Guest Blogger: Nick Swarthout, “Pray For Passion”

Nick Swarthout is a good friend of mine, a fellow veteran turned pastor, and was the best man at my wedding, and he penned the following great article on the importance of prayer and passion as it relates to our evangelism fervor…Read, enjoy, and if you want more great content like the one below, please follow Nick at http://www.reachteachlead.com.


“If God decided to save every lost person you prayed for this week, how many lost people would end up getting saved?”

I don’t remember the first time I heard that question, but it’s a question I know I’ll never forget.

If the eternal fate of a select group of non-Christians was ever totally dependent on my prayerful concern for their soul, I’d be more than embarrassed about my prayer efforts for those far from God. I’d be appalled. And to be quite honest, I still don’t pray for those far from God as much as I think I should.

It’s a sad reality that we often get so consumed with the world around us that we forget that we’re all headed to an eternal destination one day. Yet, to be fair, I DO care about reaching lost people. I have witnessed and wept and prayed and shared and witnessed some more. I really like to think that I’m passionate about reaching people for Jesus.

But then there are the more typical days…days of busyness and worry over little things. Little things like how will we ever get from here to there and who’s going to think what about the way we did that? You know, those more self-absorbed days where we run around acting like God needs our help to get things done, or better yet, we’ll just show God how things ought to be done.

This sounds silly, I know. But truth be told, I think it may be a more honest assessment of our internal condition for more people like you and me than either of us would like to admit.

Thinking through all this has helped me though. It’s helped me track down what I believe is the root cause of complacency among many Christians today. We certainly don’t lack knowledge, and we really don’t even lack concern for those who are far from God. If we could just push a button to save everyone from hell, we would. I think the real issue lies in our human propensity toward distraction due to an internal lack of holy passion.

You see, passion for anything is the fuel to getting things done. With it, soldiers move into enemy territory to rescue hostages, firefighters run into burning buildings to save stranded children, doctors risk their lives to save people exposed to unknown viruses and police officers lay their lives on the line to serve and protect perfect strangers. Yes, and passion can even make an innocent man carry an instrument of torture to certain death to save the very people who spit in His face.

Without passion though, people chosen by God to carry His message of love to a dying world, people just like you and me, will let countless lives pass from this life into eternity without ever telling them about Jesus Christ. This isn’t meant to be a guilt trip. It’s just the reality for so many who claim to be following the Jesus of the Bible.

With enough distraction, well meaning Christians doing well meaning things for less meaningful purposes can totally neglect the true meaning of why they’re here in the first place. We don’t share Jesus because we don’t have passion.

But here’s hope…

Despite our reluctance to pass on the message entrusted to us, I am also convinced that the same God who saved us can give us the PASSION we need to go after others like eternity is at stake. I am also convinced that all we need to do is ask

Official Ballot: Annual Election of Officers

Our Annual Election of Officers is slotted to take place on Sunday, December 20. All members are strongly encouraged to be at church on this Sunday for this quick, but important vote. Below is the official ballot for this year’s election…

Deacon (Choose 3) = Will Luers, Willie Van Der Molen, Eldon Yoder

Clerk (Choose 1) = Lisa Van Der Molen

Treasurer (Choose 1) = Steve Bohn

Financial Secretary (Choose 1) = Zach Shepherd

Sunday School Superintendent (Choose 1) = Brian Wilson

Please Note: In this year’s election, no one is running against each other. The ballot simply reflects who will be serving next year. Thus, the vote is a formality that will serve to merely confirm these nominees in their individual roles.

A Letter From Pastor Dave Regarding Covid Precautions At Prairie Flower

Dear Prairie Flower Baptist Church,

As we continue to navigate the difficult waters of another covid season, and considering our Governor’s most recent proclamation, we have decided to enact the following procedures for the next two Sundays (11/22 and 11/29). Please know that, as a Leadership Team, we are implementing these procedures out of a desire to submit to our governing authorities, and to keep people reasonably safe, all the while trusting our sovereign God in all things.

