“The Full Church Background of Isaac & Angie Tolpin”

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Episode Summary

Tune in to hear the Tolpin’s raw and real journey being part of the body of Christ over the last 23 years.

In an age with instant access to so many teachers, it’s helpful and important to know the backgrounds of those you learn from. Tune in to hear the Tolpin’s raw and real journey being part of the body of Christ over the last 23 years. Isaac and Angie Tolpin are open books! In fact, you can ask them anything during LIVE Q&A’s in the Be Courageous app and they will answer candidly. Sometimes hearing stories gleans the most wisdom; you will likely experience that in this special episode.

Main Points From This Episode:

  • The goal has always been to dig deep roots and grow long-term with a church family. While we have done this for many years at a time, the journey has been different than initially envisioned.
  • We’ve been dedicated to being an active part of the body of Christ our whole marriage.
  • For most of our marriage, we were part of non-denominational medium to large churches.
  • We share our home church experiences
  • If you had a good friend, you would likely damage that relationship if you bad-talked his wife. The Bible says the church is the bride of Christ. So let’s use our tongues wisely in how we talk about Christ’s bride.
  • There are no perfect churches and no perfect pastors because there are no perfect people. While we do need to be careful about who we point to as examples and authorities in our children’s lives, let’s also have grace and understanding.

Scriptures From This Episode:

– Hebrews 10:25 – “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

– 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of Go  may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

– Deuteronomy 6:7 – “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

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Full Transcript:

Note: This is an automated transcript and misspells or grammar errors may be present.

Hey, guys, we think that it’s incredibly important that, you know, the background of the people that you’re learning from. I know that that’s something we practice. It’s so.

Important. You got to look for the fruit in people and understand. So we’re completely transparent. People ask us questions all the time, so we’re answering the question, What is your church background? So we explain the last 23 years. Welcome to Courageous Parenting Podcast, a weekly show to equip parents with biblical truth on raising confident Christian kids in an uncertain world.

Hi, I’m Angie from Courageous Mom.

And Isaac from Resolute Man Together pursuing the mission to impact 10 million families and their legacies for the Kingdom of God.

We’ve been married for 23 years and are seeing the fruit from raising our nine children Biblically. Based on the raw truth found in the Bible.

We can no longer let the culture win the hearts of children, as too many from Christian families are walking away from their faith by the age 18. And it doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way.

We’re praising the Lord that ministry continues to expand and impact more legacies. We couldn’t do this without you. Whether you pray for us, give us five star reviews or share on social.

Or even if you purchase courses and merch, or join the Be Courageous app community, enjoy the coffee or support financially. We’re so thankful you are a big part of the 10 million legacies movement.

If you want access to all the episodes, show notes and other biblically based resources. Go to be courageous ministry.org.

Join us as we start another important conversation about effective parenting in a fallen world. Hey everyone, welcome to the podcast. Hey guys. We’re getting real today about our story. We get lots of questions, don’t we? Oh, yeah.

About all kinds of things. How did you learn to homeschool? Were you homeschooled?

Yeah. So what about your church background? What do you believe all these kinds of things? Or, you know, were you always intentional parents? You know, how did you learn what you’ve learned? And so we’re going to dive into that. We hope you find it interesting. I think it will be. But we just so appreciate you being part of the 10 Million Legacies movement every time you share the podcast and all that just helps get it out there and helps further the movement. So we appreciate it for sure.

Well, you guys, we just wanted to to start out with maybe answering the most basic question that we get a lot, which is your church history. And so this is just a fun, fun episode. I think just because we get to kind of rethink and remember remember is a better word.

Lots of fond memories as we went through this topic. Just talking about it, it was like, wow, so many good things.

Well, and I just want to start out by saying, you guys remember we’ve been married almost 24 years. Yeah. And so, of course, and we’ve moved states and we’ve moved cities. So we’ve been a part of a few churches. We’re going to share that history with you guys here pretty soon. But I just wanted to say we’ve always had the intention, the heart intention to want to put our roots down and to be walking with like minded brothers and sisters in Christ and be a part of the church and be serving and involved. And so we have experienced that in the churches that we’ve been a part of. It’s looked different over the years based upon what season of life that we were in, and we’ll share a little bit about that as well. But, you know, where we are today is not necessarily indicative of all of our experiences in the past. It’s where God wants us right now. Amen. And so where and it’s good to have that perspective.

But it is important. We thought this was important because, one, we get a lot of questions and it’s an easy way to answer them. But another thing it’s important to know about who you’re learning things from. Yes. And we like to know who you know, the things about people we’re learning from, to understand where that comes from and if there’s good fruit or not. And all of these things, I think it’s really, really important. So we’re completely transparent. That’s why we do Q and A’s all the time in our app. People can ask us anything and we’ll answer it transparently and we always do.

