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Through this interview you get to hear some of Bill’s backstory and how it all came about. Bill shares how he chose to experience the many different aspects and expressions of Christianity without being married to just one of them. As a follower of Jesus Christ God has led Bill on an incredible journey of discovery into the wide-open spaces of His heart toward those who don’t know Him.
Through his heavy involvement with the Lord on this topic, Bill now invites churches to pursue the lost- facilitating and resourcing events and local outreaches that bring together churches of multiple denominations and personalities to seek and save the lost.
Nathan Sack 00:00
Hey thanks for joining us for another Faith Horizons podcast. The purpose of a Faith Horizons podcast is to discover the kingdom of God in Kansas City, one conversation at a time. Through this interview, you get to hear some of Bill’s backstory, how it all came about, experiencing the many different aspects and expressions of Christianity without being married to just one of them. As a follower of Jesus Christ, God has led Bill on an incredible journey of discovery into the wide-open spaces of His heart towards those who don’t know Him. Through his heavy involvement with the Lord on this topic, Bill now invites churches to pursue the lost, facilitating and resourcing events and local outreaches that bring together churches of multiple denominations and personalities to seek and save the lost. Here’s my conversation with Bill Otterness. Well, I’m really excited about this episode, Bill, because I really feel like this episode is really going to showcase who you are. And so I’m thinking about titling this episode, Just Do It. When you were 30 years old, you got saved. And then about two years after that, you just started getting involved with all these different ministries, just to figure out what the kingdom of God was all about. So can you tell us a little bit about just a short brief of what your life was like before Christ and then just what started happening?
Bill Otterness 01:38
Yeah, well, in short, you know, I’m a Christian now raised by heathens. You know, so there wasn’t a lot of biblical background structure or anything like that. And through a friend invited me to church, and I heard the word of God, and that was the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Nathan Sack 01:58
And this is in Kansas City, right?
Bill Otterness 02:00
Yeah. So all this occurred in Kansas City, which is interesting, because I never saw I guess that’s how the Lord wanted me here in Kansas City, you know, being raised in the south, and then came here, you know, was not running right, but then ended up pushing my life completely flipped it over. Really everybody disappeared, my friends and everything, because you know, I was a different person. And I just really embrace the word and embrace the church just soaked it up for a couple of years, because I really didn’t have much else going on. I was working at the time, I had a really great job with this kind of fortune 500 company, doing tech work and industrial technologies. And so you know, there was, I was set up with that, but I really didn’t have a lot to do in my spare time. So I went to a lot of different churches. I had my main church, and then I had like, my Sunday night church, and then I had my Saturday night church. And then I just kind of met all these different people and their different outreaches. And so I just was getting involved.
Nathan Sack 03:00
You’re almost like, beginning to build a network of people that you knew.
Bill Otterness 03:03
I really was. I mean, that’s exactly what was happening to me.
Bill Otterness 03:06
You’re just exploring, you know.
Bill Otterness 03:08
I was seeing that this church has this going on, and they could use help in this other area. And I noticed this other church, or this other ministry, they have that, that they can help. And so I’m like, I need to put all these guys together and help them, you know, figure it out. And you know, when really the whole thing started, because after going through the Word, and for two years straight, I mean, I’m just reading the Bible from cover to cover and studying it and taken in all these different online studies and CDs and cassette tape and cassette tapes. And, and I realized that, you know, I’m supposed to be doing something with this over and over and over again, there’s commandments by Jesus in the disciples to say, go and do this go, go out. And, and I started feeling confident, like, I should be doing this. And that’s when I started getting involved with these other churches. And then, you know, as it progressed, I ended up coming across Youth With A Mission. They had a ministry involved with them, called Impact World Tours. And they pretty much did that they brought all the churches together all the ministries, and organizations and businesses and they would put them together to create one massive outreach campaign and I was like, well, they’re doing it I don’t need to reinvent the wheel. I jumped on with them and with GX International and, and that’s how I really got involved with more concrete missions focus. And then, when-
Nathan Sack 04:41
So you kind of partnered with them and kind of got to learn the lay of the land, really?
