DALLAS, Pennsylvania — A native of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Jacob Boggie grew up in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, where his parents took him to a church, so he’d get “good influences of his life.” They weren’t Christians, but after attending the independent Baptist church, they heard the gospel for the first time.
“It was just God being so awesome to us to put us in a church where we heard the gospel and my parents became Christians,” Boggie related, noting they both grew in their knowledge and faith together.
“I always had a ton of knowledge about God. I memorized stuff. I was part of all the groups and the VBS group and everything,” he said. He had even prayed many times for Jesus to “come into his heart.”
But, looking back, Boggie knows he never had that “relationship” with God until one summer, when he was 14 or 15 and was grounded for a month.
“That summer, my morality system was not working. I looked good on the outside. But at home it came through that I hadn’t figured everything out yet,” he explained. “I didn’t have that relationship with God. And so, the first time, I started wondering, so what’s the point to all this?”
He laughed, “It took me a month to figure out that when I do the wrong thing, bad things happen.”
Then he decided, on his own, he was going to be better.
“I’m going to do the right things more, and then I’ll be better, and I won’t have to worry about getting punished so much,” he said.
It took about a month before he realized that he was doing a bad job of being good on his own.
“I just would fail and then I’d be wondering where I was again,” he said.
Then he wondered if religion was the answer. He studied all different types of religions. And when he studied Christianity, he had a breakthrough: Christianity is the only religion that says you can’t do it. You need help. You need God’s help.
Boggie realized he didn’t just need help, he needed “a total transformation” as promised in scripture.
“And so, I finally found the God of the universe,” he said.
Immediately afterwards, Boggie didn’t want to waste any time, so he became very active in ministry – from camp ministry to youth and children’s ministry to evangelism to whatever ministry was needed in the church. He participated in two internships, one of which focused on pastoral ministry.
Boggie said he prayed about going to school to learn how to do ministry, but everything was so expensive. And he was already doing ministry and learning on the job.
And he was available for whatever God wanted him to do.
But it hasn’t always been easy. He’s been pushed back on because “you can’t push the gospel so hard.” And he’s endured the stress of being in ministry and having others come against him.
Then he discovered Fellowship Church in State College, where Jordan Alturas is pastor. There, church members wore casual clothes to church, which astounded him. Even Pastor Jordan didn’t wear a suit!
“They’re passionate about loving people, inviting people in and then being a part of their family, which is great,” he shared, noting Fellowship Church reminded him of an Acts 2 type of church, where “they’re pretty small still but they’re really involved with doing the small groups and doing action-based ministry, which is great.”
Boggie praised the church that didn’t have “a ton of money” or didn’t own a building. Last summer, they met in the park.
“It was the greatest thing. I’ve never seen anything like that before, and I was like, THIS IS INCREDIBLE! Why don’t churches leave their building and go do this sometimes, right? Right? Because people would just walk by and hear the gospel, which was insane. We’re basically combining evangelism with our normal church service!”
After about a year or so, Boggie, who is not married, started helping fill in the pulpits at some Baptist Resource Network churches, including Dallas Baptist Church, in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, where he recently was voted in as an interim pastor.
There, he’s taking the blessings he received at Fellowship Church—the way they run their small groups, the preaching style, and more—and finding early success in his new role.
But he’s quick to ask for prayer. COVID-19 has been difficult to navigate as a church, and he is eager to connect more with the church members. He also requests prayer for God’s wisdom and direction as he leads.
Learn more about Dallas Baptist Church at www.dallasbaptistchurch.org.