Yeah, well, and I also think too, that there’s an element of a necessity of like seeing the fruit of people who are teaching on parenting, right? Like, are there kids walking with Jesus? Do they love the Lord? And I’m really thankful that our kids all love Jesus. Amen. But there I just think of how many people I even read books, authors, you know, and different things. And I don’t necessarily see their kids ever in pictures of them or hear from them. So I don’t know if there’s actual fruit in their life. It’s one thing to teach something, but it’s an entirely different thing to be teaching out of the overflow of what you’re living out, which is what we try to do.

I think it’s so interesting with the advances in technology, what’s happening in the world right now that God is all knowing, right? Obviously, he’s all knowing. It’s even more important this day and age where anybody can pretend to be anybody, anybody actually can actually look smart and put good content. Now, out with artificial intelligence, for example, and and have no none of that knowledge actually within them or writing ability or speaking ability. Right. You could you could have AI technically write a podcast outline for you and you could follow it and just do the audio version, right? So I’m just kind of giving you a preview of the world we’re going into. It’s also a preview of the really the world your children will be adults in. Yeah. And so it’s important to look at the fruit. That’s why God put it there for back then, and even more so for today.

Yeah, totally. So we’re going to be transparent with you guys because that’s what we have always tried to look at what the fruit is in people’s lives before. We’re like learning from them. And sometimes it can be difficult, like I was saying with authors, but we just want to be as open as we can and hopefully some of our journey is an encouragement to you guys. I know that we’ve learned a lot over the years and we’ll continue to learn, but why don’t we start out when we first got married?

Okay, Well, just before we got married actually was my first church experience. So I think we need to start there. Okay, perfect. So I was a new believer at 23 some other episodes, I talked more about how I came to know the Lord, or maybe we’ll talk about that in the future. But I was going to the University of Washington.

You were? I was at Trinity Western University.

Which at the time was just a really godly campus. Now they’ve been influenced by the Canadian government to be more. Yeah, yeah.

Yeah. As far as what we’ve seen for sure.

But you had a great experience there and I was a new believer. I remember going up there and wow, they’re lifting their hands. Praising the Lord was a new believer. I’m like, Wow. Wow. I can see the Holy Spirit, what it looks like through people.

That is amazing. The chapel was actually like, for me, the reason why I chose to go to she would like take.

Me to two chapels on a Sunday. I would. I would drive up there just for the day I was in Seattle. She was on the near the border of Canada, so.

He would drive up to go to church with us.

I was trying to woo her into marriage, you know, wasn’t working so well. No, it wasn’t.

But anyway, Isaac was a new believer and he was going to U-Dub.

Yeah. And at U-Dub I was visiting different churches and University Presbyterian there. I visited.

So many different.

Churches so many times. As a non believer, it was kind of funny. Right before I accepted the Lord, I was going to church. I was trying to learn. I’m trying to understand. And I had a group of non believer friends with me from work, from work. And it was just interesting. I remember we went to two churches on one Sunday, one and the U District and one downtown Seattle. And it’s so funny because none of us were believers. But you know, I look fondly on those experiences though. But I ended up on campus. There was some young people, one was a former football player, pro football player, and and they were recruiting people to be part of their church. And I thought, wow, this they’re so community minded. They they sit down and chat with you. This is what this is what it should be.

Right. Well, and he was to be fair, you were lonely. You didn’t know any other strong Christians because he had just gotten saved. So he was really like in this in-between stage of like, no, I don’t want to hang out and go do go to the bars and the other things with people. It was it was a little. So you were you’re kind of alone.

Yeah. And it was a little peculiar because they would rent out conference rooms to run their church service. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It just wasn’t normal. As normal as maybe.

This was over. This was 26 years ago, actually. So I have to give you a little bit of perspective. This 26 years ago. So Isaac meets these people. He’s all excited because.

I think 24 years ago. But God.

Or. Yeah, no, I don’t remember. Anyways, it was a while ago and he calls me and he’s like, Oh, I’m meeting people that are my age, that are Christians. This is so exciting because he was alone really. And I was like, Oh, that’s so great. And and then he starts telling me about the church experience and about like, the commitments that they want you to make to be a part of it. And I’m like, Well.

Yeah, I so appreciate the council because yeah, it was definitely, um, I very rarely use this word, but it definitely was cultish and, and so I stayed away from that under her guidance. And I’m so thankful.

It was for sure a cult. And when I went to it, I was actually headed home to see my family in Portland. And I stopped and I met some of them. They were all having a gathering and I was like, Nope, this is definitely strange how they were.

Yeah, it was strange. So I was only there as the end of my senior year, and so I ended up hanging out at University Presbyterian Church, even wasn’t necessarily Presbyterian, but they were preaching the Bible and it seemed normal. And so I was learning and so forth. But I was only there a few months at the end of my senior year. But then we got married and you were in the.