Bill Otterness 04:46
Oh, yeah. I got formal training from them classroom training, stuff like that. And so yeah, there was there was-
Nathan Sack 04:52
Before classroom training, though, there was a there was an actual passion and a draw into this like you were actually interested in this.
Bill Otterness 04:59
Yeah. So the one thing and still true to this day, it’s concrete. I mean, it was so basic. It was a commandment that Jesus gave us. And He says that in John, chapter 15, verse 12, it says, This is my commandment, love each other in the same way that I loved you. And He goes on to say, there’s no greater love than to lay down one’s life for his friends. And that’s what Jesus did. That’s how much He loved us. And the basic driving force for me, and I think it’s for all people that are involved with sharing the gospel, is love. There’s just this love that is created in us. We are created in the image of God, we are His reflection, and the only thing that is going to show love on this planet is because of Him. Satan is not going to show love in any way at all. There is nothing about him that is love. Everything that God gives everything that we see that we love, you know, even if it’s the creation, I love those trees. I love these flowers, man, I’m just so passionate about this is because God and put that in you to love those things. Satan doesn’t give you a love for anything. But it’s that love that really drove me to see people in a different perspective.
Nathan Sack 06:28
So like, you know, like you’re saying love, but you’re not just saying that might have been the that’s the motivating factor. But then, then there’s, you have to act on your love.
Bill Otterness 06:38
Yeah. And so that’s where it is a little bit different. And scripture show us even from even from Old Testament is that we have been given an authority from God as His favorite creation to go out and do things that no other creation on this planet can do. We’ve been given authority greater than the angels and demons. We have been getting the highest authority here. And so that is something to understand when you’re out speaking with somebody, even if it’s just in a normal conversation at a coffee shop, that not to be intimidated by the world, not to be intimidated by evil people, because we are all authority. We, so we are the light of the world. Jesus says that, right? And it’s not just a little song, This little light of mine, you know, but I would encourage you sing that over and over to yourself. You are the light, darkness cannot comprehend the light. That’s part of our authority. If you walk into a room and turn on the light, darkness is gone. It’s gone. If you walk up to somebody that you know, God has been telling you, you’re at the workplace, you’re in school, and God has really been provoking you to go and speak to that person. Do it, you’re a light. You go up there, your light is going to shine in the darkness in that person is going to flee. And now you’ll be able to see them and you’ll be able to love them. And one thing that’s interesting about people is every- all of them love. All of them. You know, we see people, and some of them are really broken, they’re really in bad shape. But they just love being around other people that are full of light and love. They will sit there and talk to you and hang out with you. And it’s just as simple as just showing them love, show them you care for them showing you love them. And they’ll open up and there’ll be completely different. And you’ll walk away and you know, some of these people, I think to this day, people look back, and they remember those moments, because those were moments that they came in contact with the Holy Spirit. They came in contact with an authority that they cannot explain.
Nathan Sack 09:05
Okay, so like, I know you as the I know, you as the person who you know, who got involved with like GX International, which is like they deal with like performing arts they deal with like, rap groups they deal with it doesn’t, you know, they’ll pull some horses out, they’ll put a rock wall up, you know, they’ll gather together a city, they’ll rent a park, you know, type of thing, but you’re saying that all of that is unto creating an experience for an individual to run into the Holy Spirit.
Bill Otterness 09:36
Absolutely, absolutely. That’s all, that’s all it is. At the end of the day that’s what we want. That’s the whole point to see them experience that light, to sense that love that something that they probably in many cases nobody has ever experienced it. They know it’s there. They have a yearning that like man, I know there’s something greater than what’s going on and then they get a chance to be exposed to it, you know?
Nathan Sack 10:02
So all these different outreach expressions are just unto meeting that person.
