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James A. Scudder: Legacy of a Preacher's Son

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James A. Scudder is the founder and senior pastor of the 1,000-member Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church in Lake Zurich, Illinois; founder of Victory in Grace, a ministry with its own radio, television, and magazine outlets; and president of Dayspring Bible College. He is also author of numerous books, including his latest, Your Secret to Spiritual Success.

I recently talked by phone to this pastor with more than three decades of shepherding experience to discover the essentials of the Christian walk.

He authored Your Secret to Spiritual Success (Crossway Books, 2002) because he says, "I started the church, and I have seen the people fall, so I wanted to write a book to keep that from happening."

And he should know about falling.

This may come as a shock, but Scudder admits that he wasn't saved when he started pastoring a church.

The son of a Methodist pastor, Scudder says, "I grew up with the idea that the most boring thing you could ever do was to spend too much time at church. ... The last thing on earth I would have been was a pastor, a Baptist pastor."

So how exactly did he end up with his own church?

Scudder went to the University of Kentucky, where he remembers attending a church service only once because the pastor seemed more concerned with student issues than with preaching the Bible.

Then one day the school district superintendent approached Scudder with a job offer: a church with a full salary and a parsonage. "What would it hurt? No one will know you are doing it," Scudder recalls the superintendent saying. Eventually Scudder agreed, only to learn that one of the deans of the university had also preached at the same church and was currently a member there. Says Scudder with a laugh, "I was ruined! Everybody was calling me a hypocrite and laughing and kidding me."

Despite the fact that Scudder's credibility was in serious question, he says it was a turning point in his walk with Christ.

"I got saved through that experience, and I found out that Christ paid all my sin debt. The last thing I was going to be was a preacher, but God saves you in spite of yourself and calls you in spite of yourself."

What started as a mustard seed of faith grew into a great venture for the Lord, but those early years weren't always easy. Scudder and his wife, Linda, with two children still in diapers, didn't have a lot of money and didn't have a sending organization to help them when they wanted to start a ministry.

Scudder admits, "It was very hard. So many times I wanted to quit, but God would always give us enough to show us that He was with us."

And there were times that he was tempted to step outside of God's will.

"I was offered a big church," he says. "I was living in a fourth floor apartment, no furniture. I just knew that God didn't want me to take that church. I was afraid that if I took it, God wouldn't be too happy with me."

But Scudder has learned one of the greatest secrets in the Christian life: patience.

"I may try to hurry you or you may try to hurry me, but we are not going to hurry God," he notes. "God is not going to be hurried."

Through it all, Scudder is pleased that he persisted in following God's call on his life.

"We have a great church. My children are serving the Lord, and my grandkids are serving the Lord. It is just the most wonderful thing in the world," he says.


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About The Author


A Tennessee native, Laura first came to sunny Virginia Beach to attend graduate school at Regent University after a brief and exciting summer working in Yosemite National Park in California (whoo-hoo!). After graduating from Regent with a master's degree in communication (emphasis on film studies) and a master's degree in journalism (emphasis on photojournalism), Laura came to work for CBN as an Internet Producer. That is when she discovered she had a God-given talent for writing. Laura hopes to see the Body of Christ healed, whole, and actively pursuing a godly life full of wisdom, joy, and