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Watch 2022 online sermons » John Bradshaw » John Bradshaw - Conversation with Donavon Kack

John Bradshaw - Conversation with Donavon Kack


John Bradshaw - Conversation with Donavon Kack
TOPICS: Conversations

He was raised largely in the great state of Alaska. He's been a logger, a commercial fisherman. In fact, it was while he was a commercial fisherman that he sensed God's call in his life. He became a pastor, and is today an It Is Written affiliated evangelist. I'm John Bradshaw, he is Pastor Donovan Kack, and this is our "Conversation".

Pastor Donovan Kack, welcome to "Conversations". Thanks for being here.

Thank you, I'm glad to be here.

So today you're a full-time evangelist.

That's right.

Traveling on the road with your family, sharing the Word of God with people. You've been in ministry how long?

It's been 26 years.

26 years.

And this is my 26th year.

As of today, 26 years. All right. But your story goes way back beyond that. I wanna talk with you today about evangelism, about soul winning, those great stories of people coming to faith in Christ. We'll talk about the Bible. But why don't we go back. You're from the Pacific Northwest really, so tell me a little bit about how things got started for you. Where you spent your youth.

My dad was a minister, and so I grew up, back in that day, we traveled around quite a bit. Every few years we'd move to a new place. We started in Iowa, I was born there. Moved to Wyoming, moved to Oregon. We moved to Washington State. Pretty much the Northwest was our home after that.

Yeah, so you followed in your dad's footsteps. You have a brother Jim, who's a pastor as well.

I do.

When you were a kid, like eight, nine, 10 years old, did you ever think, "I'm gonna be a pastor like my dad"?

I did, I did. I can remember as a boy, I have the absolute best parents that anybody could possibly want. I mean, my dad is a minister. Sometimes people talk about being a PK.

Yeah.

To me, it was the absolute best experience possible. My parents lived what they taught. And they put an enthusiasm in our lives for the Gospel. I can remember going to Bible meetings at our church and I can remember coming home from those meetings and we'd be praying for the people that were coming to the meetings. And my heroes were those evangelists and John the Baptist and Elijah and I was like, "Yeah, I wanna be like that when I grow up".

You might have already answered my question, but for parents wondering how to turn their children toward the love for the Bible and the love for ministry. I know you covered it briefly, but talk to me some more about how your parents were able to give you a love for the church and a love for faith and a love for ministry, when it often doesn't work out that way.

Looking back, I think the thing that was big for me, they loved it. They absolutely loved it. I mean, it wasn't, "Hey, this is one thing that we do when we're here and when we're home it's a different thing". It was a life. And they had a passion for it. And they had a passion for leading people to Jesus Christ and seeing them fall in love with it. And, I tell you, it's contagious. It really is.

Yeah.

And looking back on it, that was a massive influence in my life and my younger brother as he ended up moving in ministry, too.

So what is this with the Pacific Northwest? You're born in Iowa, but, I mean, every step you took was further from Iowa and closer to Russia. And you ended up in Alaska, and you've ministered in Alaska and the Dakotas, and Montana. You live in Montana now. Tell me about the Pacific Northwest. You must love it out there.

I do love it out there. And we grew up around the mountains. In Wyoming, big time mountains. My grandpa was a sawmill man, so mountains, logging, trees, mountains, it was just born in us.

Yeah.

And then, my mom's family lived more in the Pacific Northwest. And when my dad's parents retired, they moved out to the Northwest. And so, there was a couple things, I think, that were drawing that way.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I know that somehow you got off the track.

Mm-hmm.

But before we get into the details, as it were of that, you ended up logging, which if you live in the Pacific Northwest, you're in Alaska, you have to or they boot you out of the country. And you ended up on commercial fishing boats, which isn't terribly rare for somebody in Alaska, but it may be a little rare for someone who's planning on getting into ministry full time. How did you end up as a fisherman?

Well, at that point, I had no idea ministry was in the cards when I went into logging and commercial fishing. At 16 years old, I finished my ninth grade. My older brother had just graduated from high school. And, my uncle was moving to Alaska. He was moving his whole logging operation up there. And, so he asked me if I wanted to come along. And, I went along. And that summer, we were doing right-of-way logging.

At 16, yeah.

At 16, and it got in my blood.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

And, it was exciting. My older brother stayed in it many years after I did.

Right, right.

But, it was fun.

Yeah, and then somehow you segued to fishing?

I did. After logging for a while, my parents moved up to Alaska, up near Anchorage. And when they went up there, of course, I was really intrigued on what more was in Alaska. And, there were some people that lived there that I knew, that were commercial fishermen, and my brother and I both went and spent our first summer, and we got hooked.

Yeah, hooked.

We got hooked. That's a little.

And so what's that life like for those of us who've never been near a commercial fishing boat in Alaska. What it's like, is it tough? Is it cold? Do you work all day every day? What's it like?

The way that it works is this. Typically, commercial fishing season, at least for us as gill netters in Bristol Bay, basically, from around May to around the end of July. That's pretty much the time. The King Salmon come early. The summers are cool, but you have daylight, and so, you fish. The way that it typically works is they have government fish people that count the fish when they go up the rivers. And so typically they start by giving you fishing periods. And, so you might get to fish one tide and then they'll stop and they'll see how much they have going up the river. But once they get their escapement up the river, you're on full time.

It's a lot, yeah.

And it's gill nets, and so, we've got three shackles about the length of a football field, out behind our boat that go about 12 feet deep. And just get in there. And then, you've got hydraulics that pull them in and then you pick. Each individual fish has to be picked out of that net. And you load them into brailers, and then when you fill those big bags, each one has about 2000 pounds of fish in there. When you get those loaded up, there's tenders that anchor up out there where you're fishing, and you go over, you tie up to them, and they've got cranes that come down, lift those bags off. It's exciting.

Yeah, it is.

It is exciting, but by the end of the season, once they get their escapement up the river, you're fishing 24 hours a day, and it can get grueling.