Bill Otterness 10:06
Yeah. And you know, the reason I like doing events and putting those together because it gives everybody a rally point. It gives the neighborhood, the businesses, the churches, the churches a place that we can all come together and rally and it brings all their different resources together. Yeah, maybe one guy’s got some horses and he loves bringing them out. You know, this guy, he’s, he’s the hot dog king of the neighborhood. He’s gonna come out and grill a hot dogs for everybody, you know, whatever that event looks like. It’s really just a rally point to get everybody together. When two or more come together you know, Jesus is present. Ecclesiastes tells us that the three strand cord can’t be broken. You know, and when we’re unified in the body, we are strong. You cannot overcome that at all. So when you get like a few 100 people together in the name of Jesus, man, something’s gonna happen. You don’t even have to speak. You know, you could go into an area, you can walk into a workplace. You got five of you guys, and you really prayed up before you walked into that building. You really, really prayed up good. You walk into the building. You don’t have to speak a word or do nothing. The presence of Jesus Christ in you is going to shift the atmosphere, that workplace. And it’s because you’re looking around. You see love in every single person. You know they were created in the eyes of God, who is who is the only creator of love. And so everybody has that in them if they don’t, they’re evil, that’s just evil.
Nathan Sack 11:36
The Bible says God is love, right?
Bill Otterness 11:38
God is love.
Nathan Sack 11:39
Yeah, there’s no other source.
Bill Otterness 11:40
We were called in the beginning to love God with all the heart. And Jesus says, I give you this commandment, just love. That’s it, that covers all of the commandments.
Nathan Sack 11:54
So these are all, you know, like these outreach expressions or stuff like that? It really does bring the church- I really, I really, it almost it provokes the church to get together. Yeah, they can’t ignore the fact that there’s going to be, you know 50 different expressions of Christianity happening at a local park, you know, and then you say, well, would you like to be-would you like to be involved with this or do you just not want to be involved at all?
Bill Otterness 12:23
It gets, you have to learn each other too. Because each person has their own personality. Yeah, you know, it’s the same thing with the church. You know, they’re gonna have their own personality. And so you get to learn the personality of the other congregation. You know, some congregations are very old, and some of them were very young and charismatic. And so there’s all these different personalities that we have. And they get to meet them and learn about the other personalities.
Nathan Sack 12:52
But each one of their personalities has a different way. They can participate though.
Bill Otterness 12:56
Yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. And it’s a lot of fun. Yeah, it’s
a lot of fun. And, and so they, so that’s what I like to I like to see that happen too you know, but I think the basic thing is really, individual is start. It’s like a grass roots move, really. I mean, it takes each individual to understand that if I look at this person in a loving way, and know that I am the light, that I can expel all the darkness in that person. God’s given me all authority to cast out all of that. I can walk up to that person. And just really change their life forever, for all eternity. And so if every person in the church did that, now the church is a different place. And now that church is just inevitably out doing stuff unprovoked. It’s just happening. It’s just a natural part of their DNA now.
Nathan Sack 13:53
Well, the rewards of evangelism are people who are newly alive coming into the body of Christ. And they’re like, yeah, man, they’re on fire.
Bill Otterness 14:04
And even the word evangelism can scare people off. And so-
Nathan Sack 14:13
I like to put it this way. Okay. So, you got the prophet- you have the apostle, then you have the prophet, then you have the middle child, which is the evangelist. And then you have the pastor and the teacher.
Bill Otterness 14:25
You know, you don’t even you don’t you don’t have to be like coined, like the evangelist per se. Because each person is asked by- Jesus says, I give you this commandment go and love. That in itself, is evangelism. If you go and love your neighbor, if you go and love that person at your church or love that person in your workplace or in your school and you really do that well. Honestly, you don’t even have to, to go through and do all these five point gospel evangelistic messages and everything. Like the greatest commandment is love, that is what’s going to shift people. And then they’re going to start- they’re going to be evangelizing themselves. Because they’ll ask questions. You know, I did that I had a neighbor that I was doing that to, and he was really standoffish. One day out of nowhere I’m down on the curb on my street, and he sees me. So he comes out of his house, runs up there catches me on the road, and says, hey, I got a question for you. I’m like, yeah, go ahead, Bob. What’s up? And he says, what’s the difference between God and Jesus? I didn’t say nothin to the guy came starts asking me questions. And that’s how that love provokes people to want to know. So they become their own evangelists, they start asking you the questions, and then that just opens it up. And so you just explain it to them. And like, you would just talk to anybody else. And before you know it, they’re coming to church with you. You’re giving them Bible, praying with them. And so really, that that’s in short, that’s really what I’m doing out there. And people call me evangelist and everything. And yeah, okay, I’ll receive that. But really, that’s all I’m doing is just going walking around. Wherever I’m at- church businesses, school, meeting, coffee shops in, you know, I’m intentional about it. So it was a little bit of a difference in that. So I guess it is evangelistic in that in that way, because I am intentional about it. But you know, if you’re just intentional about loving that person next to you at work or at church, you sit there with him every Sunday at church, but you never really talk to him. You just kind of say hi, during the greeting time for 30 seconds. You know, it goes beyond that.
