Introductions – Every once in a while, I like to take some time to add new friends to my friends list. Therefore, I wanted to introduce myself to those who are new to my wall.
I live in Milaca, MN. I have a beautiful wife and two strong boys. We live in the country, and we love to hunt and fish. I consider myself more of a jock-nerd. For on one hand, I have many manly hobbies like an axe throwing station in my garage, but I am also a huge nerd. Games by James is by far my favorite store and I have many board games that can’t be found in Walmart. I also am a local football coach and substitute teacher.
As for my past, I grew up in Cambridge, MN and served in the military intelligence community in the Navy. Sadly, I lost my hip while serving and had to take a few years to cope with living without a hip. Now with a hip once more, I slowly began to accept my call into ministry.
Since I grew up in the Nazarene Church, (a holiness denomination), I spent the next chapter in my life learning to be a minister of the Gospel and serving in various ministry roles. I then had the privilege of serving as the pastor of a Nazarene Church in North Dakota.
Sadly, like many first-time pastors, the ending of my first pastorate ended disastrously. In the most basic sense, it was like going through a bad divorce. And yes, there were mistakes on both sides, but it resulted in our family taking a major blow to our identity. In one month, we lost our job, the many friends we had made in that town, and even our home. It was the toughest year we had ever faced.
We decided that we could no longer take a blow like that, solely because of politics and church government, so we made the hardest decision of our life and walked away from the Nazarene Church. For the next few years, I ministered where I could. And eventually we found a home in a great church called Milaca Alliance. Yet as the years went by, God was kindling a call and purpose for our lives.
For over 5 years, I spent much time researching the problems that were taking place in the Church at large and looking at the many ways that new movements were trying to address those issues. And overtime, I began to view myself as more of a reformer than just a minister. And it was at about this time last year, where I had a moment where God just gave me clarity and gave me a green light to minister again. While having so many conversations with Godly men about how the church was compromising, I just felt a shift in my Spirit to stop researching and to allow God’s provision to help strive for the solution.
Today, I am a pastor of a new type (or tool) of ministry that is still in development. Call it a prototype. The goal is to allow God to reform His bride once again. There have been many great reforms in the past that have dealt with church doctrine. This reform is different as it is not about correcting a belief, rather it is about allowing Christ to truly be the King and the provision of His Kingdom. It is a reformation of structure. It is having the faith to strip as much of religion out of the church as we can while not changing a single phrase of the scriptures.
We are creating a fellowship for those who have left religion and have been hurt by (or put off by) religion. How does that look? We look to the Bible, and we see that there already is only one fellowship in Christ, therefore, we don’t need a unique doctrine or organization to divide us and give us our identity. We are in Christ. And that means that we don’t need a 501c-3, we don’t need a group of people to vote on defining the church’s doctrines and beliefs. We don’t need fancy buildings and glorious programs to entertain us. And most importantly, we can no longer have systems where our pastors live in fear of preaching the Truth.
I remember the days when the denominations were the safe place that protected God’s Name and His Holiness. It was a tool of great accountability, and God used it for many years. But today, the denominational system no longer fulfills the role of accountability. For it seems that every denomination is falling to compromise in various ways as holiness is defined by majority vote.
Today, we have millions of people fleeing their churches because the church has decided to change what it believes as they cave to the culture. Millions are leaving because they don’t see the power of Christ anymore. They are hungry and many can no longer survive on the false bread of philosophy and psychology they are being fed from the pulpit. They hunger for the living Word of God that cuts deep into the hearts of men and transforms the believer from within. In short, God is leading multitudes of His people away from entertainment-filled/self-help seminars that leave people empty the next day. They are done with religion and tradition and seek His intimacy and presence. The tricks to manufacture these things no longer appeal to these men and women. They are done playing Christianity.
Many may call me arrogant or above others because I seem to talk bad about the Church and seem to have this white robe that sits above all other ministries. But once you get to know me, you will know that I am a very humble man who has no idea what God’s next step will be for me every day. I fall on my face many times as I try to share the visions and call that God has placed in my heart. I truly believe that God is still going to do great things through denominationalism and with the many pastors and congregations that remain in that model. I am not against them. I am for Christ. All I can do us fully submit my will and my knowledge and follow where God leads. My call is not to save the lost. My call is to seek those God has called out to the wilderness and to shepherd them there until the Lord comes. If we are all truly honest, we can all feel that the Holy Spirit is moving and something amazing is about to take place. All I can do from the bottom of my heart is seek out where the Spirit is moving and meet Him there.
With that said, I function more like a community minister. I believe that we are all part of one fellowship in Jesus Christ. Therefore, I have no issue ministering to anyone who is seeking after the Lord. I don’t care if you are Catholic or Protestant, a liberal or conservative. My promise is that I will do my best to speak the absolute Truth in the Word of God to the best of my ability. I may not always be right, but I will always be humble enough to clash swords and seek after the Truth. And the things I say will be backed up in the Authority of the Word of God, for I am not called to speak for myself.
In short, I am a people’s pastor. I have no membership or attendance requirements. I am here to serve the people who seek God in any way that I can. I do not require a tithe, for God’s provision is enough to sustain me. I am one man with multiple pulpits. I preach to any who are hungry for the meat of the Word of God. I spend much time also ministering online, for there is great need as many have left their church and are in need of spiritual guidance.
To those of you who have become my new friends, I want you to understand that I am here for you. If you need counseling, baptism, becoming a believer… If you are in a time of crisis and need someone to listen… If you are experiencing demon possession or ghosts, (I do that as well)… We are living in a great time of need. Families are struggling, people are deep in depression. Jesus is still the answer. And I am here if you ever need a pastor.
Who am I? I am a servant of God who love everyone even though showing empathy is my weakness. I am a church reformer, and God is leading many people I have never met to join with me as we seek after His will in humility. I tell you the Truth, I am a person that will tell you exactly how it is, yet am the most non-judgmental person I know. If you seek Truth, I won’t bash you over the head with it. Rather, I will come along side of you and help you to see not only the Truth itself, but why God has deemed it so.
I am excited to announce that we are hosting our first Sunday morning worship service this week in Milaca. Wow, that sure sounds like a church… I guess you will just have to join us if you really want to know why it is different. There is only one Church in Christ. I am just one of the many pulpits appointed by God to share His Word. And that is why we need to learn how to “be” the Church rather than “Go” to church.
If you ever want to catch up on our teachings or my many writings, I have put up a new website called oakesministries.com. It is still very much under construction, but all of my teachings and writings moving forward will be posted on it.
Blessings my new friends. Feel free to message me if you have any questions. May God be with us all as we cope with this season of great need.