Fire Fighters, Fire Keepers, Heart Healers

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Fire_Fighters_Fire_Keepers_Heart_HealersIt is my honor to feature Pastor Chad and Mindy who currently pastor New Hope Church, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Pastor Chad is the founder of Of the Word Ministries, a new ministry to pastors. Pastor Chad and Mindy have been married and pastoring for 22 years and they have eight children ranging in age from 6 to 21 years old. Five of their children are adopted privately from places such as the Ukraine and California. Two have Down Syndrome. Pastor Chad and Mindy have been homeschooling for 19 years. In addition, they have worked with 29 more children over the years in foster care. Oh, and did I mention that Mindy and their daughters Lizzie and Gracie are volunteer firefighters?

IMG_0052Pastor and Mindy, have you served overseas?

We served as evangelists in Canada and Mexico. We spent 6 weeks as a fifth wheel on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, and went to the Ukraine for one of our adoptions. Chad has traveled several times to Africa, once with our daughters, and once for pastoral training and revivals.

Pastor Chad, you recently launched, Of The Word Ministries. Please tell us about it.

After twenty-two years of being a minister, the Lord has opened the door for me to help other pastors through Of The Word Ministries. What is different about Of The Word Ministries is that our focus is primarily on the spiritual development of pastors.

The original purpose of Of the Word Ministries was to provide training for Christians to go deep in their walk by demonstrating the power of His Word and the need for all to grow.  It did not start out as a ministry to pastors. The focus on pastors started this year. Pastors are an avenue through which to improve the lack of believers reading/studying the Bible. If pastors model this posture toward God’s Word it will impact the Christian community as a whole.

I was asked to serve as a pastors’ coach for my denomination. Through this I began to understand the need pastors have to be in the Word and study it, not just for their sermons, but for their own growth. People would be surprised at how many pastors are neglecting this area of their lives. I believe this could be one of the reasons we have recently heard shocking stories of pastors having to leave the ministry.

Over the years I have served as a traveling evangelist and a lead pastor in four separate churches, two denominations and one independent. Through all of these assignments I rachael_m_colby_tattoo_it_on_your_heart_looking_for_inspirarion-001faced much difficulty and conflicts I never expected. I searched for help with each situation. I kept friends and family members on the phone for hours; I looked at every book that is out there that referenced what I was facing. It took me a long time to realize that wasn’t where the answer was. The answer was in what God was teaching me at the time through His Word. It never failed. What I was studying in His Word paralleled what I was going through each time and provided the answer. I just usually looked over it and looked elsewhere.

I believe that no ministry can be a one person ministry. Of The Word Ministries is a non-profit 501c3 corporation. We have a board of directors who assist in mapping out the plan and the vision.

I also have a discipleship team that consists of lay ministers who showed interest and have taken the three initial courses in the curriculum I am still developing. They have come alongside this ministry, have been impacted, and are eager to help lay people and pastors grow. They also are a huge help to me in understanding the direction this ministry should take. We have spent hours praying and discussing how to make the largest impact. But, the majority of our time together is studying God’s Word. This is exciting as all understand if it doesn’t happen with us, how can we minister to others?

I also have pastors across the country that I am very close to.  Some, I went to school with, others I met along the way. I consult them regularly for advice on pastoral situations. This assists in understanding the various needs a pastor faces. They also understand the need for pastors’ growth and are willing to help as the need arises.

DSC_0009In 2017, I had the opportunity to go to Eswatini (Swaziland), Africa and train pastors.  I was able to connect with a church planter whom our church has a relationship with. The door is wide open over there for this ministry. I went back again in 2018, preached in a tent revival and led Pastors training for four days—3 hours a day.  I am already scheduled to return in 2019. This is turning into an annual training session as the need there is so great. They do not have much for pastors in this area. I know it’s cliche, but we really do take much for granted. We should thank God every day for the Christian materials we have available in the United States.

I would love to see a pastors training center in Eswatini. I am completing the curriculum I would like to see used, (both in print and video) for this. My hope is that the work in Eswatini will provide a model we could implement back here in the States.

We are also also starting an online community for Pastors. The purpose is for pastors to share what they are studying and what God is teaching them. Each pastor will encourage other pastors in their personal study. This will start through Twitter and branch out to regular video chat sessions and retreats.  I believe there is a great need for a pastors retreat center in the States.

What has been the response so far? I see your Twitter following on your pastor coaching account is growing rapidly.