So, with those thoughts in mind, here is our plan: 1) Face Masks – We strongly encourage the use of face masks for all individuals who attend Sunday School and our Morning Worship Service. These masks should be worn by all individuals who are 5 years of age and older. It is recommended that these masks be worn as you enter our building and as you traffic throughout our building, but these masks do not have to be worn once you are seated and participating in our worship services. And 2) Social Distancing – We will ensure that all congregants are reasonably socially distanced during our worship services. To ensure this, we will take out every other row of chairs in our downstairs fellowship hall and ask that only family units sit together during the service. Obviously, we will have fewer seats available for the next two Sundays. So, if you are uncomfortable participating in our live worship services, you are encouraged to stay at home and watch our service over Facebook Live. 

Lord willing, all of these measures are temporary, and we should be able to get back to a sense of normalcy starting in December. Indeed, if all goes as planned, we envision having our first service in our newly renovated sanctuary on Sunday, December 6. How wonderful it will be to meet in our new worship space and to begin our celebration of Christmas out here on the prairie!

We look forward to seeing many of you over these next two weeks. Again, the above measures are designed out of our desire to submit to our governing authorities, and to keep people reasonably safe, all the while trusting our sovereign God. For some of you, this is not easy and perhaps frustrating. We get that. But we thank you for your understanding and patience as we continue to weave our way through this incredibly wonky year. 

David Cotner on behalf of the PFBC Leadership Team

Readjusted Timeline For Our Annual Election Of Officers

With a new season of covid upon us, we have had to readjust our ministries and schedules once again. Thank you all for your understanding and patience as we walk through this frustrating time together. We will get through this!

One of the biggest adjustments to our schedule has been the timing of the Annual Election of Officers. As a reminder, all church members, who are 14 years of age or older, are kindly invited to prayerfully nominate and then vote for individuals in the following categories: Deacon (3 Open Positions), Clerk (Mike York Desires To Be Replaced), Financial Secretary (Steve Donnolly Most Recently Served In This Position), Treasurer (Duane Davis Desires To Be Replaced), and Sunday School Superintendent (Brian Wilson Most Recently Served In This Position). Below is the new timeline of events for this important process out here on the prairie…

Sunday, November 22 – Nomination Process For Our Annual Election Of Officers Closes…Our Nomination and Election Committee (1 Pastor & 2 Deacons) will meet on this Sunday to contemplate the official ballot…

Monday, November 23 – Wednesday, December 2 – The Nomination and Election Committee will contact eligible nominees to see if they’re interested in serving…These individuals must reply by the close of business (5 PM) on Wednesday, December 2…

Sunday, December 6 – We will announce and post the official ballot of our 2021 Officer Nominees…Posting of nominees will be done via email, the blog, etc…

Sunday, December 20 – Annual Election Of Officers…Election will be held by secret ballot…

All elected officers will take office on January 1, 2021. Please be in prayer concerning who you would have serve and if God is leading you to serve at Prairie Flower Baptist Church!

My Seventh Year As Pastor

This next week, on Tuesday, November 10, I will celebrate my seventh year as the Lead Pastor of Prairie Flower Baptist Church. In a lot of ways, the years have flown by. In fact, I took this ministry while wrapping up my studies at Faith Baptist Bible College, when I was just 26 years old, with a wife and one child. I’m now facing age 34 in a couple of months with a wife and three kids (plus a puppy dog) in tow…Man alive, the years have truly flown by.

As I reflect on seven years of pastoral ministry, many of my feelings remain the same. That is to say, I still find pastoral ministry to be one of the most adrenaline-inducing privileges of my life. As I often say, pastoral ministry may be many things, but it’s certainly not boring! I also still feel overwhelming gratitude to my wife, Heather, who has stuck by my side through thick and thin. At times, it’s not easy being a pastor’s wife, but Heather exudes a quiet strength that has gotten me through some of the darkest nights of soul. I also still find myself feeling extremely thankful for the incredible folks out here on the prairie. I know that might seem trite, or just a nice thing to say, but I mean it…My heart continues to be knit with the folks of Prairie Flower and I find it a privilege to be one of their pastors who prays for them, preaches to them, and serves alongside them.