Yeah.

Donovan Kack: But it's fun.

Do you recommend that life to a kid looking for adventure?

Before you get married, it's a good thing.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

After you get married, I would not recommend it.

Oh, good, you'd just gone all the time.

You're gone too much.

Yeah, that's not good. Now I haven't heard the story, even though I know you've told it around here, but circumstances conspired in one way or another to kind of lead you away. What happened?

I grew up, my first couple of years I was homeschooled. Then I went to a Christian school. And I loved it, it was a wonderful experience. Growing closer to the Lord. Then we moved to a new area out in the northwest there in Washington and I got involved in a new school, and I was just going into seventh grade. It was much bigger than any school I'd been in before. And they had an intramural sports program that began to turn my life in a whole new direction, because I found that I really loved sports and to me, it became so exciting that I began to wanna play it. If I wasn't playing it, I was practicing it. If I wasn't practicing it, I was watching sports. And it was a subtle journey for me because slowly, in fact I think it probably wasn't until a year or two later than it began to dawn on me what was happening. And when my parents would call for family worship, it wasn't nearly as exciting as the game that I had just watched.

Right.

And, slowly my time, personal time in the Bible, began to lessen. And along with sports came a different kind of music that was not designed to enhance a relationship with God. Rock and roll became a part of my life and it just began to just suck the feet right underneath from me. And in the midst of this, I finished my ninth grade. That school only went to ninth grade. At that, that was the summer that we went to Alaska. And when I got up there I started logging. And during this whole time, John, I never stopped going to church.

Mm-hmm.

But I learned something. You can be just as lost in church as you can be doing anything you want to out there.

Sure.

And that is exactly what it was for me. I was in the church, but I was not having a relationship with Jesus Christ.

So how'd this turn around?

Well, you know what, when I was just working, logging, commercial fishing, I did some construction, we moved asbestos. But it was toward the end of my time, I did four summers commercial fishing. And it was my last summer commercial fishing that partway through that summer, we had some of our friends out there, their boat went down and the two crew members drowned.

Oh, you knew the crew?

Donovan Kack: I knew them.

Oh, okay.

At that point, I thought I was never gonna die. I was never gonna have to face anything like this. And that was a wake-up call. I remember, I heard the news as I was listening to my Walkman. You remember what a Walkman was?

Oh, oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, those were the days.

And it was about two o'clock in the morning and they were giving an update on the fishery. We had some really bad, bad weather that night. And the planes were flying over the sea, 1:30, flying over there looking. And then the report came on that they found these guys. The captain of the boat had drowned, but he had his survival gear half on. But the two crew members didn't make it and I was just like. I remember taking the Walkman off. I threw it on the top of the anchor and I said, "Man, God, if You really are who You say You are, then I've got to stop fooling around". And it was at that moment that I went in and I went down in the cab of the boat, down to where my bunk was, and I reached in and I got my Bible that my mom had made sure that I took with me when I left home.

Yeah.

And I took it out and I took it back on the bow of the boat and I'll tell you what, it was at that moment that I knew that either I was gonna be 100% for God or it wasn't gonna be anything. And at that moment, the last thing on my mind was doing what I'm doing now.

Yeah, right.

I couldn't have imagined it in 1000 years.

So what do you think your parents were doing during this time and how did they relate to you. Here's this second son, who loved family worship and was excited about ministry, but they are seeing you drift.

Mm-hmm.

How did they relate to you during this time? How did they encourage you? Was there haranguing and hectoring? Or were they especially patient? Just tell me how they worked with you.

You know what? They absolutely loved me. I never can remember one time them haranguing me about anything. But I can tell you one thing that I know, my mom and my dad were both doing, and I knew it, they didn't have to tell me. They were praying for me. And they were praying big time. And when you know that your parents are praying for you, man, I'll tell you, that's huge. And I believe that I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for my mom and dad and their prayers.

Yeah, that's something that all parents need to take on board, isn't it?

Mm-hmm.

Yeah. Okay, so presumably you got off the boat. You had a new heart. What happened next? Or when did you sense that God was calling you to train for ministry? How did that come about?

Well, even before that season was over, a seed was planted in my mind. I didn't recognize it at the time, but they had what they called fishermen's church,

Okay.

You just meet on the beach.

Sure.

And I don't remember who it was that was preaching that day. I can't remember a thing that he preached about except for one thing. And he said something that, and it grabbed my attention. He goes, "We get to do something right here, right now, in this old wicked, sinful world that is good, that we'll never get to do in heaven". And I was thinking, "No way".

Hey, you got my attention now.

Yeah. I can't imagine anything that we could do here that's good that we couldn't do there. And then he said, "You'll never be able to lead a lost person to Jesus".

Yeah, how about that? Amen.

And I'll tell you, over the coming months following that, I could not get that out of my mind.

John Bradshaw: Really.

At that point, my goal, I wanted to get my own boat and permit.

Sure.

I wanted to commercial fish in the summertime. I'd be able to make enough that pretty much the rest of the year I could do whatever I wanted to do. And all of a sudden, as I began thinking about pursuing that, it felt empty. And then I thought about, oh, starting a business and doing this and, it just seemed so empty. And then when I combined that with losing those guys out there, and just realizing how quickly life could be ended, I just began to sense that I wanted to do something that made a difference.

Yeah.

But I knew that ministry wouldn't be it because public speaking scared me to death. And so, I decided finally when that conviction wouldn't go away, that I would become a pilot.

Okay.

And I would fly missionaries around the world.

And you became a pilot.

And I was working on it.

Okay.

I took ground school. I went to college, enrolled as aviation major. Took my ground school. Started my flight training. And I was part way through my flight training that one morning I got up, I was just spending time in my Bible, and it was like, when are you gonna do what I want you to do? And I mean, I didn't hear a voice, but the conviction just hit me. And I go, "What do you mean? I love flying". And I thought and this was it. And at that moment it just began a thing that would not go away. And I began to really, truly sense a call to the Gospel ministry. And it wouldn't leave, John, it just wouldn't go away.

