Ed Butler, Royse City, TX
My name is Ed Butler. I was born in Berwyn, Illinois in 1961. I was raised in the Joliet, Illinois area. My parents were not Christians when I was born but started attending a church in Hickory Hills Illinois shortly after my birth. I grew up in that church and was saved at the age of 9.
I started attending a church in Romeoville, Illinois when I was a teenager through an invitation from one of my best friends. They had a program there called Word of Life, as well as a gym where we played basketball often. It was in this church that I met my wife, Beth.
I also had the opportunity to go to work for Beth’s dad while still in High School. As it turns out I not only had a career path laid out for me, I also of course married my wife. I now run an AV company AST-AV . We install sound, video and lighting systems in churches.
After the birth of my two children, Lauren in March 1990 and then Nathan in August 1991, God began really placing several men in my path that challenged me about my walk with the Lord. At one point I read a book called Halftime by Bob Buford. In it he described how God had led him to spend the second half of his life in service to the Lord. I remember thinking how that would be an amazing Goal.
As things began to work out in my life, we moved to Texas in 2000. I became increasingly convinced that God was working and calling me to ministry. I began volunteering as a discipleship intern at Ridgecrest about 5 yrs. ago. I am presently serving as the minister of discipleship at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Greenville, TX. While I had studied the Bible and taught SS and led small groups for years I had no formal ministry education. That was ok for a while but as I made the transition to a part time paid position, it became clear that If I wanted to grow in my work and really do the job God was calling me to, I needed to find a way to go back to school. Well with running my own company with AST-AV and working part time at the church there was no real way for me to go away to school. Obviously, that is where CLI has come in to play. To say that CLI is an answer to prayer is an understatement. Not only are the classes excellent, but the decision by CLI to now offer the degree program has been a perfect fit for me.
My goals are to complete the program and pastor a church. I work in several areas within the church. I head up the Care team and teach the young adult class on Sunday’s. We have a small group that meets on Tuesday nights and I work as a Chaplain at the local jail a couple of nights a month. In addition I handle a number of the benevolence requests that the church receives each week.
The challenges in our area are not unlike probably any other in the states. While we live in the so called Bible belt the truth is a sense of apathy and such has settled into many peoples lives. it seems as though people only really look to God when there is a crisis. That being said we still are seeing fruit from our efforts. Just not to the extent that we believe we should.
God has been really working in our ministry. He has continued to bless with opportunities to see numbers of people come to faith in Christ and numerous others get actively involved in our SS and Small groups. I find the material extremely helpful to me as I teach and continue to minister to those God puts in my path. I am looking forward to taking the class on Church Planting as soon as it is available as that may be a step we look towards. Please pray for God’s continued direction and blessing as I continue in Texas Ministry Training with CLI.