The Twitter account has been growing because people are doing what they can to encourage and promote Of the Word Ministries. The response has been great in the encouragement I have received both from Pastors and lay people. I was interviewed on a podcast in October, which was really exciting.  

Click here for the Come Let Us Disciple podcast featuring an interview with Pastor Chad of Of the Word Ministries on: The Importance of Studying the Bible

I am starting to build relationships with pastors who understand what this ministry is all about.  As with anything, quality growth takes time. It’s encouraging to see God use social media for His Glory. I am willing to be patient as God leads.

Yes, we help out with issues a pastor faces and conflicting situations they encounter. But instead of providing simple solutions, (for example, steps to confront, or how to fix a power struggle), we use the coaching time to encourage the pastor to focus on where they are personally in the Word of God.  

With the average church size in the U.S.A. around 75, we understand the financial difficulty pastors face. Thus, our time is offered free of charge but donations to the ministry are welcome. If you are a pastor or church leader we are here to help you. Please message us on Twitter @oftheword or email us at

Mindy, you have been married the same amount of time as pastoring. So you were newlyweds when you began pastoring. Did you expect to embark on both of these huge endeavors at the same time?  

Yes, we were married in September of 1996 and Chad began pastoring in February of 1997.

Can you tell me a little about your background?

The Lord brought me to Himself through a single woman police officer, who got me off the street and took time to disciple me. She invested her life into me. We joke with her, as she is like my mother to this day, that since she only had one child we needed to give her extra grandchildren. I spent much of my life homeless with my parents and siblings, but that is another story. 🙂 Chad also had some family hurdles to overcome with his family as well, but again, another story for later.  

thumb_IMG_1526_1024You and your daughters, Gracie and Lizzie are volunteer firefighters. Can you share with us about that?

We have been firefighters for almost 2 years. Grace is 19 and Lizzie is 18.  We are volunteers with a local company. Chad served where we used to live as a chaplain for 5 years, but now does not have to time to add that with our new church and heading up Of the Word Ministries.

I am now a special  trench rescue technician.  I believe that I need to do the best I can to learn all I can in training.  But when that call comes and you get to a person’s house and step off that apparatus, the person does not care about your training or about the color of your frontice on your helmet, (which tells other firefighters how much training you’ve had). They only care that you are there to help them in one of the most stressful and emotional experiences of their life—you better find a way to get the job done.

Are you ever afraid?

Last Halloween a young girl climbed up in the engine when we were passing out candy. 98DFDBC6-A0E2-4EBB-B556-20F8B51108ECShe asked me if I was ever afraid; I didn’t answer. She asked again.  By the third time she asked, I knew I would have to answer. I told her that the firefighters I worked with were great men who knew what they were doing and had trained me to protect myself and others. I am never alone and have confidence in my fellow firefighters and their training. We operate as a team, everything else, any other issue, any worry or distraction is left behind when the engine door closes and we all work together.  I also leave it to Jesus, knowing He has all of us in His hands. It is miraculous to see the hand of God at work even in the dark and scary calls. Sometimes on a call, all I can say is “Jesus” and I know that is enough.

Is your husband ever afraid when you and your daughters leave to go fight a fire?

38 box fire GraceYes, being at home can be even harder. At least at the scene we know we are all okay. It is harder when you can’t be there and your loved ones are gone for hours.

Photos of Mindy, Gracie and Lizzie fighting a fire which resulted when a driver backed into a utility pole, destroying several cars. (They have the word, Hope, on their clothing.)

Here is a link to photos of another fire my daughter and I fought on Thanksgiving night. I am on the roof with another guy from my company. My daughter went inside to do overhaul.

Do you worry about your daughters fighting fires?38 box all girls

I know the firefighters we serve with will look out for them both, and I know that Jesus has them in His hands. Yes, I worry sometimes, but God gently reminds me of His love for them and His purpose for them in Him. I am settled in the idea that they are covered in Him

It is neat to see all the miracles the Lord has done in our lives. We are grateful for His love and that we can experience His moving through our lives.:) Just the last two years and being able to be there for my girls’ first time into a live fire, or first fatal call, or vehicle accident and be able to talk with them about God at work in some of the dark things, has been exciting to see. Not only has it been exciting to watch them grow in their relationship with the Lord, but grow as women and in the service of others.