Lutheran Church, so I was raised Missouri Synod Lutheran, and we got married in the church that I grew up in. My parents were going there and obviously being in a different country for college for three years, I didn’t have, um, I wasn’t a part of a church in that area. But Isaac was. He had just graduated and we were engaged by this time and we were going to be living in the Portland area. And so we didn’t have like a home church because we were both like coming from two totally different cities that were north. And so we got married at the church that I grew up in, and we were going there for a few months after we got married. We had premarital counseling there and then we got married and we stayed there for a little bit and yeah, and then I think I was actually at a different school. I transferred to a different college and I was doing my director of Christian education degree was what I was getting. So I had to do an internship really quick. So during that time we were married, I was a youth intern, if you will, a youth pastor intern just for a few months. And then I got pregnant with Kelsey and was very, very sick. And it made it difficult to.

And unfortunately, you know, I was a new believer. I was so hungry to learn about God and read the Bible and and just just so excited. The Holy Spirit was vibrant and I was just really hungry. And I just could tell that, you know, this little church that was, you know, dying, not the one you grew up in, but the one you were interning in was just not not helpful for a new believer like me. And also, I knew that I needed to leave my family. Right. And, you know.

Yeah, it wasn’t where we were going to raise our kids.

So I’m like, well, I need to grow to lead our family spiritually. And my wife had such a big spiritual head start on me, so I had to grow a lot. And but praise God, you know, I read a book and it was a book about being a great father from a. Former Green Beret that is now a pastor. And then after I read the book or somewhere in between, I’m looking at the back at the Who, who wrote the book. And wow, they have a church 30 minutes from me and he’s the pastor. Wow. That’s great. Let’s go.

So this was like I was still pregnant with Kelsey at the time and we went to this community church. It was a big church for like about five years. It was about four and a half. Almost five years. Non-denominational. Yeah. Yeah. And wow. I mean, we grew so much during that time. If we look back on just our our spiritual growth and friendships fellowship, that’s where we, we both found mentors. I had had a mentor before we were married as well that I met with on a regular basis. But we found marriage mentors. Really? Because you were meeting with a husband and I was meeting with his wife. I mean.

I think I met with him for 12 years. Just talk to him the other day. We’re still so close.

Yeah. And so obviously lots of dear people that are just treasures to us friendship wise. And we’re just so thankful for for that church and the people that were there. But we knew like eventually it got to the point where, um, I’ll be honest, I have a hard time saying no, or at least I used to have a hard. So we were.

Getting involved in ministry more so. Angie, because I was working really hard to provide and build a business, a new business, but we.

Were still like doing the Families Matter mini Church. Yeah. And we were involved with hospitality, hospitality. New people.

Would come.

To our house like a connection for missionaries that were sent out by the church that were in the same season of life. And and there was just some, some bigger things that we were involved in. And then I was involved in the mom ministry.

And and now we have two little kids and we’re like, time out.

Well, it was well, it didn’t quite happen just like that. It was more like I, I was really involved like a lot. And we had just had our third baby and I got super convicted one day because I was driving home and I started counting up how many hours I spent driving this 30 minute one way to and from church each week. And it was actually around 6 to 8 hours depending on the week. And what I was involved.

Being in the car, all that.

Childcare while I’m disrupting.

Your rhythm mommy.

Rhythm. Yeah. And it was always in the morning when they need to be doing like morning nap time and all those things and, and so like, you know, driving home one day I had a crying baby that wanted to nurse and a toddler that was hungry and another one that was asleep and the one that was hungry also had to go potty. So I pulled over. And, you know, I remember just thinking to myself, this is just too busy. Like this is too much for this season of life. And so after praying about it, I came to Isaac and said, I think I need to step down from these four ministries that I’m involved in and I need to just focus on family, not that anything was wrong. I just didn’t want there to be something wrong.

Well, I really appreciate how you’ve always understood your season, even though you’re capable of something. Even though people ask you to do something, it doesn’t mean it’s the right season. If your children and your family are the top priority, that’s going to be lived out in suppressing some things until it is the right time. Right. Well, and.

Who would have known that I’d continue having more kids to where it’s been like my whole life? That’s true.

Actually. We were kind of not sure. On having another one after we had three.

Yeah, well, and after two we weren’t sure. That’s for another podcast episode. But, but in all seriousness, after that, like we continued going to the church for a little while, but then it became pretty apparent that I had a hard time saying no because they kept asking me to do more things than I wanted to do them. And and so Isaac and I prayed about it and we felt like God was saying, Hey, well, let’s try to find a church that’s like minded that’s a little closer to home so that we’re at least don’t have this like long distance driving happening on a regular basis and so that we can get to know people that live more local to where we live. Because when we would get together with people, we were driving a distance. And so we ended up going to another community church, a non-denominational church that was more close to our neighborhood.