Well, I'm glad God called and it wouldn't leave and it wouldn't go away. So, what did you do? Did you change majors?

I did.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

I did. I don't know if I did that year, but I know by the time I hit my sophomore year, I'd changed majors to theology.

I wanna be careful here because I know a little bit about this, having spoken to you. I'll leave out the name of the school because that was in a different time and it's fair to say that the theology program at that school has changed. But it was discouraging for you to begin with, if I recall correctly.

You're right. I went through my first two years at college. The second year I was intentionally in the theology program. By the time I was through my sophomore year, which was in December, 'cause I was not a normal student, when we hit that time, I went home for Christmas and it was over that break I told my dad, I said, "You know, I thought I felt the call to ministry, but," I said, "if this is what ministry's about, I've realized that's not for me".

What was it? Was it skepticism being taught or what was it?

Basically they were bringing up a lot of questions and creating doubts as to what have we believed and they were not answering it. The whole focus of what ministry was about wasn't what I had seen modeled in my own home.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, yeah.

And it was just creating all kinds of questions. And I thought, "Man, if this is really what it, I really don't think this is it".

That's a teaching method.

Mm-hmm.

That some people ascribe to. I don't.

Donovan Kack: Right.

Because I've seen young guys go off to school, different school now.

Mm-hmm.

And be told, okay, we're gonna dismantle your faith. Direct quote, and then we're gonna put it back together in the next year. They don't make to the next year.

That's right, that's right.

So this kind of teaching, it's idiocy, as a matter of fact, I think I'm being kind. So, good news is you transferred schools. You didn't bail out. You transferred schools.

I did.

Okay.

I did. My dad suggested, "Hey, why don't you try a different school". And so, guess what? Two days later.

Two days.

Without even contacting that university, I got in my pickup and I drove about 1,800 miles to a whole different school.

You did.

And it began, it was one of the best decisions I made.

Fantastic. There have been many good decisions made and the best decisions was made, was when Jesus died for you and decided for you. But from there, ministry was born and ministry flourished today. Donovan is an evangelist. We've got much more to talk about. This is "Conversations". We'll be right back.

Welcome back to "Conversations". I'm John Bradshaw. Special guest today is Pastor Donovan Kack, who is an It Is Written affiliated evangelist. And we've been talking so far, Donovan, about your entrance to ministry. You made it to college. Changed majors. Changed colleges. Somehow you got out of there and into ministry. Tell me what that was like and where you ended up.

Oh, it was exciting because for me, I have my first district was on the same island that I had logged at.

Oh, no kidding.

On Prince of Wales Island up in southeast Alaska.

So there you were back, back in town. People knew you.

Yeah. Back in the same place, that's right.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

In fact some of the guys I'd stayed with in the bunkhouse were still there.

Is that right.

When I went back.

Yeah. So you got a call to Alaska. You'd been raised in Alaska, so that was an easy. Roughly a no brainer.

Donovan Kack: That's right.

Okay. What was that like going into your first district?

It was intimidating. It was scary.

Yeah.

Public speaking still scared me to death. I was not called into ministry because public speaking was the thing that was just burning in my heart.

No?

It was seeing people come to Christ. That was the thing that was burning in my heart. I remember the very first time that I had to get up and preach, and I was in the back room before you come on the platform. I was so nervous I felt like I was going to explode. And actually had to get down and do pushups to try and get some of that nervous energy out. But, man, I'll tell you what, God, worked His miracle, He took that away, and then it just became the joy of ministry pointing people to the greatest hope that we have.

Yeah, Amen. Getting into ministry can be intimidating.

Donovan Kack: Yeah.

And you can take a while to get your legs under you. What was your entrance into ministry like? Did you have supportive people around you? Were you just kind of left to figure it out on your own? And what would you remember as the challenges?

Oh, boy. The challenges were pretty intense. Basically, I ended up on an island. I had two different churches. One of them was a logging float camp. When I first got there it was 96 miles away on logging roads. And I was there on my own. I had never given a real genuine Bible study. There was a lot of things that I hadn't done. I hadn't run a board meeting. I didn't really know how to do it, so I had to learn. In fact, two weeks into my time there, I remember I met with the church after potluck. And we were sitting around and I asked them, I said, "What is it that you would like for me as your new pastor"?

Yeah, what'd they say?

And they said, "Well, we want you to teach us how to win our friends to Christ, we really do". And, John, I should have been really excited about that, but I'd never done it. I had never led anybody to the Lord. I had the ideas in my mind, but it was intimidating, but I couldn't leave it to the pastor anymore.

Right, that's right. You were the pastor.

I was it. And I remember that night, I wasn't married yet. I went back to my trailer and I'll tell you, I had all kinds of conflicting feelings. I felt like, loading my duffle bag and just getting on the ferry and disappearing. I thought, "Lord, what am I doing here"? And that night I wrestled. I agonized. And it lasted until about two o'clock in the morning until I was completely exhausted. And the next morning when I woke up, I'll tell you what, I knew exactly. It was like God just, he honed it in. So, you don't know how to do it, you get out there and you figure it out.

And you did.

And I did.

How'd that come about?

I did.

An invitation or, what happened?

What happened is, when I was in college, when I was going in college the second two years, I started going around and I became involved in going door to door selling Christian.

Ah, literature evangelism.

I did. And it was a powerful preparation for me. Because I don't think I would have stayed in the ministry without it.

I have read, I think this is an exact quote, "There is no better training for any line of ministerial work than colporteur ministry".

Donovan Kack: That's right.

Fantastic.

It was awesome. So, I decided I'm gonna go around, I'm gonna knock on my neighbors' doors and see if I can find somebody to study with 'cause I need to figure out how to do this. So, I did. I knocked, "Hey, I'm Donovan, I'm your new neighbor, just moved in the area. Wonder if you'd like to study the Bible". Not even that super of an approach, but guess what?

