It’s More About Attitude Than Age
Some studies suggest a congregation’s average age will be the age of its pastor, plus or minus 10 years. “Guess I blew that theory,” chuckles Pastor Bill Vaughn (age 78). In the past five years, Oasis Community Church in Fallon, Nevada, has grown more than ten-fold under his shepherding. From a dying 20-person Bible study to a thriving congregation of more than 200, Pastor Bill is proof that God still uses His people during the golden y ears.
Almost 40 years ago, Bill Vaughn and his family of five left a successful business in Southern California to be a youth pastor in Paradise, California. “I just wanted to serve God full-time,” he shared. Years later, he was called back to his hometown when his former church asked him to serve as their senior pastor. Bill, along with his son as youth pastor, watched as the Lord grew that small church family to more than 400. The church bought 15 acres, the beginning of a long relationship between Bill and ADF.
Just as the church began a building program in 1990, Pastor Bill was asked to consider serving the South Pacific District as superintendent. He had been a successful businessman and pastor of one church, now God would use his skills to bless many churches. His gift for recognizing the potential in real estate transactions enabled him to help churches obtain and pay for properties through the sales of excess land. When he retired ten years later, he had used his business savvy to significantly help nine different churches in adding staff. “ADF came alongside us and made all that possible,” he shared.
He was serving as a part-time pastor during his “retirement” when another district superintendent called. He wanted Bill to close the doors of a tiny 20-person church. Bill found it in dire straits. The exterior was rotting away. Their morale was so low that they would set out a few chairs and stack the rest “like they didn’t expect anyone to be in them,” Bill explained. But instead of closing the church, he committed to give them six months to see if it would grow. And it did! They asked Pastor Bill to stay; that was five years ago. And this Easter they almost topped 300.
Again the Lord blessed Pastor Bill’s efforts financially as he eyed a vacant building that “just looked like a church.” Oasis Community Church had 30 days to act before the city took possession, and again “ADF moved fast and made it happen,” Pastor Bill exclaims. Now that building houses the friendliest church in town.
God has continued to use Pastor Bill and his wife Nettie in their retirement years because this is his attitude, “Ministry was our life, and has been our life, and is our life. ”