seven years had begun — with the annual prayer revival. “However, this year I asked the church to specifically pray that God would make a way for us to purchase property, relocate and/or build during the year of 2014,” he said. “We also had 30 days of focused prayer preceding the month of February. I felt strongly that this would be the year for change for our church.
“The second week of February, Sis. Fogarty and I were driving down Russell Parkway and I noticed for the first time this building known as Parkway Cinemas. I know that I had seen this building many times with no real attraction toward it. However, on this day, I pointed it out and told Sis. Fogarty, ‘That would make a great church location.’ Not giving it much thought, we drove on. On Sunday, February 23, we started revival with Bro. and Sis. Bernardini. Outreach began on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We had great results from the revival and our Pentecost Sunday efforts for 2014.” The first 10 months of 2015 the results were amazing: 327 first-time guests, 22 water baptized and 50 were filled with the Holy Ghost.Spirit. “I am looking forward to what the Lord has in store for us as we move forward in His will throughout the coming years.”
So what does this busy revival pastor do in his leisure time? “Spend time with family, go fishing, and travel with my wife at my side.”