It's straight forward.

By the end of two or three days, I had four different families that said yes.

Really?

And it began a process for me. I remember, as I began to do Bible studies, I really didn't know what I was doing. And I remember the first time, I was asked a question in one of the those studies that I did not know the answer to. And I came away from that Bible study feeling like a complete failure. I mean, like I had just blown it.

John Bradshaw: Uh-huh.

And I remember I got back home and I called my dad. And my dad's a minister, remember, and I said, "Dad, I don't know, I think I've just absolutely blown it. I mean, they asked me a simple question, I should know the answer to, and now here, I had told them I don't know. And they're gonna think, man, this is the pastor and he doesn't know? What kind of church is that"? And he said something to me that just completely took all that stress away. And my dad says, "Hey, you get asked a question you don't know the answer to? Tell them, I don't know. And, but tell them, I'll get back with you on it".

There you go.

"And then, do it". And he goes, "They'll appreciate it". I'll tell you, John, at that point, that's exactly what I did. It took the pressure away, and Bible studies became fun.

One of the things that I've discovered and I've polled congregations and you know from same reason, one of the things that keeps people from sharing their faith is they're afraid they don't all the answers.

That's right.

Well, who knows all the answers?

Don't.

The seminary professor doesn't have all the answers.

Donovan Kack: That's right.

You just be honest with somebody. "Nope, don't know, you got me here, but I'll get back to you".

That's right.

John Bradshaw: I'll call my dad.

That's right.

I'll look online. I'll dig into a book. We don't have to worry about that sort of thing, do we?

And then do it.

That's right, that's right.

Yeah, yeah.

So what happened there in on the island in Alaska? Did the church begin to grow?

It did, it did begin to grow. But what happened is, was this, my boss was very interested in encouraging us to win people to Jesus Christ. That's why I felt called to ministry in the first place. I wanted to see people come to Christ. It wasn't just about growing the church, I wanted to see people getting ready to meet Jesus.

Yeah, hey, I'm gonna interrupt. So you were in the right place. Imagine if you'd got a call to some other place where there wasn't that sort of emphasis.

Yeah.

You'd have just become just another pastor who shares board meetings and plays golf.

Yeah, I wouldn't be in ministry today.

John Bradshaw: No, no, no.

Yeah.

No.

And so, anyway, I got passionate about Bible studies. We were having all kinds of Bible studies going. People in the church were beginning to give Bible studies. And I went to some pastors' meetings and my boss, he took me aside at those meetings and he said, "Donovan, have you thought about having a public series of evangelist meetings where people can be led to Christ". And he goes, "there's just something powerful about it because they're designed to help people make decisions".

Right.

And I had thought about it because he had talked about it before, but I thought, "Oh, my church isn't ready. Oh, well, we've just got to do a lot more work and maybe after a couple more years we'll get ready". And before I could even get any words out of my mouth, he says, "You're ready, you are absolutely ready". And we got up, we walked down the hall, he introduces me to our conference evangelist, and he says, "Donovan wants to do meetings". And I'm thinking, "I didn't say that".

He assumed the sale.

Donovan Kack: He did.

Like a good literature evangelist.

He did. And I'll tell you what, it was exciting because we sat down, we set up a date for the meeting. Now I have something to work for. A time, and so I went back and talked to the church and they began to work a little more intentionally. And guess what, when he came down and he held a series of meetings, and he stood up, just with his Bible in his hand, I got riveted. It was personal.

Yeah.

And I got excited. And not only that, but our hall was packed. And you've got to remember, this church was on an island in the little tiny town of Craig, southeast Alaska, and we only had about 20 people coming to church. At the end of that series we had 11 baptisms.

Wow, that's powerful.

The church was ignited.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

I knew I was addicted. I was hooked. I was absolutely hooked. You could not take me away from that. And I knew that for the rest of my life, evangelistic meetings were gonna be a part of the life of any church where I was the pastor.

Yeah. That administrator you referenced, Jim Stevens, right?

Yes.

John Bradshaw: Still holding meetings today.

Still holding meetings.

Yes, still on fire. Thank God. Still leading people to Jesus, that what's happened.

That's right. And something else that he did that was such a big thing for me personally, was every month, he made a huge investment in us guys that were just new ministers, and he flew all of us up to Anchorage just to spend a whole entire day with us, encouraging us in ministry, letting us ask questions, and to this day, I look back at that as being a huge factor personally in my growth in evangelism.

Yeah, one of the things that a lot of church members don't realize, A, many pastors, and I don't mean to throw pastors under the bus with my comment about just another pastor playing golf 'cause I mean, not that any pastors, we recognize with would be, and nothing wrong with a golf pastor.

Donovan Kack: Yeah.

Let's quit while we're behind. But a lot of pastors aren't taught in school how to give Bible studies or to conduct evangelist meetings. Some of them aren't encouraged to do it. Some of them are encouraged not to do it.

That's right.

Many young pastors aren't mentored, like you had the privilege of being mentored by Jim and encouraged by those around you. So, church members might wanna remember that we all want our pastor to be like Jesus and there's not a single one that is. So you were encouraged, you were thrust in the deep end here. How did that impact your church? You said there was an influx of new members, what did it do for the members? Because they were asking you, teach us to reach others. Did that work?

It worked. It worked. And the church began to grow and grow. It wasn't long after that, in fact, it was one year after that, we did our first satellite meetings.

Oh, great.

Net '96.

John Bradshaw: Yeah. By It Is Written.

By It Is Written, yes, indeed. And they were excited. They were the ones that pushed it.

Nice.

They said, "We've got to have this".

See what happens?

It's happens.

Yeah.

And, we had more baptisms from that one and after that they wanted to plan the next one.

Great. Hey, you said a moment ago, you believed your church wasn't ready.

Mm-hmm.