Nathan Sack 16:41
Yeah. So, evangelists also, like, if you take it from evangelist, you know, the fivefold ministry is, is there for the equipping of the church. So one thing you have been able to do, you know, maybe not the primary director of but definitely, definitely a participant of is to equip the church to do a to, to relay the gospel to the, to the neighborhoods and that you’ve done that through, you know, communicating with different churches to come together to a certain park or, or to participate in creating an event so that they can participate. So I mean, that’s really kind of cool.
Bill Otterness 17:19
It’s fun too, it’s a lot of fun especially when I get some of these people out there that no one’s ever heard of, like who’s this guy? Are you sure we’re actually paying him to come out? And then they then they hear his message from the stage and they hear his rap and they see the response from the crowd are like, okay, that was pretty cool.
Nathan Sack 17:40
Well, and you know, these, the people that you- because evangelists, I mean, not evangelists, but the message of the, of the Gospel comes in all forms. You know, it comes through the, the young girl, you know, who got saved, you know, and her mom and her dad, you know, had passed away or it comes through the guy that’s covered in tattoos, and he’s in he’s, you know, was bound to go down some deep, dark road, but then God pulled them out of that, you know, and so like, when you hear those messages, like what you’re talking about, when you hear those messages out of these people, you’re like, oh, wow, God, you know, that’s your person. Now, you know, that’s your son now is now they become sons of God, and daughters of God, in their own way. And God is not afraid of that. He’s not afraid of that those personalities.
Bill Otterness 18:37
Oh, no. And that’s what we’ve noticed being out. Is that like, you know, I’ve been to other countries, other cities, other inner cities, you know, Chicago. Oh, my gosh, you want to do some real outreach go to Chicago, on the west side. That’s some real stuff there. But everywhere I’ve been, you know, when you when you approach people, or when they approach you, when you’re when you’re just covered in the light, and that love the Holy Spirit, you see people you don’t see the tattoos, you don’t see color, you don’t see none of that. All you see is like this person that has potential that has joy. Because when, when a child of God is interacting with another that individual is different. All of a sudden, he doesn’t become a drug dealer or a thug or an alcoholic or whatever stuff they’re struggling with in the world. They become someone who’s completely interested in knowing more about you- this joy and peace and love that you have, you know, so they’re different, different. They talk different they excuse themselves from accidentally cussing. Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do that. I was like, whatever, man. I know you’re probably cuss like a sailor all day long and now all the sudden because they’re in your presence. They know there’s something different. They know they’re within a holiness. You know, we’re told to go out and be holy because He is holy. Seek for righteousness. So when someone’s like, what are you more holier than thou? I was like, wow, that’s what I’m supposed to be. You know, what are you all holy and righteous? Like, yeah, matter of fact I am. The Bible says, I’m to be holy and righteous. And so people recognize that. You know, especially people that are living in darkness, people that are living in darkness, they see that there is some goodness, and then there’s a light right there in front of them. And they’ll, they’ll completely act different. They will either be joyous and happy to receive you and want to hear or listen, or maybe even have a conversation. Or they’ll run and flee. If they run and flee, okay, that person is completely full of darkness. They cannot receive it right now.
Nathan Sack 21:02
So if somebody was interested in like, acting on or getting involved with just getting in front of people and telling them about Jesus, what’s your- I kind of was hearing here was you’re saying that telling people about Jesus Christ become almost addictive? Yeah, it’s contagious. It’s like, once you’ve done it once.
