Born to Preach the Gospel
Countless times I’ve heard the phrase, “He was born to preach” by people of various congregations as they listened to the one delivering the message from the pulpit. If the phrase was uttered during a sermon by Ed Bulkley, Senior Pastor of Life Fellowship in Westminster, the saying is quite literally true.
As Bulkley explains his call and subsequent lifetime devotion to the ministry he states, “I was 4 when I became a Christian. I remember that event very well. When I was about 8 years of age I knew from that time forward I wanted to be a pastor and felt God leading me in that direction. My father was a pastor and it was such a joyous part of my life. I always loved church and I never went through a time as a preacher’s kid of not loving the church.”
After high school, Bulkley attended Moody Bible Institute. “It was a family tradition”, Bulkley said. “Eighteen of our clan went there.”
After finishing at Moody, Bulkley finished his undergrad degree at the University of Colorado and then completed his theological education at Denver Seminary. While at Denver Seminary, Bulkley served as minister of music at Riverside Baptist Church from 1968-73.
Ed Bulkley, the author of three books for Harvest House Publishers, is a Denver native. With the exception of serving on the ministerial staff of a church in Chicago, he’s served mostly in the Denver area. 2009 marks 30 years of service at Life Fellowship. Let’s flashback to the late 70’s.
In 1979 it was one of, if not the biggest, headline stories in newspapers around the world. 53 American citizens were taken hostage for 444 days in what was supposed to be a safe haven – the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, the capital city of Iran.
Also in 1979, halfway across the globe, in a motel room in North Glen on the outskirts of Denver, an event took place with no such headline. A recorded attendance of 117, led by Pastor Ed Bulkley, founded Life Fellowship Church.
The following week the congregation met at the North Glen Community Center. Later meeting places included North Glen Twin Theatre and North Glen High school. In 1993 the church moved to its current location at 115th and Sheridan Blvd. Current membership runs around 1,000. The church also offers Life Academy, a K – 12 Christian School.
God’s Word is Enough
Ed Bulkley delivers the Word of God with a firm commitment to the doctrines and practical application of the Bible. There is no middle ground with Bulkley in regards to the Gospel. As he explains, “When it comes to salvation, Jesus said He is the one and only way when He said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to the father except through me.’ That’s very concrete. There’s just no room for negotiation.”
As in the Gospel of salvation, the Gospel of following the Great Commission is part of the culture at Life Fellowship. Africa, Ukraine, the Philippines and England are some of the places members of the church are serving in full-time missions. Life Fellowship supports these missionaries as staff members and they all have served in the church prior to going overseas.
Hospital for Souls
“We want to prepare our people to walk with God in the post ‘free age’ in America”, Bulkley offers. “We certainly want to grow and we’ve actively gone outside and drawn many new people into our church. We want to be a hospital for souls and that’s what we believe we are.”
“Anybody who thinks they know what’s going to happen in the next 5 to 10 years here in America is kidding themselves. Nobody knows what this government is going to do. Because of America’s incredible debt, taxes are going to have to be raised on everyone and its possible non-profit organizations and churches will be taxed. What we’re looking to do is prepare the church for the future persecution that’s inevitable and the evangelical church in America may eventually have to go underground and go into home churches similar to China.” Whether it comes to pass or not, at least Bulkley and Life Fellowship are taking an active rather than passive stance to current events as they position themselves to make a difference in a world of shrinking Christianity.
To make a difference outside the church walls, Life Fellowship is teaching members that they are the outreach program of the church. Bulkley adds, “when they leave the church on Sunday morning they’re entering the mission field as ambassadors for Christ.”
The Legacy of 1979
The events of 1979 tell us a great deal about the nature of counterrevolution, which is very important to understand, because we might be living through another one right now. And so today, in much of the world, ideology has become a somewhat suspicious category in itself. Yet if there’s one thing the legacy of 1979 teaches us, it’s that people are always ready to embrace a compelling vision of the future. Today, just as in 1979, many pundits continue to speak in terms of yesterday’s battles even though the contours of the future remain hazy at best.
The Christian community owes much to the Great Backlash of 1979. And not everyone saw it coming. The 117 people meeting in the motel room in North Glen may have. Because 30 years later, Life Fellowship is still hearing the same Gospel preached as their pastor’s father delivered 60 years ago. The Word of God hasn’t changed, the culture has. Ed Bulkley is preparing his congregation for battle.