Oh, man, we hear that all the time. I don't know how many ready churches there actually are. We've had, myself, I've had meetings that have been postponed or canceled because the church was in turmoil or there were problems there and it really wasn't the time. But how often is a church really not ready?

As I've gone in and done meetings, the biggest thing is, is that people invite people.

Yeah.

If they'll invite people, man, I'll tell you, I've watched churches that thought absolutely about calling the meetings off, and then when it's over, they're saying, "Man, if we would have known it was gonna be like this, oh, man, alive, we're glad we did it".

Happens to us all the time. If only we'd known. Well, we told you.

That's right.

We told you, this works.

Donovan Kack: That's right.

God is into this. The typical church doesn't believe it's ready, the typical. Some churches do, "Yeah, we can do this". But how many times, we're not ready. So what do you do if you're the pastor of a church or you're the board of a church and it's that typical malaise, we're not ready. What do you do?

I'll just give you a for instance. One of the last churches that I went in to pastor, it was in the Midwest, and it was a small church. We had about 20 people. And anyhow, they were thinking about things and I was trying to encourage them toward soul winning, toward evangelism. First of all, I visited all the people and the members and stuff. And after I'd been there six months, eight months, I began to talk about doing an evangelistic series, and they were a little bit hesitant.

And then they began to resist a little bit more. They said, "Well, it's gonna cost a lot of money and our church is in debt. How can we afford to do that right now? And besides, people are entrenched in their churches". They really are, 'cause in the Midwest, a highly religious Catholic and Lutheran and different ones.

Yeah, people them deep roots down there.

Yeah, they put roots wherever they're at.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

And anyhow, we kept trying to encourage them. And there was a resistance. And finally, I remember one night I came home and I said to my wife, I said, "They're really kind of resistant to the idea". I said, "What could we do"? So we prayed about it. And out of that conversation we came up with an idea. And, the next board meeting that we had, I asked them if they would be open to us even using the building to do a series of meetings. 'Cause they were nervous, they just weren't sure it was gonna work. And, they said, "Oh, yeah, but what about the money"? And I said, "Well, my wife and I will take care of whatever we're short of".

John Bradshaw: Oh, yeah?

When the meetings are over.

Yeah.

And, well, all the reasons were now gone for not doing a series of meetings. And we invited an evangelist to come, Jack Caron, do you know him?

Yeah.

Jack's a great evangelist.

Yeah, good friend of mine and anyhow, so we set the date and we were approaching the time and the church members made a few invitations, but some of them wouldn't even commit to coming to the meetings.

Really.

But when the opening night came, they were curious to see what would happen. And so we had about eight of our church members, eight of the 20.

Okay.

That were actually there.

That's a good percentage.

Yeah, absolutely.

Yeah.

And that opening night we had 34 visitors.

Oh, that'd never seen it like that.

Donovan Kack: I know.

Wow.

They were excited, man.

There's a church that wasn't ready.

Yeah, that's right.

Yeah.

A church that wasn't. The next night, there were about 15 of the 20 members that were there.

Oh, yeah.

Yeah, they were there and they were excited. They were blown away. And at the end of that series, we had 12 baptisms.

20 members, 12 baptisms.

Donovan Kack: 12 baptisms.

The church didn't wanna do it.

No, it hadn't wanted to do it.

So, what did this do for the church? What was their reaction?

Oh, the reaction was phenomenal. In fact, the meetings came to an end on a Saturday. The next day, I was delivering some of the videos that people had gotten of the seminar.

Yeah.

And I was delivering to one of my neighbors, he was a farmer in the area. And, anyhow, he wrote a check out for the videos and we had come up about $5,000 short for the entire cost of the meeting.

Which meant you and Jane were gonna have to pull $5,000 out of your back pocket somehow.

We figured we'd work out something.

John Bradshaw: Right.

Anyway, he writes a check for the videos and then he flipped his checkbook and he writes out a check for $8,000.

Come on.

I'm not kidding.

Really, wow.

And that week, when I went back and we met with the church for our board meeting, our treasurer had tears in her eyes when I handed her the check. And the church began to say to me, "We've got to do this again".

Oh, they wanted to do it again.

"We've got to do this again".

Fantastic.

And I said, "Yeah," I said, "You're right. We need to do it again. Let's begin planning for it next year". And they said, "Next year? We can't wait until next year".

Come on.

And, so we didn't, guess what?

What?

Five months later, we had another series of meetings, Lyle Albrecht.

Yeah, sure.

He came and did a series of meetings.

Lyle's an inveterate, I mean, campaigner. Held so many meetings.

That's right. And five months later, we had another series.

John Bradshaw: Yeah?

19 more baptisms.

No way.

19 more baptisms.

So, 12 and then five months later 19.

And it was all in the same year.

Fantastic.

And after that, I had to get out of the way. The church was on it. They said, "We've got to grow". And evangelism became a part of the cycle. In fact, the church grew to the point of where we had to build a whole new building.

Fantastic, how's the church doing today?

Good.

Yeah, really.

Really good.

I was at a camp meeting in another part of the country and they played a video by a man who was the lay leader in the church, an elder in the church. And he said, "Our pastor wanted to do evangelistic meetings. I was against it. I wanted nothing to do with it but the meetings went ahead. And I started to attend. And I saw what God was doing.

Donovan Kack: That's right. And I'm convinced, this is what we've got to be doing. The man is in boots and all.

Really.

So I don't know how it is that people get educated against public evangelism. But, man, don't we need to be telling people, this works. Of course, you're gonna have disappointing meetings. Of course, you are. You've got to plan well. You've got to execute well. You've got to pray. The church members need to be involved. There are some factors you need.

That's right, that's right.

But Jesus never said there's no one to save. He said the harvest is great.

Donovan Kack: That's right.

Problem is the laborers are few.

One of the things that I discovered. 'Cause, John, I pastored for 23 years before I began full-time public evangelism myself.

Yeah.

And so, I guess that my heart resonates with the pastor.

