Most people wouldn’t have expected this meat cutter and television repairman to plant a church in Northern Virginia. They wouldn’t have believed that this hometown boy, born in Fairfax County, would be used by God to embolden future pastors, church planters, and missionaries to take the Gospel to the far corners of the world. Yet after 40 years in the ministry of the Gospel, Pastor Lewis Holmes can give testimony to the faithfulness of God.
In 1983, the Lord led Lewis Holmes on a journey to plant Oakton Baptist Church in Chantilly, VA. Like Gideon of old, Pastor Lew (as most affectionately call him) simply trusted and obeyed God’s calling on his life. To uniquely shape the body of believers at Oakton, the Lord supernaturally provided buildings and finances and brought people from all walks of life to a saving faith in Him.
Although Oakton Baptist Church has never grown to more than 200 in membership, Pastor Lew and the church family have established a lasting legacy of developing and sending out transformed, vibrant leaders. Over the 32 years since Oakton was established, more than 20 men and their families have been discipled and sent out through the ministry of the church (including three of Pastor Lew’s grandchildren).
Scott Terry, a former physical therapist and now IMB missionary to Africa:
I had the privilege of working alongside a pastor who loved the Lord, loved His Word, loved people, and had a passion to bring them together. Lew was and continues to be a mentor who takes me as I am and continues shaping me for the Lord’s use. It is going to be an ongoing love for the Lord, His Word, and lost people that will see His Kingdom furthered in our part of West Africa. The ministry of Oakton Baptist Church will partly be responsible for that.
Mike Underwood, a former brick mason and now lead pastor at Promised Land Community Church in Creedmoor, NC, testifies that when he came to Oakton, he was “in a sad spiritual state.” He had been born again, yet there had been “minimal growth and maximum discouragement” in his spiritual life:
The Lord used His church (Oakton Baptist) and His under-shepherd (Lewis Holmes) to turn that around…Not long after I started attending, Lew baptized me. After that, Lew encouraged me to serve the Lord through His church. My first ministry was ushering. Lew asked if I would teach his Sunday School class, picking up where he left off in Revelation!
He trained and ordained me to the deaconate, (even when I tried to convince him that I was not ready), taught me door-to-door evangelism, and (although petrified) through Lew’s leading, [I] preached the community Easter sunrise service. He ordained me as an elder. He counseled and married me to my wife, Angel. Lew prayed and counseled with me as I wrestled with God’s calling to the pastorate. God has used many people, churches, and experiences to influence my life and ministry; however, He [has] used Lewis Holmes to make the single greatest impact on my life.
According to Pastor Lew, the following are key components to “calling out the called”:
- Be faithful to God’s calling in your own life
- Teach them intercessory prayer
- Model soul-winning and take them with you
- Exhort them to excellence in following their calling
- Act with courage to call them out to follow God’s calling
Healthy, transformational churches—whether small or large—are those that have a system in place to raise up future leaders. By simply trusting and obeying God’s calling, Pastor Lewis Holmes and Oakton Baptist Church desire “to see everybody as a missionary in the making and to complete the work that God has called them to do.”