An Amazing Partnership
Now retired, Pastor Marvin Clark was the Senior pastor of the Grants Pass Seventh-day Adventist Church for many years. We asked him how Better Life had impacted his 15 year ministry at the Grants Pass SDA Church.
What were your first impressions of Better Life?
My wife, Judi, and I made a trip from Wisconsin to Grants Pass, Oregon, prior to accepting the pastorate in Grants Pass. One of the stops we made, as we toured Grants Pass, was Better Life Broadcasting Network. We were immediately impressed with the beautiful studio, the elegant sets, and the staff who were so dedicated to the cause of Christ. Better Life was a huge factor in our decision to come to Grants Pass.
When did you notice that Better Life was helping your church?
It didn’t take very long for me to realize that Better Life viewers from the community were attending our church services. They would come up to me or one of the greeters and say, “I’ve been watching Better Life for X number of years and I just wanted to come here, see it live, and meet you people.” And praise the Lord, this happens on a regular basis!
Can you share any stories that have stood out over the years?
One afternoon I was working in my office, and I heard a knock at my outside door. When I opened the door there stood a gentleman who appeared to be around 40 years old. He had holes in his pants, and tennis shoes that were ready for the dumpster. I was 90 percent sure that I was looking at someone who was about to ask me for a handout. I fully expected him to ask, “Can you help me with a bus ticket” or “pay my rent” or “get some gas in my car?” He didn’t say any of those things, but what he did say, truly amazed me. He said, “I want to know how to join your church.” I said, “man, that’s good news for me to hear, what’s your background?” He told me that he had been watching Better Life for a couple of years, that he had become a Sabbath keeper, and that he wanted to find a Seventh-day Adventist Church to connect with!
We soon discovered that he already knew nearly all of our 28 doctrines from having watched Better Life for so long. So after studying with him for a few weeks, we baptized him. He had never worn a suit in his life, so we got him a suit and a tie! He became one of our deacons, and freely shares the Good News with his friends.
Then there is our handicapped friend Rachel. She has no strength to even stand up, she has no use of her limbs, and she is confined to a wheelchair or bed 24 hours a day. She was watching TV one day, and saw Better Life. She compared what she heard and saw with the teaching in God’s Word, and fell in love with Jesus and the message proclaimed by Better Life. Well, she called the church, and one of my Elders and I went to her home. It was incredible to see her excitement, enthusiasm, and hope for her future as a believer in Jesus Christ.
One Sabbath I had the blessed privilege of baptizing Rachel. The baptism was a challenge, since we needed 3 people in the baptismal tank to safely baptize her. It was a very moving experience. I’m shivering right now just telling you the story. What a precious thing the Lord did for that girl. She’ll be in heaven, and all those who are reading this article will be able to meet Rachel one day in God’s kingdom.
I also had the privilege of baptizing a dear lady on her one hundredth birthday! She too come into our church through the ministry of Better Life.
What percentage of baptisms in your church can be attributed to Better Life?
I would say that nearly all of our baptisms come as a result of some connection with Better Life. Clearly, Better Life is our number one source of new church members. We get more new members from the television ministry than we do from public evangelism, family member contact or anything else.
What would you like to say to fellow pastors about Better Life?
I’d plead with any pastor who has the opportunity to get Better Life aired in their vicinity to do it yesterday! It is incredible. What happens in my church is a pastor’s dream! People are coming to us! We don’t have to go to them. Many churches spend tens of thousands of dollars to bring in a high-powered evangelist for a short time, and this does have a potential to win souls. But having our glorious Gospel going out to our communities 24 hours a day, for pennies, is truly amazing! It’s working to win souls like I’ve never seen anything else work!