Sure, sure, sure.

But one of the things that I think, and I had to learn this. I learned this the hard way is you do a series of meetings and we used to call them in the olden days an effort.

Yeah, sure.

It takes a lot of effort.

John Bradshaw: That's right.

And when it's over, you're kinda. And then we think, "All right, we're good to go for a few years". Don't make that mistake. I'll tell you, one of the biggest things I learned and I had never done two series of meetings until that period of time. But I learned that when we had two series in a year, the second series, we always had greater results than the first one. Because the people that come in in the first meeting, they've got a whole bunch of friends.

That's right.

Donovan Kack: And they wanna share it.

Yeah.

So why wait until that fire begins to wane. Let's get them excited.

Yeah, I held a series of meetings in a city, and great church, fantastic church, and the pastors there said, "We need meetings". So I came in and we held meetings. We had a Bible worker working for us. And this guy trained the church members, did a great job. There was a good number of people baptized. He put them straight into a class and the Sabbath School class was, How to Win People to Christ. He didn't tell them it was a Bible worker training class, he said, "This is just what we do". So they said, "Okay, yup".

And he said, "I," that's he, "am gonna hold a series". And honestly, I thought to myself.

Donovan Kack: Oh, no.

This guy can't preach.

And I didn't say that critically. I knew he couldn't preach.

Donovan Kack: Okay.

And I thought, this is gonna be, well, thank God there's a God. You just never know. You know, that series that was held, the second series, by a young man holding his first ever series of meetings had greater results in every way than the series held by the professional.

Wow, wow.

It was a great result.

That's right.

He just said, "Let's do it again". And all those people who were baptized before, they began as Bible workers.

That's right.

For the next meeting.

Unashamed, man, they're excited, they're on fire.

Oh, yeah, we got to share this message.

And, if they catch it in that first year, they'll never lose it.

That's right. It sets the path for their future life in ministry. Fantastic. We've got more to talk about. He is Donovan Kack, an It Is Written affiliated evangelist. I'm John Bradshaw. More in a moment. This is "Conversations".

Welcome back to "Conversations". I'm joined by Pastor Donovan Kack, who is an evangelist with It Is Written. Really thrilled to have you on the team.

I'm thrilled to be on the team, John.

I mean, you're here because you're holding meetings right at this stage in Chattanooga.

Chattanooga.

Chattanooga is, I think, officially the most church city in all of the United States.

I believe it.

Churches on every street corner around here. So how have you seen people respond in a city like this. I mean, I don't mean to say people won't respond, we're seeing them respond. What's it been like ministering in the Bible belt? Very first time you've been down here.

It's fantastic. I can't wait to do it again.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, yeah.

I just believe that God's got His people everywhere. And in a church area, that just means there's gonna be more people that are interested.

That's right. And more people that are a little jaded, little like, "Eh, I'm looking for something with real meaning".

Donovan Kack: That's right.

We had a lady that we baptized just recently and she said, "When we moved to this area, I went to my husband's denomination church". She said, "It was nice enough, but all they did was tell us little stories". That's how she described it, little stories. And she connected with the "Hope Awakens" series that we did online, connected with the local church in. She said, "This is solid, it's substantial, it's Jesus". Why don't we talk for a few minutes now about what you've seen, stories, people, people who have responded, decisions that have been made. You've got 1000 stories.

I absolutely, absolutely. The number one thing that I believe is the key in the soul-winning process is building friendships.

Yeah.

Building friendships, that's it. And I've got a real quick one. When we moved to the Midwest, we got a little place out in the country. I have six boys.

Right.

And so I wanted a place where they could spread their wings and wouldn't have to be quiet and all that good stuff.

Yeah, where they could be boys.

Where they could be boys.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

And, anyway, there was a tiny, little town, maybe 80 people. But in this town, there was a bank. That's the only thing they had there. No gas station, no nothing but a bank. And so we decided, "Hey, it's close. It's only six miles from where we lived," we decided to do our banking there and whatever. Anyway, we went to start a bank account there and get some of our insurance for our house and stuff. And anyway, the banker, she was the banker here. She's working at the bank and she's taking my information and everything. And she gets started in a conversation with me. And, pretty soon she's like, "Well, what do you do"? And I said, "Well, I'm a minister". "Whoa, a minister, really". And she wasn't used to that because there was only a couple in that whole area. And she had never met somebody like me. So she starts asking me, "So, do you tell your people who to vote for"? This was right during the election time.

Oh, yeah, yeah.

"Who do you tell your members to vote for"? And I said, "Well, we don't actually do that". And anyway, she starts bombarding me with questions, Bible questions. Just throwing them out there, wanting to know what I thought about this and this. Finally I said to her, I said, "You've got a lot of questions". And I've learned the quickest way to lose an interest is to answer all those questions.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Just off the cuff.

Yeah, yeah.

And so I told her, I said, "What would you think if you went home and you talked to your husband and you see if he would be okay if I came over to your guys' place and we just begin studying the Bible? Went through subject by subject". She said, "You'd do that"? I said, "Yeah, absolutely". I said, "That's what I love to do. What do you think ministers do during the week"? Right?

Yeah, well, yeah.

And, anyway, so she went home. Couple days later she calls me up, "Hey, Donovan, I talked to my husband and he says, he's good with it. He said that sounds exciting". And, she goes, "but I invited my closest friend and her husband to come, too, is that okay"?

Well, what did you say? What did you say?

I said, "Oh, no, we don't allow that". No. I said, no, I said, "That would be absolutely great". And we began studying the Bible. And, anyway, what happened is, she got excited, and what was happening is we weren't able to finish the meetings. I mean finish our Bible studies before we had a series of meetings.

Oh, good timing.

And she took a leap and she came to the meetings. And she was slow, you know what happened? She came all the way through those meetings and she didn't make a decision.

No?

Donovan Kack: No.

What happened?

But we kept staying close to her.

John Bradshaw: All right.