Yeah. And it was vibrant. The music was loud and the the sermon at the time, I just remember. And the sermons were well put together and people were friendly and those kinds of things. And I just remember that and remember enjoying that. But I do also remember, you know, a difficulty in finding, you know, like minded community. And that’s been that’s been a rhythm that I’ve seen. But I do appreciate that church and we were there for a number of years.

It was just a couple. It was like a couple years. Okay. Yeah. Because we you know, we were doing the Sunday school thing for maybe six months while we were there, and we quickly realized that we didn’t want to do that with our kids. And so we started bringing them to church with us. I think Austin was three. 3 or 4 years old when I realized like, I can’t be in multiple places at multiple.

Oh, they were sitting with us in the church was growing so much that there was room for there was pressure not to have the kids sitting with us.

Yeah, they didn’t want us sitting. And then I was like pregnant with one kid and they asked me on Easter to put my other child on my lap while I’m like 8 or 9 months pregnant. And I was just like, okay, that’s kind of the last straw. Like, my child is worthy of a seat and I already have a baby on my lap in my tummy. So it just felt like it was really hard. And, you know, not that that was like the only reason why we left. There were actually other, bigger reasons why we felt like we needed to leave. That was just the straw on the camel’s back. If you say so.

So now we’re, you know, very early in our marriage and raising kids. We have decided to have our kids sit with us during church service. And the next church that we felt the Lord calling us to was age integrated. Yeah. And where everybody had their kids sitting. Yeah.

I mean, some people call it family integrated Church, too. And we that was actually how I grew up. We had Sunday school, but it was during a Sunday school hour. And so church was always something that kids went to. And so going to other non-denominational churches where people didn’t have their kids necessarily sitting with them and they would just check them into their Sunday school classroom and then go to church and then leave. I was like, I didn’t even quite realize that that was so completely different from how I was raised. Not that, yeah. Anyway, it just became this thing where it was like, You know what? We have options and we need to really think about what the benefits are of having our kids sit with us. And so Isaac and I really started really thinking about like, we want them to be worshiping with us and praying with us. We want them to hear the same sermon. We want them to see people get baptized, see communion, like we wanted them to experience church and see people like using their gifts in the body. And that wasn’t going to happen if they were going to a Sunday school classroom and watching a Bose video.

Well, this was really cool because I saw a level of intentionality at this church. I think there was about 300, 400 people at this church. But families older than us with fruit in their families of godly children and just really intentional approach to it. And then we all did potluck afterwards. It was in a church building and it just was it was really a special time. I started going to the men’s meetings with the pastor and other men, and it was just really authentic. And I think that was just a just a really awesome time.

Well, it’s interesting because when we look back, that was back when we had five kids. It was before we got pregnant with our sixth Ethan. We were still living in Portland and we it was the first time that we actually saw some of the things that were described in the Bible practiced in the church meeting time. So like it kind of gave us more of an idea of how we value like we grew to really value, like how the church meeting was run and have an opinion about that, I guess a personal conviction about things. And one of the things that I so appreciated was watching families leading worship together on stage where like a four year old would even have a mic and would be singing or playing violin, and you could tell that the family had been practicing all week together that worship song. And it was just really sweet. But they also had like an open mic for people to do testimony and prayer requests. And then if there was a prayer request, the pastors would go up and lay hands on that person, sometimes anoint them with oil and pray for healing or pray for whatever their request was. And it really made it feel more like a family, even though there was like 300 people.

I also loved that there was so much discipleship happening and so many young people really learning how to teach and how to understand the Bible and doctrine and so forth. And there was a lot of I remember Western Seminary students getting their seminary degree and they would practice giving sermons at the church. And but they wove it into a level there was consistent pastor giving sermons. But every now and again one of the Multnomah.

Right So there would be like elders teaching and then a someone who was in the seminary degree program who wanted.

It was just want to take a moment and give you something for free if you haven’t got it already is the date Night one sheet. It is a beautiful document you can download that will have some key questions on it for your date night to just get in alignment about what’s most important for your family. No matter what time of year, it’s always important to recalibrate. You can get that by going to courageous Parenting.com and subscribing to our mailing list. Also, you can get all of our show notes and everything at Courageous Parenting.com. And I also just want to share real quick about the Parenting Mentor program. So many families are being transformed by going through this. It’s the six week self-paced program with live engagement from us and even direct interaction. So if you want to join us, here’s a little bit more about it. You can find out more at Courageous Parenting.

Steve and I realized that we were getting too comfortable with the world’s vision of how to raise our children.

What Angie and Isaac have done in creating this is literally phenomenal.

This program provided awesome scripture based teachings and just some really great practical applications.

This class has just really rocked my world. It has given.

Me the vision for not just the different things that we might focus on as parents who are trying to raise our kids biblically, like how our kids are behaving or what we’re doing with discipline, but also the things of the heart.

