Kevin Gerald, senior pastor of Champions Center, Washington, USA shares with City News his desire to help the children of God live successful Christian lives.
By Dawn Seow
Your messages have profound meaning but they are presented so simply. What gift has God given you to share His Word so clearly?
I think it’s probably just a desire to have wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to take profound things and make them understandable, comprehendible. I guess I would say it is God’s gift to me in the ways of my communication, to make things that are complicated applicable to people, and make it something they can bring home and apply in their lives.
My personal mission statement is to locate and communicate wisdom. I read complicated things and start wondering myself: how do I explain this, how do I break this down, how to make it communicable to the average person? I didn’t use to do that, but I think God really dealt with me about the need to take those things which are helpful and pour it into people who needed to understand but don’t have the education and background; to turn the big terminology around and make it relevant enough to them so that it can change their lives.
In the weekend services, you have shared many forces in our lives that can shape our future; is there another one you could share with our readers?
The one I think I really want to talk about is the force of feelings. The Bible says in Ephesians to be renewed in the spirit of our mind; I refer to the spirit of the mind as the mood of our mind, so your spirit can be made happy or sad, feel upbeat or low. When we talk about being renewed in the spirit of our mind, my personal interpretation is that the force of feeling is at work, always affecting your day and how you act and react. So when things start out bad in the morning, the Scripture says: ‘Come on, be renewed in the spirit,’ and a lot of people don’t realize it’s the spirit of the mind when they read it. Roman 12 teaches us to be renewed in the thinking of our mind, but the context in Ephesians refers to the spirit—or the mood—of the mind, I would love to talk more about that one.
[One of the things I shared], that thoughts are like trains, is one of my favorite [topics], and that is why it just jumped out [during my preaching]. The whole idea that thoughts are like trains changed my life, and it gave me a way to communicate to people and help them.
You can do a message on each of these forces that can shape our future, but on the weekend we can only briefly touch on each of them. The bigger message I want them to understand is that it is not all up to God, but it’s also not all up to us; we partner with God in all of these areas, and we welcome the Holy Spirit to work in our feelings, habits and thoughts, and guide us in our life so that we can do the work of God.
Can you share with us about your ministry Champion Center? What made you want to start a center for champions?
We have two campuses: the main campus is in Tacoma, Washington, which is a twin city to Seattle; and our second campus is in Bellevue.
I’m in my 26th year of ministry now; we started with a very small group of less than 100 people—we had, I believe, 79 people in our first meeting—then it grew to 8,000 or so today. We had 12,000 on Easter.
I grew up in Christianity and I saw a lot of people living defeated lives–loving God and on the way to Heaven, but their lives are like hell, and their marriages and careers were no better than anyone else’s. So growing up in a small church like that, I become upset about it and I started feeling this anger. I was disturbed and thought that, if we are God’s people, why would we not have better outcomes in our lives? I think a lot of times God uses what bothers us to point us to our destiny. So that was God’s way of allowing me to be disturbed, because the destiny and purpose of God in my life was to equip Christians to live successful lives.
I really have a heart for God’s people to have successful marriages, relationships, futures and young people to serve God. So if you look at my writings and messages, a lot of it comes out of that heart.
So to you, what is a successful Christian life?
In a Christian life, nothing we do in life matters if we don’t have a right relationship with God. But a lot of Christians have the assumption that once we have salvation, that’s the sum total of what God wants to do with your life. They forget that we are here for a purpose and a reason, and that God saves us from our sin, to equip us for the purpose, the plan and the future He has in store for us.
So a successful Christian life to me is this: if you are a child of God then He wants you to go ahead and succeed in the plan and purpose He has for your life, walk that out and fulfill that purpose. Acts 15 talks about when David fell asleep; he has fulfilled the purpose of God, that’s the greatest thing that we all want.
Did you start Champions Center College with the same desire?
It is an outworking of the same vision; we to try to intensify Biblical knowledge for people and encourage or teach them to establish a foundation of the Scripture.
It’s both a Bible college and a leadership school, to help people to know Scripture, and a great foundation of the Bible so they can go out and be leaders in the community, business arena, government and church.
Champion Center College believes in combining knowledge with practical application. Can you share with us some practical lessons your students receive in school?
Our students do internship, where they work with leaders. Most of them work within the church leadership team, learning what goes on in the house of God, our management, behind the scenes in our organization, how to communicate and influence people in the right direction, and how to gather a team to accomplish a cause. Those dynamics are what they will learn, not only through interning, but also through some of the curriculum, so that when they see a need, they have the ability to step in, gather the people and meet the need. Some get occasional opportunities to work with business people outside [the church] too.
Kevin and Sheila Gerald are the Founders and Pastors of Champions Centre (Tacoma and Bellevue, Washington), one of the largest congregations in the Pacific Northwest. Thousands are exposed to Kevin’s life applicable teaching of the Bible through his local and international television program, KevinGerald.tv. Kevin is also a nationally recognized author of several books including; Developing Confidence, Pardon Me, I’m Prospering, The Proving Ground,Raising Champion Children, Forces That Form Your Future, Mind Monsters and By Design or Default. (Extracted from www.kevingerald.tv)