And five months later, we did the second meetings. And I invited her to come back, she came back again. By that time, she was convicted. And not enough to make a decision to become part of the church, but she heard the truth. And she goes, "I'll come". She started coming.

Yeah.

And, the next series of meetings, I said, "Are you ready now"? "Nope, not ready yet". And I said, "But you see it's true"? "Ah, it's true, it's true". And so I said, "Well, hey, we're having a class on Wednesday night. We're having a class before church. And would you be willing to be a part of that"? "Absolutely". So she's doing that, she's coming to church, she's getting involved. The next meeting, two meetings in, she says, "I wanna get baptized".

Fantastic.

She gets baptized. You know what? She became the evangelism coordinator for the church.

Did she really?

Donovan Kack: She did.

Now is this on her fourth series?

Fourth series.

Hey, that's something that's really important that you bring up. Because not everybody makes a decision like that.

That's right.

So, what's the message there?

Keep pressing on.

Stay in touch with people.

That's right, that's right.

A lady came to our meeting not very far from where I'm sitting here, but it was about 20 years ago. And she just loved it. We get through the meetings and she says, "You know, I don't wanna make a decision because my husband is at home". So we went back to the area a year later, 20 miles away, she starts commuting over and she says, "This is it, I wanna give my life to Jesus and really practice what I believe in". I made an appeal for people to stand up, right at the end of the day. "If you wanna join the church or give your life to Jesus or be baptized," or whatever it was. And keep in mind the decisions were all based on faith in Christ, giving your heart to Jesus. She stood up. Her husband is sitting there. He came to some of the meetings. Reached up, grabbed her, and pulled her down. Oh, yeah, oh, yeah. So, a year later we're back in the original location. She's coming to the meeting. She says, "I'm being baptized. I don't care what my husband does, says, I'm in and he knows it, too". Well the husband is attending, too.

Donovan Kack: That's right.

Every single meeting. So, the last day there's a wonderful baptism and this dear lady is baptized. She's a wonderful soul. And then there's a disturbance.

Oh, oh.

The husband puts his hand up. I thinking, "Oh, no, don't do this. Jesus, please stop him". He stands up and he says, "Pastor," addressing the church pastor, "Pastor, can I say something"? Oh, no. "My wife is the woman of faith". She goes, "Thank you, Jesus". She's wiping away tears of joy. "Oh, I didn't know you, oh, thank God". I'm thinking, "Oh, save us". and, it's interesting, the pastor, he was so nervous he said, "Yes, we know you". And mentioned, "We know you, sure you can speak". He's going through in his mind, "Do I let this guy speak or not". He comes to the front, he grabs the mic, he says, "Brothers and sisters, it's taken me some time. I've been so inspired by my wife's faith and dedication". And he said, 'If you would have me".

Donovan Kack: Oh.

"I would love to become part of this church family as well".

Oh, man, oh, man.

Strong in the church, strong.

It never gets old, does it?

No, you just hang in there with people. Yeah, and it's exciting.

We had a gal coming to our meetings up in Cleveland, up in North Dakota.

Okay.

Little small, little meeting. A friend invited her to the meeting. She came all the way through, her husband did not. He wasn't interested. And I think he did come to two meetings, but that was it. And at the end of the meetings, she was just nervous that if she made a decision that it might cause a division in the home.

Sure.

And so she didn't. She decided that she would come to church and she did occasionally. I kept in contact with the church and they said she came occasionally. But then she moved away, 70 miles away. And a year later, we were doing a series of meetings about 25 miles away from where that church was.

Okay.

And, I let her know. I said, "Hey, you know what, we're coming back to that area". Guess what? She drove 70 miles, one way in the winter time.

No way.

In blizzards, to come to the meetings.

John Bradshaw: Wow.

And she comes about two or three, maybe four meetings in, and she asked to meet with me after one of the meetings. And so we sat down right there in the front, and she goes, "Donovan, I'm going forward".

Fantastic.

And I said, "Really". I said, "What about you husband"? "Well, I'm telling him I'm going forward".

All right.

So she did, she left that night, she went home, and she told her husband. She goes, "I'm, I'm going forward. I've found what I believe is where God wants me to be and I love it with all of my heart, and I'm going forward". And, he didn't say anything. But the next meeting, he was there.

Oh, he was there.

He was there. And not only was he there, but he brought his sister. And they began to come, come, come all the way through the meetings. By the time we came to the end of the meeting, he was baptized.

Fantastic.

Donovan Kack: His sister was baptized.

Praise the Lord.

And his wife was baptized.

Hallelujah.

And now his sister is working for the church.

No way, really?

Yeah, yeah.

How fantastic is that?

So exciting.

Isn't that good? Hey, I know we've still got a few minutes here, but let's mention this. If someone would like to have you come to their church, of course, you wanna go through the church.

Donovan Kack: Mm-hmm.

You can't invite on behalf of the church unless the church is with you. But if someone's interested in getting you or another one of our It Is Written speakers to come to the church, what should they do?

Right, contact It Is Written. It's a great place. They can contact, you right there.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Or you can contact me, [email protected] Pastor K-A-C-K.

John Bradshaw: Yeah. Yup.

Either way, but doing it right through It Is Written will be the best.

Yeah, sure. You call us here at It Is Written any time and if you'd like to have Pastor Donovan Kack, or another one of our team of affiliated evangelists to minister in your area, let us know. We'll make it happen. I really do believe this is a good time for sharing the message of Christ.

Absolutely, the best time.

This isn't just rhetoric. I think in my, whatever, how many years of ministry, this is the best time.

It is, it is. In fact, I've got proof of that fact right here in Chattanooga. The people that are coming to the meetings, they said, "If you were to come to the meetings a year ago, we would never have been here".

Oh, they said that.

Matter of fact, quite of few of them tell me that.

That's really interesting.

And through what's happening in our country, the turmoil that's happening in our nation, through the whole COVID sickness and through the tornado that went up right through here. They said, some of them said it was the tornado. Some said it was the disturbance in our nation that just made them question.

