August 31, 2011
It was 20 years ago last month. Adrian Rogers found himself at the helm of a radio and TV ministry expanding almost as rapidly as the flock he pastored—one of America’s largest churches. Someone was needed to help build and oversee this growing broadcast ministry. Answering God’s call and Dr. Rogers’ appeal, Bill Skelton came alongside.
In prior years Bill served side by side with Dr. Rogers at Bellevue church. But here at LWF his gifts for processing, organizing, and planning bore ever-increasing fruit. In the fields of God’s harvest together, Bill and Pastor Rogers saw God expand the ministry from 95 radio stations in 1991 to 2,369 radio and 11,578 TV stations worldwide along with an ever-increasing online ministry reaching all nations.
Oftentimes people asked Bill, “What’s it like to work with Adrian Rogers?” Bill always told them, “When I get used to it, I’ll let you know!”
When Dr. Rogers went home to be with the Lord in 2005, under God’s guidance and Bill’s faithful and steady hand, the ministry never faltered. The clear teaching of His Word, presented passionately, is timeless—always relevant. And one of the many reasons this outreach of the Gospel has not only continued but increased is the foresight and careful administration of Bill Skelton.
But Bill would be the first to “amen” the quote, “This isn’t about me, but about God working through me!” On his 10th anniversary at LWF, Bill penned a note to Dr. Rogers. He wrote, “It has been my joy to serve you as you served Him. We do what we do for God and His kingdom. And when we do it for Him, two things happen: we get joy and God gets the glory!”
Completing his 20th year at LWF, now Bill senses God’s call once again. On September 1, Bill retires as CEO and Chairman of the Board, but says, as Dr. Rogers once did, “I’ve not retired, I’ve refired!”
Although stepping back from daily on-site duties at LWF, Bill will remain active at Love Worth Finding, continuing to serve on the Board of Directors (“I’ll be around!”) and an ambassador for LWF wherever he goes. “I’m available,” he says, “for whatever may be needed.”
In some ways, this call is similar to his initial call to the ministry. “With me, at least, I believe a ‘call’ begins with a seed thought. Then it grows and intensifies. I don’t make snap decisions. Long-range planning and thinking ahead are my way of operating. For this decision, it began with the thought, ‘God, is this the time?’ which became stronger and clearer over time.
“Long ago when we left California, we stepped out on faith to come cross country to ‘a land we did not know.’ Yet if we had not been obedient and taken that step of faith, responding to His leading, we would have missed so much.
“Dr. Rogers once wrote, ‘The strength of this ministry was and is not Adrian Rogers. It is the power of the Holy Spirit working through the proclamation of His Word and through our leadership.’ I’ve learned God isn’t looking for our ability—
He looks for our availability. When He has that, God will show in us His power. What He asks of us is a separated and yielded life.”
Bill’s vision for the future of LWF is as firm and clear as it was 20 years ago. “This ministry and the message are so relevant to our culture today. It’s been almost six years now since Dr. Rogers’ home-going, yet the ministry is still stable. I see a long and wonderful future. This ministry is blessed with a wonderfully seasoned staff that loves the Lord, loves this ministry, and loves the LWF family. And I hope to see LWF explore and participate in all the new avenues of ministry, where there’s unlimited potential!”
When asked if his own future seems a little scary, he admitted, “Truly, I’ve reached a point in my life where nothing really ‘scares’ me. To the changes I say, ‘Whatever God has in store.’ To the challenges, I have no apprehension. My life verse is Jeremiah 33:3, ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ And for this time of transition, Psalm 84:11 and Jeremiah 29:11, ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.’” And Bill’s plate is filling up already.
But some are asking him, “Are you sure?” To that Bill responds, “Yes! I’m reminded of Luke 9:62, ‘No man, having put his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God.’ And I’m not looking back—instead, I’m looking forward with excitement and anticipation, keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith!”