Bill: We're talking this week with Pastor Marvin McKenzie of Bible Baptist Church in Puyallup, Washington. Brother, for some of us on the east coast, could you fill us in on your area of the country and in particular, Puyallup?
Marvin: Puyallup is a city of about 30,000 people just next to Tacoma and 30 miles or so south of Seattle. It is nestled in a valley below Mt Rainier. Just about the most beautiful place on earth!
Bill: How about the spiritual side of Washington? I find that mostly here in the east, the spiritual temperature has cooled off considerably, as a general rule.
Marvin: Washington and Oregon are statistically the most unchurched areas of our country. The rural communities tend to be more conservative and spiritual. The cities, especially Seattle, are the least spiritual in the country.
Bill: What do you see as a nation from a spiritual standpoint?
Marvin: Wow! I remember in Bible College preachers saying how much the country had changed in their lifetime. I could not imagine how. Now, after 34 years in the ministry, I would say America isn't remotely the same place it was when I first began preaching.
Bill: I hear you just finished up a time of revival at your church? I'm certain God blessed in many ways. Is there anything that stands out as a special blessing?
Marvin: Our preacher this year was Jim Males, a church planter now working in Halifax. It was a blessing hearing messages meant to strengthen believers in walking in the Spirit.
Bill: Can you tell us a little about the ministry you're presently involved with?
Marvin: I have pastored Bible Baptist Church here in Puyallup since November of 1999. Our church is a great body of believers. We are involved in a local church Bible College, A Christian school and a ministry to the addicted called H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Put Off Entanglements). We also have a Korean ministry.
When things get tough in the ministry, how do you sustain yourself?
Marvin: I learned years ago that I could not make it without a walk with God. I carve out time every morning, before I meet with anyone else, to read my Bible, pray and listen to God.
Bill: What do you see as America's greatest need at the moment?
Marvin: The pat answer is revival. The specific answer is revival. The only answer for America is revival. I don't mean just a return to spiritual excitement. I mean repentance and return to trusting God.
Bill: In closing, I always like to ask if there is something you can share to encourage us as we fight the battles here. How might you encourage us, Brother?
Marvin: God honors faithfulness. Our only task is to get up each morning and walk with the Lord. Personal spiritual growth is the key. Our place is not to turn the world around or even to turn others around. Our place is to turn around and to God. As we do that, God will use us to see other turn as well.
Bill: Thank you , Brother, for sharing this time with us. We'll be praying for you as we go our ways.