Yeah, the tornado now as we speak was months and months ago. We still see the damage.

Donovan Kack: We do.

A literal stone throw from where we're sitting, but a little further away there are still houses torn up.

Donovan Kack: That's right.

And completely damaged and demolished. Some of them being rebuilt already. Yeah, God has a way of getting people's attention and I mean that in the kindest way. I'm not saying God sicced the tornado on them. You know what I mean.

That's right, that's right.

Let's share another story. We've still got time. Why don't you tell me another, something else that you've seen in ministry that's like yes.

Yeah, oh, man. I'll tell you, when I was Anchorage, Alaska, I was having Bible studies, a series of Bible studies with a young Filipino family. And they were excited and we were making our way through the studies. Hadn't gone more than three or four Bible studies in when right in the middle of a Bible study, they get a phone call. And so the wife gets up, she goes in the other room, she's gone for a few minutes, pretty soon she comes back. And she goes, "Oh, that was one of my coworkers. And I just told her I needed to get back to my Bible study. And they said, 'What's going on?'" And she explained it to them. And I said, "Well, why didn't you invite her to come"?

John Bradshaw: Right.

"That would have, that would have been a great thing".

Yeah.

And she said, "Well, I did and she didn't think that would work, but she wanted me to call her as soon as we got out of the Bible study". So, we left the Bible study and got in the car and I called, and the lady was really nice. She said, "Hey, my friend was telling me that you're doing Bible studies". And I said, "Yeah". She goes, "You'll do that for anybody"? "Sure, well, why"? She goes, "Well, I would like to do that". And I said, 'Well, you'd be more than welcome to come to the studies that we're doing with your friends here". "No, I prefer you come to our house". And so, I said, "No problems". We set up a time. And about a week later, we're driving, we show up at her house, there were 35 people ready for the Bible study when we got there.

Wow, thank the Lord.

That's right. They brought their whole entire family. We had to eat a big meal. And we began studying with the whole family. And, you know what? It was not too long after that, we had another series of meetings that was planned, and 14 of them made a decision and were baptized.

14.

14, 14.

And all became about because she called your friend.

Donovan Kack: That's right.

While you were having the Bible study.

That's right.

See, there are people there out there.

Mm-hmm.

There are people looking longingly toward heaven and they would go if someone would just take them by the hand and say, "It's this way".

That's right.

So, I know you, we wanted to encourage people, churches, people to get involved in sharing their faith with others, churches to proclaim the message.

Absolutely.

So what about all this public evangelism doesn't work stuff that some people traffic in, not everybody?

All I can say is, maybe they haven't done it for a long time and they need to try it again. I learned something as a pastor that was huge. And that was this, I was focused on Bible studies and I found that sometimes it can be difficult to bridge people from Bible studies into that decision.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

To go all the way with Jesus. And I found a secret. And can I share a secret on your program?

Oh, yeah, you can.

Donovan Kack: Yeah?

Sure, yeah.

And that was this. That when you combine the personal Bible studies with the public meeting, it's the secret. It is the key ingredient because the public meetings are designed for decisions.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

And so when you do that, it just moves naturally into that decision-making process and people that I would have struggles trying to help them through that, once they're in the meetings, they just absolutely move forward and it was just beautiful.

Next time you're here, we're gonna talk about the dynamics of an evangelistic meeting.

Mm-hmm.

We'll talk about what really happens there and the way the Spirit of God works, lest somebody think maybe the wrong thing. I didn't even have time to ask you about how your family's doing. Your six boys and Jana, your wife, everybody doing good?

Donovan Kack: They're doing great.

They're loving life on the road?

Oh, well, you know what? Living on the road isn't the easiest thing to do.

Right, I know, did it for years and years.

But because of what we're doing, they're thrilled about what we're doing.

Yeah.

And so they wouldn't have it any other way. In fact, about four years ago when I was called to do this full time, I knew that I wasn't interested in running off on the road by myself.

Sure.

And so I thought, you know what, I've got six boys, they've got to be a part of everything I do, and so I went to them and I sat down with my four oldest boys and I said to them, I said, "I've been asked if we would be willing to consider moving into evangelism, which I already had a deep love for, but I wanna know if you guys would like to be a part of that"? And they looked at me like, "Well, if you were, of course, we will be". And I was like, "No," I said, "what would you guys think about forming a quartet and singing for the meetings"? And I don't think they'd ever sang a special music in their life.

Oh, really.

So it was like, "Dad, what are you talking about"? And their eyes were big and I said, "Well," I said, "I'll tell you what. Hey, no pressure from me, but I would like you to pray about it. And you talk amongst yourself, just let me know in a week. And whatever it is, I'm totally supportive of whatever that would be". And so they did. They went back and a week later, I remember my oldest boy, who is now in Sudan.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Learning Arabic there. He was the spokesman for the group. He said, "Dad, the answer is yes, we'll do it". He goes, "Under one condition, that you'll get us a voice teacher to teach us how to do it," 'cause they didn't have a clue. And so we did. And it wasn't too long after that we had to do our first meeting and so they begin doing that, Skype, and they ran with it and today they've taken it farther than anything I can imagine.

And the boys singing is a great asset.

It is.

They sing beautifully. They add a dimension to the meetings.

And my wife, how she keeps us all together, John, is phenomenal. She's amazing

It's a miracle, but she's phenomenal, and so, there's the blessing right there.

And she loves it. The key for me is she loves it.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

She loves it and the boys love it.

We have loved having you here. We'll do this again sometime, wish you God richest blessing, you and your family, and future ministry. Donovan Kack, thanks for being here.

Thank you.

And thank you for being here. What a blessing this has been. Remember, to have an It Is Written evangelist minister in your location, just get in touch with us and we'll work it out. Thanks for joining us. He is Pastor Donovan Kack, I'm John Bradshaw. This has been our "Conversation".
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