Personal revival is a key to survival, and when a person’s relationship with God is right, their relationship with others will be right as well. Pastor Jerry Holt and the New Life Apostolic Church of Lewiston, Idaho adopt a theme each year that they build upon in all of their teaching and preaching, that emphasizes strengthening their personal relationship with God. They have discovered that this approach has equipped them to better serve and to reach out in as many ways as possible to their community. This has proven effective by giving them a fresh approach to fulfilling their purpose and mission of evangelizing their local community.
New Life Apostolic Church is a warm and loving church and wants their community to feel comfortable and at liberty to call on them for anything they need. When you visit the church, you will find a caring congregation that will gladly welcome you, preaching and teaching that is centered on the Word of God, ministries to meet the spiritual needs of every age, and a corporate outlet for truth-filled and moving praise and worship.
As pastor of one of the oldest Apostolic churches in Idaho, Bro. Holt strives to both preach and teach the practical aspects of Christian living. “I also try to do the ‘work of an evangelist,’” said Bro. Holt. “I reach out to those in the congregation who need to respond to the Gospel and the leading of the Spirit of God. I try to close each message by bringing people past Calvary whenever possible.”
With his father serving in the U.S. Air Force, Bro. Holt lived a very transient life, averaging a move every 18 months. “In 1954, my parents came into Pentecost in Carmichael, California,” Bro. Holt explained. “Bro. Jesse Francis was our pastor at that time, and he baptized our entire family in Jesus name. We later moved to Japan, as a result of my father’s military service, and I received the Holy Ghost there on Thanksgiving Day at the age of 11. I felt the call of God on my life from a very young age but was reluctant to answer that call.”
Drafted into the Army fresh out of high school, Bro. Holt served a tour of duty in Vietnam and then returned to California where he met and later married his wife, Fayetta Hanscom, who was attending Bible College in Stockton, California where Bro. Holt himself would later enroll and graduate. “It doesn’t take long to tell the story and might not be of much interest to others,” explained Bro. Holt, “however, our life has been filled with divine intervention and provision numerous times though the years.”
Bro. Holt was privileged to know and sit under the ministry of some great men of God, such as Bro. Clyde Haney, Bro. Kenneth Haney, Bro. Paul Price, Bro. J.T. Pugh, Bro. Walter Sturdivan, and Bro. B.J. Robison. “I learned so much from their ministries,” he said. “I owe a great debt to those who gave me an opportunity to grow in the ministry.” Bro. Holt has since served as a missionary to Hong Kong and China, member of the Idaho District Board, and currently serves as the District Superintendent of Idaho.
After evangelizing and pastoring in Antioch, California, the Holts felt the call to the mission field where they ministered in Hong Kong for 13 years. In 1996, they returned to the United States and accepted the pastorate in Lewiston. “We have learned to trust God,” says Bro. Holt, “with our lives, our future, and that of our three daughters and their families as well. Through the years, we have faced tragedy, sickness and death, more times than I care to remember, but God has always been faithful. We have certainly lived by the statement that ‘the God that brought you to it is the God that will bring you through it.’”
Principles of Growth and Revival
With an average attendance of around 135 each week, New Life Apostolic Church is excited about what is happening in Lewiston. Since the first of this year, they have begun to see some wonderful things God is doing in many lives, and they are expecting a great harvest to follow. “We try to invite people wherever we are, and we use special events and services throughout the year to boost attendance and expose people to the presence of God and His Word,” said Bro. Holt. “However, it has been my experience that there is no quick fix that produces a growing revival church. There are principles that apply, of course, such as passion, vision, prayer, and discipling and equipping saints for ministry. There are, however, other factors that cannot be so easily transferred and duplicated by others, such as the spiritual maturity and giftedness of the man of God, the maturity and development of the congregation, and the dynamics of the circumstances in the community he is working in.”
Bro. Holt uses the analogy of God calling and anointing David to be king, when there was a time of training, testing and proving of his character and relationship with God. “The men that first showed up at the cave of Adullam were disgruntled, in debt and disillusioned when David began to mentor them into the mighty men they later became,” he explained. “David had seven years of being the king over Hebron before he finally became the king over the entire nation of Israel. Basically this speaks of the process of God developing the man, the people around the man and the circumstances around them all.”
According to Bro. Holt, keeping prayer and worship vibrant is important to having “good church” and creates the atmosphere where God can move freely as He wills for each service. “Persistence and patience are paramount,” he said. “We can fill the water pots but only Jesus can turn the water to wine. We can roll the stone away but only Jesus can raise Lazarus from the dead. We can plow, plant and water, but the Lord of the Harvest makes it grow and produces the increase.”
Organization and Management
New Life Apostolic has a variety of dynamic ministries that includes Sunday school, Ladies Ministry, Men’s Ministry, Youth, Home Fellowship Groups, Music Ministry, as well as a Bus Ministry and an Outreach Ministry.
To make sure everyone receives the personal care they need, the church has established care groups, and each person who attends is part of a care group. “Everyone who worships at New Life Apostolic should feel like they are a part of the family,” said Bro. Holt. “Our care group leaders are available for prayer and support on a daily basis. If you have a family sickness or need, you are encouraged to contact your care group leader for prayer and support.”
Home Fellowship Groups are also used as an outreach to the local community. For those who are intimidated by attending an actual church service, this is a great opportunity for them to hear the Word of God and fellowship with other believers, while in a relaxed environment.
New Life Apostolic has quarterly department meetings to keep all departments on track and to make adjustments as needed, as well as an annual planning session in the fall, which includes an overnight trip with the department leaders and staff. “This is the designated time when I cast the vision to our leadership team and set our goals and agenda for the new year,” said Bro. Holt.
Bro. and Sis. Holt witnessed many miracles of healing while missionaries in Asia. The blind and deaf were healed, as well as those with cancer and hepatitis, and they witnessed deliverance from demon possession as well. In the local church, there have been notable healings over the past 16 years. One in particular was when Sis. Holt, who suffered from macular degeneration, lost her sight in her left eye one morning and was that way for several weeks. “We were in a revival service with Bro. Joel Bean and had prayer for her,” said Bro. Holt. “After we laid hands on her, she opened her eyes and all the distortion was gone. When she went back for a follow-up visit to the eye doctor, he said there was no sign of macular degeneration in either eye. God had completely healed her.”
The Future of New Life Apostolic Church
There are no immediate plans to build, but New Life Apostolic does have the room to expand in the future. “We own five acres,” said Bro. Holt, “and ten years ago we built our current facility of over 12,000 square feet, including a 250-seat auditorium, kitchen, fellowship hall, and classrooms. We positioned the building so that our future sanctuary would join it with a covered walkway. We have a three-acre playground behind us where our future gym and family center will be built.”
Bro. Holt likes to encourage pastors who have struggled trying to see their congregations grow and retain everyone that comes through their doors. “As a missionary, I learned that the kingdom of God was much greater than the local church I founded and pastored,” said Bro. Holt. “We trained and discipled many that moved on to other parts of the world to do the work of God. We have seen the same thing happen here as young people have grown up, married, and then moved off to other places. Our vision and desire is to send forth laborers, and we thank God that He has allowed us to see this become a reality.”
By Gregg Stone