But as you can imagine, the year 2020 has brought into my pastoral ministry a whole new slew of lessons that have been “fun” to learn…Here are three of the top lessons I’ve learned during my seventh year of pastoral ministry…

1. Plans often change. But goals (for the most part) do not change. If 2020 has taught me anything it’s simply this – hold your plans with an open palm. Indeed, planning with hard and fast deadlines isn’t wrong, but just remember that God is sovereign and will often adjust our plans for our good and His glory. We must be willing to be humble and flexible with our planners and calendars. Yes, plans in the ministry often change, but the goals of ministry do not change…Even in a global pandemic, people need to be prayed for, fed the Word, and led with love. Finding creative ways to continue to do these things has been a growing, stretching experience.

2. Preaching is important. But meeting (as a church in-person) is essential. In no way, shape, or form am I devaluing the importance of preaching. God has chosen this one method of communication to be hugely transformative in the lives of His people. But when the lockdowns happened, every preacher and their brother took to the internet. Indeed, we preachers became tele-evangelists overnight! My point is this, you can literally stream a sermon online from anywhere in the world and be fed God’s Word. But meeting together (as a church in person) is so much more than hearing a sermon…Meeting together is about spiritual connection, true fellowship, and the ability to serve one another. These things can’t be replaced with online church and an online sermon.

3. People need leadership. But leadership (by and large) is hard. I don’t know if this is necessarily a new lesson, but this lesson has definitely been amplified during the mess of 2020. I remember at the height of the Coronavirus hysteria, my Associate Pastor and I were daily watching the Governor’s press conferences. Oh. My. Goodness. The comments people were writing on social media as the Governor was making her remarks were rude and repulsive. People can be so mean! Seeing those nasty comments gave me some PTSD to some of the worst moments of my pastoral ministry, where I tried to lead, but people didn’t want to follow, and made it verbally known! Yes, people need leadership, but leadership is often very hard. I wish citizens of a state, and saints in the church, would understand this one concept, namely, there are many good paths to walk down, but you can only go down one path at a time…That’s why leadership matters.

Well Prairie Flower, as I said seven years ago (but mean more today), “I love you, and I will lead you.” And in the end, it will be all from His grace and for His glory…

PFBC: November’s Upcoming Events…

As we approach November, here are the events we have planned…

Sunday, November 1 – Daylight Saving’s Time Ends…Combined Sunday School With Missionary Speaker Trevor Galbraith At 9:00 AM, Morning Worship With Missionary Speaker Glen Galbraith/Communion Service At 10:15 AM, & Growth Groups At Various Times

Tuesday, November 3 – Election Day!

Wednesday, November 4 – Kids4Truth, Outfitters, & Prayer Meeting At 6:30 PM

Saturday, November 7 – IRBC Corporation Meeting At Ankeny Baptist Church At 10:00 AM

Sunday, November 8 – Annual Election Of Officers’ Nomination Process Ends…Sunday School At 9:00 AM, Morning Worship At 10:15 AM, & Growth Groups At Various Times

Monday, November 9 – Women’s Prayer Group At 10:00 AM

Tuesday, November 10 – Men’s Prayer Group At 6:30 AM

Wednesday, November 11 – Kids4Truth, Outfitters, & Prayer Meeting At 6:30 PM

Saturday, November 14 – Strategic Planning Meeting (Pastors & Deacons) At Church From 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM & Women At Risk Event At Kalona Coffee From 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Sunday, November 15 – Sunday School At 9:00 AM, Morning Worship At 10:15 AM, & Growth Groups (Final) At Various Times

Wednesday, November 18 – Kids4Truth (Final), Outfitters, & Prayer Meeting At 6:30 PM

Thursday, November 19 – Ladies Night Out At The Tin Roost At 6:30 PM

Sunday, November 22 – Sunday School At 9:00 AM & Morning Worship (Pastor Tim Preaching) At 10:15 AM

Wednesday, November 25 – No Wednesday Evening Activities For Rest Of 2020

Thursday, November 26 – Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 29 – No Sunday School – Morning Worship (Pastor Tim Preaching) At 10:15 AM

How I Will Vote On Nov. 3

It is 12 days till Election Day. In a lot of ways, this year’s election feels as if so many weighty things are at stake. Some would argue that the very “soul of America” is at stake. Overly dramatic? Perhaps, but this year’s election seems to be a very important one with a lot of long-term ramifications…

But how is a Christian to vote this year? Given that our two main party choices are not ideal at all, how should a Christian proceed in the voting booth on Nov. 3? Well, so much ink has already been spilt on this topic, but here are some of the issues that dominate my mind as I get ready to vote this Election Day…

The Issue of Faith – I will vote with rock-solid confidence in God. Romans 14:23 is clear, “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” So, I will vote with full trust in God, knowing that no matter what happens, He remains sovereign. May God give to me (and you) great wisdom and rock-solid confidence in Him as we vote on Nov. 3.

