My Story Part 3: The Building Years

In 1980 we moved back to Lima, NY where I made the Elim campus the BASIC headquarters. During that season I began to be burdened by God for the single adult population. Out of this burden a new ministry was born called Mobilized to Serve. This ministry exploded and for 8 years I traveled around the world, speaking in hundreds of churches, with a message for single adults. I also wrote a book called God’s Call to the Single Adult that sold over 100,000 copies and is still published today under the title The Power and Purpose of Singleness.

In 1988 I became the pastor of a gathering of believers on the Elim campus. The next year we formerly incorporated Elim Gospel Church and I served as Lead Pastor there for the next 20 years. One of the most significant events that happened during my tenure at EGC was the revival starting in May of 1994. For three weeks we held services daily from 10 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon and from 7 at night until past midnight. This Holy Spirit outpouring dramatically affected the schedule and makeup of the church for 2 years. The residual impact still affects many of us who were there. During that time God also gave me a vision to expand the campus by constructing a church building. This multimillion dollar facility now sits at the heart of the Elim campus and serves all the ministries on campus. The process of raising the funds and leading the congregation in building that building taught me more about leadership than anything else I’ve ever done in ministry.

When I stepped down as Lead Pastor, I led the congregation in embracing a powerful 27 year old young man, Joshua Finley. Joshua graduated from EBI, was part of my mentor training and also served on staff as youth pastor. He and his team did an outstanding job leading the church. I counted it a privilege to continue to serve him in the leadership of the church as an elder and teaching pastor. This successful transition was the direct result of the relationship that Josh and I developed as I mentored him in the beginning of his ministry. This commitment to see the church that was led by a 54 year old be led by a young man was part of a decision I made to make room for another generation of leaders. I feel that this is a critical assignment in my life and is shaping even what I’m doing today.

In January, 2009 I joined the staff of Elim Fellowship as Vice President. Our motto is “to strengthen the leader, to equip the church, to reach the world”. During my time with Elim Fellowship I have personally visited scores of pastors in their churches and homes. I’ve spoken at leadership gatherings with hundreds of pastors and ministry leaders. I’ve seen and experienced many of the challenges Christian leaders face and I want to prepare future leaders to thrive in the middle of those challenges.

In May, 2012 I became the President of my alma mater Elim Bible Institute and College. In this position I stood on the shoulders of many who have gone before in the nearly 100 years of Elim’s history. The mission of the school is to prepare Christ centered, Spirit empowered servant leaders for global revival and worldwide ministry. During my tenure at EBIC the school became a fully accredited college enabling our students to receive both state and federal aid. I went there because I had a burning passion to prepare people to powerfully impact their world for Jesus Christ. The harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few. It is a fact. Today more than ever we need people who will put everything on the line to follow in Christ’s steps.

Author: Mike Cavanaugh
Mike Cavanaugh serves as the founder and director of Not Many Fathers, a ministry dedicated to mentoring emerging Christian leaders in how to make wise decisions, preach dynamically, and boldly initiate their visions so they can reach their God-given potential.

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