We now have a game plan to how we want to raise our children. We have so many answers to the questions that have been in our mind.

It’s not just these hypothetical situations or it’s not just this. Here’s what I think you should do. It’s let me show you where in Scripture this is.

Do your legacy a favor and yourself a favor and just do it.

One of the best things that we’ve done this year, one of the best investments we’ve made this year, and I could not recommend it more.

We’re no longer fearing dark days ahead, but we’re so excited to raise lights to be leaders for the next generation. It’s really.

Neat seeing so many people strengthened simultaneously through the.

Dads. Like it was neat to see laypeople also rising up and preparing a sermon message and seeing a father get up there and give a sermon too.

So we’re like, okay, this, this is great. And hospitality people had you over even if you had large families and communion.

I mean, that was also a time where we saw communion done every single week very intentionally, where the dads would go up and they would get communion and then families would literally disband from the pews in the church and they would go to different little nooks and crannies all over the church, whether it was in the lobby or some would go outside. And remember, we just do communion as a family.

I remember feeling, oh, I got to rise up here. I got to lead my family in and administer communion to them. Yeah, that those little things. It’s amazing how that impacts a man.

It’s really pretty incredible. But we actually only got to go and experience the church at that level with those all of those people for about six months and then it disbanded. Well, we.

Didn’t know was happening behind the scenes was division. Yeah.

So there was division in the church and a pastor was put in church discipline and and so a lot of people left and we were like the new people that were like, what is going on? And, and you really.

You kind of wanted to go.

I did, because all of the families that had little kids, our kids ages all went with the other elders. And but my husband just really felt a strong conviction to stay and be patient and be have long suffering and hear everybody out and be objective. And that was like so hard for me. Well, I met.

With the pastor that was put in church discipline several times. And and then I listened to the accusations. The accusations. I’m like, you know what? This doesn’t smell right to me. And the spirit was prompting us to only leave if there was a biblical reason for this to happen. And I felt really bad that this church was being divisive. I didn’t want to be part of division. And so we stayed. There was five, five families, something like that.

And during that time, though, so being a part of a really small church like that and it only continued for probably another three months, I feel like. But during that time I had gotten pregnant with our sixth and was put on bed rest and during that time the women that were in that church, which would not have been women, that I would have chosen to be like close friends with because they were in different seasons of life and none of them had kids. My kids ages. And I just kind of felt alone. God really like shook my world during that time to really remind me of how important every kind of friend, regardless of what season of life they’re in, is. And he taught me so much from those women as they were in my home, serving my kids, cleaning my house, homeschooling my kids, encouraging me while I’m on bed rest.

It’s amazing how we made a hard decision and it was exactly what God wanted us to make. And that was proven through those women coming and serving you so beautifully in our time of need. And we didn’t know that was going to happen, obviously. Yeah, that was amazing.

But it was a very short lived time and there was a lot more pain for some of those families down the road and stuff, and that was hard. But like learning how to rejoice with people and learning how to mourn with people, I feel like that was kind of a season where we experienced both mourning for people, but also people like grieving with us and helping us. And that was really like a boot camp of that, I felt like. And so going through and that really was like my first picture of what biblical fellowship or biblical community was supposed to be like. People are showing up at our house. When we had H1N1, our pastor drove 45 minutes to Salmon Creek to go get us the homeopathic nosodes and Popsicles. And I was like, Who does this? Okay.

So we got a lot more to share and two other topics. So we’re going to fast forward a little bit. But what happened next was obviously that church disbanded and I’m so glad we stayed till the end and we.

Were visiting churches.

And then we visited. We literally said to each other, let’s let’s see what God’s doing in the Willamette Valley, which is the Portland area and surrounding areas and. Let’s just visit churches and just be open minded to what God is doing and where he may have us. And so we visited. We even visited the Mars Hill Church plant in in Portland. That was fun. We we didn’t fit there because it was growing so fast. There weren’t enough.

Seats for our kids.


The time. Didn’t really have the programs.

A little interesting. Mark Driscoll was satellited in and then you know, obviously his his thing happened but we that was fun and we saw it was a.

Good like six weeks.

Then we saw we saw lots of other things and then we had some there was a church plant that from the first church we went to when we were married, we went for the big church. Yeah. And that was a sweet time because we knew quite a few people there from the previous church and and we were there a while, but we never felt completely settled after that in the Portland area. And then we ended up moving to Bend, Oregon, and we visited some churches but pretty quickly landed on just a really rock solid church in Acts 29 church in in Bend, Oregon. And we were we were there for, what, a year and a half or so?

Something like that. I can’t fully remember how long it was, but we were there long enough to get to know people, really cared about them and it was good. But we did. We we found ourselves kind of in a in a different season of life than most people. We had some of the oldest kids and which was totally fine. We’d been in that position at the previous church that we were at, but we were really hungry for biblical fellowship and getting deeply rooted and deeply connected. And and at that time, the people that God was placing in our life, they all went to different churches around Bend. And like literally everyone was going to a different church and some were even unchurched. And those.

