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October-November 2013


November 2013

Journey of a Lifetime


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Steven Earp


Leadership comes in all forms and sizes, but the results are the same. Leaders influence behavior and make a difference in people’s lives. Profiling leaders reveals a diverse combination of traits, but changing lives is a common theme.


Leader Profile


Steven Earp

Leaders can set some pretty audacious goals. So when Steven decided to plant a Free Will Baptist church in Moore, Oklahoma, that would be viable and self-supporting from day one, many wondered. Steven raised up-front seed money, and then Oklahoma Free Will Baptists gave the church a matching loan to launch Elevate Church, a church plant meeting at Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College.

Lots of prayer, missiological strategy, and a different approach allowed a launch of 300 people for opening day two years ago. The lowest quarter of attendance for Elevate averaged 180. Now, they are steadily averaging 280. Elevate has seen 150 people become Christ-followers. Even though it is a young church, Elevate has given over $20,000 to the Hillsdale relief effort for the Moore Tornado victims.

Steven faced some tumultuous teen years in both his family and his spiritual walk. At age 17, Steven married Chrysty and moved closer to his grandfather, Homer Young, to be mentored and learn more about leadership. Possessing the gifts of evangelism and tremendous people skills, he loves to share Christ across the table over coffee, a meal, or just talking. Even before Elevate, Steven helped numerous church plants, both Spanish and English speaking works. He studied church planting for years and learned from others who effectively plant churches in a sustainable model from the very start.

In 2007, Chrysty, Steven’s wife of 21 years received a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. The MS progressed rapidly and caused so many debilitating effects that Chrysty can no longer be independent, in spite of a significant investment in medical treatments. Steven reflected on how MS brought the two of them closer: “I don’t know that my spiritual maturity is developed enough to say I’m thankful for the illness, but I’m certainly thankful for what God is doing in our hearts and what we’re becoming in the process.”

Steven, you are a great leader!


Get to Know Steven

What does your quiet time look like?

It’s a morning routine. I choose a verse from either Psalms or a New Testament letter and center my heart on Christ while reading the passage. I read it slowly and repeatedly, underlining and meditating on phrases that leap off the page. I pray through the verses asking the Lord how should I apply the principles to my life then I silently wait, journaling the process.

What’s your biggest failure?

Early in my ministry, I adopted a judgmental and argumentative spirit that damaged me, those I ministered to, and my family. I have deep regrets about that season of life.

What would you like to see Free Will Baptists do in the next five or ten years?

Church planting is the single most effective form of evangelism. Church planting changes cultures in and outside of church. You reach people, or churches will cease to exist. It is the only way to overcome the natural attrition of churches within our movement. We can plant many more churches than we currently plant right now.

Do you exercise?

I usually exercise intently for 5-6 months each year. Then I slip backwards. I’m starting to think about exercise again. Thanks for the guilt trip.

Tell us your kid’s names and give one-word descriptors about each of them.

Alyssa, age 20 – leadership

Kimmy, age 19 – compassion

John-Mark, age 15 – charisma

Mikayla, age 13 – hospitality

Jeremy, age 11 – service

What are you reading right now?

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Amplified Leadership: Five practices to Establish Influence, Build People, and Impact Others for a Lifetime by Dan Reiland

Conformed to His Image: Biblical and Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation by Kenneth Boa

What are your top three books (other than the Bible)?

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash a Revolution in Your Life in Christ by Pete Scazzero

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard J. Foster

Paper or Plastic Questions

Mountains or Ocean? Ocean

Music or Talk Radio? Music

Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi

Email or Texting? Texting

Mac or PC? – PC, Steven says he is not “cool enough” to use a Mac. I disagree!

Socks or house shoes? Socks


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©2013 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists