Pastor Jim Fleming is married to Rochelle, who has been his ministry partner for all of their thirty-nine years as husband and wife. They have three grown children, Austin, Alex, and Arian, who share their desire to live for Jesus' pleasure.
What's your story? I was born and raised in Washington State, where I graduated from High School in 1969. Saved at a young age, I realized midway through my college years that life transformation propelled by biblical teaching was to be my life purpose. I graduated from Biola University (Los Angeles) with a BA in Radio and Television / Communication in 1976. I graduated from Talbot Theological Seminary (a graduate school of Biola) with a M. Div. (1978) and a Th. M. (1981).
What's your ministry experience? Apart from a stint as adjunct faculty at Biola University (Greek and Theology Instructor, 1978-1981), my ministry experience reflects a commitment to the local church. Two associate pastorates for 5 and 8 years (College Park Church, Fullerton, CA - 1975-1980 and First Evangelical Church, Memphis, TN - 1981-1989) and 23 years as founding and Senior Pastor (Collierville Bible Church, Collierville, TN - 1989 - present) express my desire to minister in each place long enough to make a difference.
Why do you minister? I get a charge out of seeing people come alive in Christ. When men and women embrace the good news that Jesus has paid the price for their sins on the cross, they experience four profound changes. Instead of stumbling in the dark, they can start making sense out of life. Instead of living in bondage to their own self-destructive desires, they can experience the freedom to do what is right. Instead of living the same old way, they can actually make positive lasting changes. Instead of merely trying to be happy, they can find real life by serving the best interests of others. So, I'm like a coach who helps people tap into these four amazing principles. When somebody really gets it, it's breathtaking. I live for those moments.
What do you like to read? I am a word freak. I love language and word-craft. So, books are my friends, and I have friends who are very diverse: history, economics, biographies, adventure novels, science fiction - I devour them all. I read technical manuals, too - it's my prime means of learning about computers and software. One book I read every day is the Bible. I go to it every morning asking this simple question, "What would you like to tell me today, God?"
What is the best advice you have ever been given? When I was in seminary (long, long ago, in a galaxy far away), we were discussing the recent moral failure of a prominent Christian leader. The professor made the statement, "Don't ever think it cannot happen to you. When you do, that's when you are most vulnerable." It challenged me to always be guarded and careful to protect my reputation and integrity. You guard the things that are precious, right? What is more valuable than a man's good name?
What inspires you? I didn't care for biology in High School. But, in later years my reading has taken me to places beneath the microscope. The more I consider the complexity, intricacy, and functionality of the living cell, the greater my silent awe for God's wisdom and power. I am also increasingly amazed by the cross. The more I understand what happened at Calvary, the more I am dumb-founded by what happened there. This is so incredibly, unbelievably, undeniably true: God poured out on His Son the "wages" my sinful life earned and offers me a place in His presence. I know I will stand some day in heaven and say, "I don't deserve this." It will be the truth! But God will say, "You do deserve it; not because of something in you, but because my Son paid in full for you to be here." I would say, "This is too good to be true," except that it is true!
What don't people know about you? People might be surprised that I am a pessimist about the future of fiat currencies, like the Federal Reserve Notes, that we use in America. The value of currencies which are not backed by hard assets (like gold and silver) has never failed to collapse throughout human history. I am not a big conspiracy guy and definitely don't believe we all need to just "Hunker in our Bunker." But this topic is something of a hot-button with me, so don't get me started, or I might bore you for hours!
For more thoughts from Pastor Jim, check out light-work.com. Here you can get answers to your questions, talk about the Bible and life, and share fresh insights with friends.