All those people became connected and friends.

Eventually, yes, within like a year and a half of being there while we were going to this other church, they all they all were going to different churches and they all started going to the same home church together, doing home church together. And of course, there was a lot of pressure to join them. And I.

Kept resisting. I’m like, No, I mean, you and I both I mean, yeah, I thought, by the way, I thought home schooling was funny. I thought Home church was funny.

He definitely was not into home birth and home.

Not at first. Anything home except me living in my home sounded weird to me. And so but God has walked me through that. And and I personally prefer all the home things now, but it’s really, really amazing. Anyways, our friends ended up winning and I’m thankful they did because for a season that was a that was a really, really sweet time together in Hebrews ten, verse 25, it says, And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another. And all the more as you see the day drawing near. And that’s been a rhythm throughout our whole time is church is always been so important. Why? Because God says so. And because when when you have a mentality of how can you contribute, how can you be part of the church, not just a spectator? It is a beautiful experience. It’s never easy. Sometimes it’s hard to find like minded fellowship places, and we’ve experienced that before. But it doesn’t mean we disobey God. And so I’m thankful that we always obeyed God. Yeah.

So in every church, even when we were visiting churches, we always tried to be really intentional in getting to know people, practicing hospitality, opening up our home in that way, and just trying to be what God calls us to be as his believers, right? Like wherever we are. And it’s been neat to see how God has placed different people in our lives for different seasons, for sure. And then, you know, as we were at this home church for a while, and then after our three month RV trip, we really felt called to plant a home church. And like I said, we had been on a three month RV trip, so we were actually open to planting anywhere, anywhere in the country. And so we brought it to our brothers and sisters in Christ there, and they were all in total support of us planting and they were praying for us as to where we were supposed to plant. But it ended up being God’s will that we planted there in Bend, another.

Completely autonomous church. So these aren’t home churches that are connected or anything, but we planted a home church in Bend and it grew. It grew right away. I mean, it was just amazing and it was so fun and such a good learning experience. Obviously now I’m giving sermons on a more regular basis. I wasn’t the it wasn’t the only one. The other brothers were giving sermons, too, and just a just a great friend, still great friends. And then the Lord prompted us when COVID hit, to move.

To Idaho out of.

State, even though nobody else wanted to move, that we were friends with or going to church with, we decided to move. And and that church is still going and doing great. And and then we’re here and we’re like, we’re back to let’s see what God’s doing in the area. That’s right. Maybe we’ll go to a, you know, a bigger church building church again. And and we had a great experience for. Out a year visiting some just wonderful churches. Obviously we prefer some in the area more more than others. But God’s doing things in all these churches we visited.

It’s neat because moving from Oregon to Idaho, we definitely saw that there was a boldness in the pastors and in the churches here in Idaho. So refreshing, refreshing that was not existent in Oregon, or at least from our experiences over the last you know, we moved here 22 years into marriage, so or 21 years into marriage. So that says a lot. There’s a lot of you heard our church history.

The cultural pressure is different.

Yeah, it’s just very different. There was many more churches that were willing to allow woke or progressive theology to seep in, especially in the Portland area. That was a huge thing that now as we look back, we’re like, Oh yep, saw that coming. That’s a Jezebel spirit. All right. You know, different things like that. But now, like coming to Idaho is very, very refreshing and we are so excited for what God is doing in the Treasure Valley down here. But we we actually don’t live in the Treasure Valley in that regard. We’re on the outskirts. We’re in the outskirts. And so it was quite a drive for our family. And so, of course, in the back of our heads and our kids would bring it up often, Hey, are we going to plant another home church? Are we going to plant another home church? And and we were a little hesitant just because the season of life that we were in and and really like wanting to be a part of a church that was already, you know, and of.

Course, we’re new to an area. How do you meet people if you’re just meeting in your own home?

Yeah, and we had no desire to pull people away from other churches by any stretch of the imagination. That’s not the goal when you plant a church. Right. And so we we prayed about it a lot. And then some other friends that were local, they were having a hard time finding a church themselves. And they exhorted us and said, Hey, when are you going to plant the church?

I think he called me Jonah.

He did. And then I kind of laughed and he goes, And then Isaac goes, Well, you’re married to me. So what does that make you? I was like, Guess Jonah’s wife. So in that.

Regard, maybe it took me a couple months later, a couple months later, that was sitting in my head in the spirit. It was prompting us. And we just met with the family and they were all into it. And I go, You know what? We’re not. No ambition. Just obey God. We’re going to start meeting as a family and we’ll see who God brings. And we literally were pretty quiet about it. But pretty soon someone would ask us, Hey, where are you going? To church? Well, we’re doing it home. Oh, can I join you?