The Issue of Life – I will vote my conscience this Election Day, and there is perhaps no greater issue that dominates my conscience like the issue of life. The Scriptures are clear that life is precious and must be protected. God Himself is the Creator and Sustainer of life. Psalm 139:15 declares, “My frame [body and soul] was not hidden from you [O, God], when I was being made [by you, O God] in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” God is the maker of every human life! Thus, I cannot in good conscience vote for a candidate/party who tramples on the issue of life.

The Issue of Record – Actions speak louder than words. It’s funny to me how some Christians are so dialed into rhetoric. It’s as if they primarily want their leaders to be strong orators with smooth speech. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a preacher by trade. I make my living by writing and speaking many words. I love eloquent communication. But at the end of the day, actions speak louder than words (Matthew 21:28-32). Therefore, I will primarily evaluate the actions/records of each political candidate, taking their words only as a secondary consideration.

The Issue of Heaven – Ultimately, I will vote fully realizing that my ultimate citizenship is in Heaven, not America. Paul in Philippians 3:20 states, “But our citizenship is in Heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…” America is not my ultimate home, Heaven is. America is not my ultimate treasure, Jesus is. So, to the best of my ability, with my full faith in God, evaluating carefully the issues of life and record, I will steward my vote on Nov. 3 to the glory of God with a keen eye towards Heaven…

Annual Election of Officers

Just a reminder that our Annual Election of Officers is fast approaching! All church members, who are 14 years of age or older, are kindly invited to prayerfully nominate and then vote for individuals in the following categories: Deacon (3 Open Positions), Clerk (Mike York Desires To Be Replaced After 42 Years Of Service), Financial Secretary, Treasurer, and Sunday School Superintendent. Here are some dates to be aware of…

Sunday, October 25 – Nomination of Officers Commences…Prior to this Sunday, all voting members will receive nomination ballots in the mail…Our nomination ballot box will be located in the church foyer… 

Sunday, November 8 – Nomination of Officers Closes…Our Nomination and Election Committee (2 Pastors & 1 Deacon) will meet on this Sunday to contemplate the official ballot…

Monday, November 9 – Wednesday, November 18 – The Nomination and Election Committee will contact nominees to see if they’re interested in serving…These individuals must reply by the close of business (5 PM) on Wednesday, November 18…

Sunday, November 22 – We will post the official ballot of our 2021 Officer Nominees…Posting of nominees will be done on the church bulletin board and via our church app…

Sunday, December 6 – Annual Election of Officers…Election will be held by secret ballot…

All elected officers will take office on January 1, 2021. Please be in prayer concerning who you would have serve and if God is leading you to serve at Prairie Flower Baptist Church! 

91 Days Follow…

Day 275. 91 days follow. In other words, as we begin day 1 of October, we have officially entered our 275th day of 2020. Which means we only have 91 days to go before the year expires.

How does that make you feel? I would imagine that for many of you that makes you feel relieved. I mean, this has been one crazy year; and 2021 has got to be at least a smidge better than this year, right? For others of you, I’m sure the thought of this year ending and a new one beginning produces feelings of dread. I mean, there’s still so much work to be done and goals to accomplish, am I right?

Well, here’s my encouragement to you, no matter where you fall on the feelings spectrum – finish this year strong, prairie strong! Take these 91 days and steward them well. Don’t waste these last 3 months of 2020. Finish the year strong.

There’s still time to finish that book. There’s still time to begin that work out program. There’s still time to get things done! Don’t squander these 91 days by telling yourself that you’ll get things done when the new year begins. The time for action is now, not later.

More importantly though, this year still affords you time (91 days of time) to cultivate your relationship with God. You still have time to begin reading your Bible again. You still have time to pray again. You still have time to make it to church again…You still have time!

Day 275. 91 days follow. Regardless of your socio-economic background, we’ve all been allotted the same amount of time. How will you steward the time that’s been given to you? There’s still time – tick tock, tick tock – there’s still time…