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Take me home, Country Church

 
Take me home, Country Church
Pastor Butch Ikels

MARION -- Thirteen years ago, Pastor Butch Ikels led the first service of The Country Church in his home with only nine members -- including him and his wife.

Today, church services are held in a 70,000 square foot building, with a 1,400-seat auditorium, built on 16 acres in the country -- quite a change for such a small congregation.

Before taking on the role of pastor at The Country Church, Ikels came from a very successful sales background.

“The Lord impressed upon me that people, and where they would spend eternity, was far more important than ‘boxes, bottles, and cans,’ Ikels said.

Some say that he’s still in sales -- just with a greater offering.

Ikels was also a full-time evangelist, traveling across Texas, the southern United States, Nigeria, Uganda, Brazil, and Mexico before he settled in Marion.

He has lived in the Marion and La Vernia area for most of his life, he said. His farm in Guadalupe County has been in the family for more than 100 years.

The pastor is married to his high school sweetheart, Joan Fox Ikels, with whom he will celebrate 47 years of marriage on April 18. They have two children, Keith and Melissa, who are both married and have children of their own.

Ikels said that the most rewarding part of his job is seeing people come to know Jesus Christ personally in salvation.

“It never gets old!” he said.

Although being a pastor is a job filled with many blessings, there are aspects of his work that are difficult, as well.

Counseling in difficult situations when you are the last to be called is the toughest, Ikels said.

“The old adages still hold true -- an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and the family that prays together, stays together,” Ikels said.

He said it is also a challenge ministering to a changing society without compromising biblical integrity and authority.

“... Compromise the Gospel and you lose God’s power,” Ikels said. “Avoid dealing with a changing society and you may wind up a ministerial ‘Maytag repairman’ -- all alone.”

Pastor Ikels chooses to take the bad with the good, however, and has much more “good” to celebrate in his life. The Country Church will celebrate its 13th year with a “Homecoming and Reunion” on Saturday, April 9 -- a celebration of the dedication and commitment his congregation has to the Lord.

“For me, as a pastor, the most amazing thing is seeing the miracles of God with a front-row seat,” Ikels said. “In my life, in the lives of others, and certainly in the life of The Country Church.”

The Country Church has Bible study Sundays at 9:15 a.m. Morning worship and children’s church follow at 10:30 a.m.

For more information, call 830-914-4749 or visit www.thecountrychurch.com.

 
 
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