Yeah, well, we didn’t even answer that way. We don’t answer that way very often. But yeah, we’ve just kind of given it to the Lord. And now we’re. We’re at like 11 families and that’s like 60 people ish. Um, but so it grew very fast and we’re thankful. Praise God, we love our little church. And it’s funny because we set out to be lights and a witness to our neighborhood area, and no one who comes to church is from this area. They’re from all over.

They come from as far as an hour away, which is. Yeah, it’s hilarious, which is interesting. So. So maybe God’s doing something. Maybe he wants to strengthen people and maybe plant more churches around the whole Treasure Valley. I don’t know. I’m just open to whatever God’s doing.

It’s it’s been a very different experience than our last home church because there’s different people. And that kind of brings me to my next point. In First Corinthians 12, I’m not going to go through the Scripture because it’s quite a lot, but I’m sure that just referring to the Scripture that talks about spiritual gifts and being members of the body, I think that for us, one of the things that we’ve just enjoyed so much in the last few years is just being able to see lots of people involved, even kids, as it’s a family integrated experience and seeing the kids bring a worship song and help lead worship, they’ll ask for prayer. Sometimes they’re the ones that will pipe up and pray. If another person’s asked for prayer, they help with cleaning up after church. Sometimes they’ll make cookies or whatever and bring them to our potluck, shared meal time, whatever it is. And it’s just a neat opportunity to see kids practicing being a part of the church, which is a really I get that. It’s a unique experience and it’s a really special one, and that’s just one that we’ve really valued for our own children. But as I look.

Back, all of them are the bride of Christ and I praise God for the experiences we’ve had and what we’ve learned in the bodies of Christ that we’ve been a part of.

And we never left any of them with like, bad feelings either. And so we always, like, made a real effort. And maybe this speaks to you, too, because I know that there’s been a sifting and there’s been a lot of divisions in the last four years in many churches. A lot of people are they feel like they’re waking up to the reality of what’s been going on in their church or whatever. Right. And then they’re looking for another one. And the truth is, I want to exhort you to do due diligence, to have the hard conversations with people. If you feel like you need to leave, that there’s like true transparency that you leave on good terms and recognizing to when you’re leading a church that people are leaving a place and to know why they’re leaving is actually kind of important if you’re in leadership. Because the truth is, is. Wherever they go, they’re there, right? Like. So if you’re a problem, you’re going to go your problem is going to go with you wherever you go because you’re the problem, right? Like if if there was some kind of sin or something. And so it’s really important, like when you’re involved in church to know people well, know your brothers and sisters in Christ. And and it’s just been really interesting, our experience over the last 23 years, we’ve definitely learned a lot and we’re really thankful for where we are today.

But I think it’s really important on the church topic that you know what you believe about the Bible and that you also know what the church you’re going to believes. And it’s important that the major doctrines are in alignment and accurate and biblically accurate. And you want to make sure you’re not taking your family to something that is getting into the ditch on one side or the other. You know, there’s a road, a, you know, where biblical truth is, okay? And we want to be on that good, even footed road, solid ground, and we don’t want to go into the ditch on this side and the ditch in this side. And the only way you know that is if you’re learning what the Bible says and you’re close to God. So you can hear, feel the promptings of the Holy Spirit in you. And if you feel that something is wrong, then it’s your job now to go to the Bible and try and pinpoint what it may be or ask questions and these kinds of things. Because you want to be taking your family to a church where you look to the leaders and you go, Yeah, you should follow them. And you look to yourself and go, Yeah, I want to have fruit like they do in their family. And I think that’s important to consider.

Yeah, it’s super important. I’d say it’s probably one of the most important if we’re talking about where to choose to go to church, right? To know who is influencing you on such a level that you can go, I want to have a marriage like theirs, or I want my kids to grow up and be like their kids. Because if they’re teaching you parenting, for example, or they’re teaching on marriage and they don’t have a good healthy marriage, or if they’ve been divorced multiple times like that, huge red flags, people, the Bible is really clear about that. And so I just think that there is for sure it’s such a good exhortation, Isaac, on the doctrine, because we’ve been a part of many churches. Obviously, we shared with you guys today our church history. And and there have been times, too, where before we left, there was one time specifically where God really impressed upon Isaac to go and confront some pastors and tell them why we were leaving and to warn them because we felt like there was a lack of accountability. Well, actually.

This has only happened a few times, but I literally had a vision. I literally before something happened, I had a vision that there was a problem and specifically what the problem was like.

God really even showed him like who was going to be. And so I went.

And gave a warning because I could not. It was that clear and it was that incredible. And it was.

He went and warned one of the pastors.

And it was it was dismissed. And then it was like a month later it happened. So it was just really interesting. So sometimes you got to trust the smaller promptings and the bigger ones too, and take action.