Bill Otterness 21:25
Once you’ve shared now, and you’re right, and I that that is a huge part of it, because we have seen statistics that say, only 1% of Christians have actually led someone to Jesus. And so if more people were competent, about their place in God, then we could see that percentage rise. And I think the easiest way to do that, it’s not so much to go and preach the gospel like an evangelist, but to really learn how to share your testimony and do it effectively. There are tons of different videos out there and, and studies, worksheets you can go through, I mean, I do this with most people, when I’m involved, when I’m doing outreach, I go through that with them and teach them how to share their testimony, those people that are going to be involved. And so your testimony is in itself, the gospel message, you know, the gospel is a contraction that was created from you know, centuries ago, that is, two words put together that meant good spell, a good spell was a good story, you know, that was a good spell. And it can became contracted together to form one word meant gospel. And so we see that, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, they had a good spell. You know, really, that’s what it is. It’s their story of their relationship with Jesus, where they were before that, how that took place. And then where they’re at now, and how they’re walking, walking that out. So you got four different gospels there that share how that how Jesus affected their lives, and what they seen and how that was formed around them. Okay. Nathan, you have a gospel, the gospel in Nathan, the gospel of Bill, the gospel of Jane, the Gospel, you know, everybody has their own gospel of what Jesus did in their life. You know, even if you’ve was raised in the church, your whole life, at some point, it clicked. And you knew, and if it hasn’t clicked, you need to get back down on your knees and ask Him, where are you at Jesus? Because, you know, once it click, there’s that shift that happens in your life, where the Holy Spirit really starts to take over. And so learn how to share your testimony and share it well shared effectively. And that in itself is going to really help because it’s your it’s yours. They can’t take that from you.
Nathan Sack 23:55
They can’t tell you that’s not true. They could say well, I don’t believe that’s true.
Bill Otterness 24:02
Well that’s what it is. I mean, they might say that, yeah, but still, His word went out and it’s not going to return void. So they’re gonna walk away with that in their head forever.
Nathan Sack 24:12
And you’re saying, like to begin this interaction, you know, it’s just all about love, you know, if it’s mowing somebody’s yard, if it’s helping them carry their grocery in, creating relationship with a person-
Bill Otterness 24:24
Acts of compassion.
Nathan Sack 24:25
Yeah, acts of compassion.
Bill Otterness 24:28
Helping the widow, helping the homeless, helping the elderly-those things those are all things that actually Jesus tells us to go and do as well. You cannot neglect that stuff. That’s technically how I got involved with missions. Now that I think about it, there was this story. I was, I was driving down the road and I seen this woman walking and I was in the country. And she’s walking and I’m thinking where she walking to? There ain’t nothing out here within like, two miles, probably. But I didn’t stop to pick her up. I was on my way to work. And so I headed into the shop. And man it just really bugged me the whole time. And then I realized that I started thinking it through, you know, because I’ve seen this woman walking down the street, I didn’t pick her up, went straight to the shop, started working, but it kept bugging me. Why is this bugging me so much? If I stopped to pick her up, if I stopped to help this person with groceries, if I stopped every time I felt compelled to stop something, I would be doing nothing for myself. And it hit me. It’s not about me. It was about God. I need to be doing everything in my moment every day for God. And so I came home from work that day. And I talked to my wife about you know, I think it was supposed to go into full time missions. So we prayed about that and just started going out. Ask Him to create a, a group of partners around us and so that’s how I got started. It was that really provoked me that if I did everything that God told me, I would have no time for myself and that was just it.
Nathan Sack 26:13
Thanks for sharing part of your testimony. And then just the, just do it. Just do it. Change your life.
Bill Otterness 26:23
Yeah. And if anybody really needs any help with testimony, or you need to find the right source, or I can personally help you myself. Yeah, I’ll do it.
Nathan Sack 26:34
You’ll find him at www.otternessmissions.org. It really is a privilege to be able to refer to bill as a friend, the actions he takes to advance the Kingdom stirs up the same tenacity in myself and others. I’ll leave you with this. Whatever God has put on your heart to do, just do it. You never know what treasure you will find maybe even the desires of your own heart. Thank you so much for joining us for another Faith Horizons podcast. We look forward to sharing more conversations from the kingdom of God in Kansas City. If you’d like to partner with the Faith Horizons mission to discover the kingdom of God in Kansas City, one conversation at a time, please go to www.patreon.com forward slash faith horizons. Thank you so much.
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