Yeah. So of course, like if you see any yellow flags or any red flags like we did, it’s a reason to leave. We left after that like it was based upon how the pastors and the leadership responded was going to tell us if we were going to stay or not, because we really loved and cared for this specific brother and sister in Christ and their family by saying, Hey, we see this warning. This is not going to be healthy if something happens. And there was no effort to try and protect them.

But still appreciate God is moving in all those churches. And and it’s it’s important as another thing, too. It’s important how we talk about the bride of Christ, even if we disagree with something as long as they’re on the road, not in the deep in the ditches, then, you know, we should be careful with our tongues. And I think that’s really, really important.

I think I think that right now, I mean, one of the things you’re just bringing something up, brushing the this is a big conversation, but you have one way of verbally exhorting people on that topic. Would you just share that with people today? Because I think it’s super powerful where you talk about the bride.

Yeah, if I can remember the Bride of Christ, you know the bride, you wouldn’t talk. Let’s say you have a good friend and you have an issue with his bride, his wife. Are you going to go to your good friend and just start blasting his wife? No. You won’t be good friends anymore. Right. And so I just I kind of think about that. Well, Jesus refers to the church as his bride. And so let’s be careful not to rip on the bride of Christ. And by the way, I just want to share something. Pastors have the hardest leadership job that exists because in most cases, they’re leading a large group of volunteers and the hardest people to lead and get things done and make sure things get done with oftentimes are volunteers because there’s no definitive obligation. To do something and follow through. And so I just think my heart always goes out to pastors and the job they’re doing and the difficulty. And there’s always people that are not always, but a lot of times there’s some people that are a little bit disgruntled with things. And you know what? There’s no perfect church. There’s no perfect pastor because we’re all humans and there’s no perfect humans. And so let’s remember that.

And I think in remembering that you it’s a warning to not put anyone on a pedestal, right? Like just recognizing that people are fallible and that they can even have their doctrines messed up. And I think that we’re all going to have a lot to learn when we get to heaven one day. And it’s going to be very humbling. And I think that having a heart of humility and wanting to learn and having long suffering with people and compassion and and patience is so important for the believer because it’s founded in grace and mercy which exemplifies who Jesus Christ was, while at the same time standing firm in biblical truth in what we do know. And I think that, you know, sometimes it’s hard to find that in churches. But I would just encourage you, if you’re in a place where you’re looking for that or or you’re in a in a struggling situation where you’re just not sure if you’re where you’re supposed to be, be praying for that specifically for God to really make you strong, to be wise, that you would be used by him wherever you are. Maybe he wants you to speak truth and and be a catalyst for growth within the church that you’re a part of. Or maybe he wants you to warn people and then to leave and to lead your family and protect them.

And so the truth is, is, you know, we all as parents, we’re going to answer to God for protecting our children. And that’s why that’s been one of the highest priorities for Isaac and I. And all of this is just making sure, like is the church that we’re going to actually a catalyst for the culture of our family that we feel called to leave. Is this church a catalyst for growth in our family and helping us to leave the legacy that we want to leave? And if it’s a stumbling block in anything, that is a huge culture aspect that we feel called and confident in, in the Lord, that’s going to be a problem. So like, for example, we felt called to homeschool. And so if we were going to a church where we felt like we were going against the stream 100% because we homeschooled, that would potentially be a problem long term. And so, you know, just evaluating and going, okay, what is God called our family to? What is God called your family to? And is the church helping you to fulfill the legacy and the callings within your family that he’s called you to?

So, hey, we were going to talk about three topics, but we’re going to we’re going to end now with this first topic. In our next episode, we’re going to talk about, hey, you know, were you homeschooled? Have you always homeschooled? How did you get into that? How did you learn how to homeschool? And we’re also going to talk about were you always intentional parents? How did you learn how to become biblically intentional parents, and what were some of what was your background on that and that kind of thing? So I think that sometimes sharing stories is the best way to teach, and we hope this was edifying for you. We so appreciate you being part of the mission and the ministry.

See you next time. Hey, thanks for listening and being a part of the 10 Million Legacies movement. Go to be courageous Ministry org for more biblically based resources. Ways to switch where you spend your money that support the mission and information about the incredible be courageous app community for believers.

Also we wanted to quickly tell you about our six week online parenting mentor program.

Isaac and I created a powerful biblical curriculum. Here’s how it works. Each week we release a video session with a downloadable parenting packet to make it easy for you to incorporate those teachings directly into your parenting.

This is an incredible self-paced program. We cover everything from tending to their hearts, handling obedience to overcoming mistakes most Christians are making. But more than that, it’s a supportive community. You’ll have access to our private group and the Be Courageous app, live webcasts and direct access to us.

If you’re interested in joining our next online parenting Mentor program, secure your spot now at be courageous ministry.org. That’s be courageous ministry.org.


Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of CourageousMom.com, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

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