2017-07-06 09.43.24We told God we would always serve Him and raise our kids connected to His love for them and others, but asked Him to protect them and their hearts…We raised them to live an authentic life in Jesus Christ—in a loving relationship with Him. We raised them in the love and service of others inside and out of the church. We did not submit them to the church’s rules and expectations, but we do have rules for them based on an understanding of who Jesus is and what He wants for our lives…We have experienced our kids knowing the Lord not because of rules and laws, but with all their hearts.  

family picture adoption camp

When you got married did you think you would become foster parents or adopt? What inspired you?

No, we talked about having a large family, but not about adoption or foster care. At first I could not become pregnant, and we started seeking God in foster care/and adoption.

Are there some unique challenges to fostering and adopting while pastoring?

There are times where the congregation does not understand the needs of some of our special kids and their circumstances. In those cases, we needed them to trust us and allow us to do what was best for our kids even if they did not understand. And we did do what our kids needed in submission to God’s heart for each one of our kids.

Do you have any insights, or encouragements, or information or counsel you’d like to share about fostering and adopting children?

I was given the advice that you should adjust to the fact that you will always be the “second” parents and be able to do what your child needed even in that position. Although that is hard, it is a place we found great peace in before the Lord.  Another friend suggested that we should not look for the “stars,” or great miraculous changes in some of the people and kids we have served. I was sure that if we loved them enough, they would want that change and their lives would be changed, as mine had been when someone invested in me.  But, as my friend noted, sometimes we can be happy just knowing that we have helped them to be more stable than they might have been.

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV)

How did you come to adopt the children you adopted both from the U.S. A. and overseas? What made you decide to go the route you did?

When we had more children than the law would allow to foster children, and we knew we had been called to continue, we sought the Lord on what that meant and he led us overseas and into special needs adoptions.

We prayed about each adoption and agency. We had some poor experiences, but trusted the Lord to lead us to the agency and child that was our son/daughter. He was always faithful to lead us.

Mindy, How are you able to do so much? How have you and your husband raised all your kids and fostered so many—and all while pastoring? That has to be supernatural.

I don’t know, other than the Lord has blessed the work which He has given us. When I get to the end of my life and look back at it, I want to be able to say that every moment belonged to the Lord and was used to accomplish His work for others. I want Him to have all of me and make the most of my faulty existence. 🙂

**It would bless these pastors and pastor’s wives, myself, and others, if you would please share these articles.

We welcome your comments below.

Of The Word Ministries—A Ministry for Pastors

Looking beyond the problems a pastor faces

to show how personal devotion to God’s Word is always their foundation.

Pastoral coaching with a primary focus on encouraging pastors in their personal spiritual development. Offered free of charge. Donations to the ministry gratefully accepted.

If you are a pastor or church leader we are here to help you.

Please message us on Twitter @oftheword

Or email us at

You can also follow Pastor Chad’s blog here:

Link to Pastor Chad and Mindy’s church here: New Hope Church, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

*Next week  features a Christmas post. The final two articles in  my 2018 series of interviews with pastors and pastors wives will post after Christmas.* 

Prior Posts in 2018 Series of Interviews with Pastors & Pastor’s Wives:

Part 9: Setting the Record Straight: A Day in the Life of a Pastor

Part 8: The Preacher and the Writer

Part 7: A Preacher’s Kid Speaks

Part 6: And the Preacher Rolled up His Sleeves

Part 5: Pastor, Pastor’s Wife~ What Breaks Your Heart, What Keeps You Going?

Part 4: From Dope Dealer to Hope Dealer

Part 3: Life as a Pastor’s Wife

Part 2: The Call: Why Did you Become a Pastor?

Part 1: If My People 

You can read part 1 of my 2018 series of interviews with pastors & pastor’s wives, If My People, HERE

You can read part 1 of my 2016 series, Shepherd Princes & Sarah’s Daughters HERE and my 2017 series, Dragon Slayer, Disciple Maker, HERE.



Find simple truths in the complex parts of Scripture on Rachel Schmoyer’s blog, Read the Hard Parts

You can also read more of her writings on parenting, books, and party ideas over at

Pastor Obermeyer is doing his part to help combat Biblical illiteracy and ignorance. You can check out his brand new Sonshine Institute, an online learning center bringing you great content on a variety of subjects. 

Proceeds from the Sonshine Institute help continue to serve needs in Bible teaching, counseling, sexual abuse, and other outreaches.

You can also check our Pastor Obermeyer’s blog here:

Pray for Your Pastor Text Campaign

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Heroes_Among_UsText the word PASTOR to 74574 to sign up to receive either daily or weekly prayer reminders with suggestions for praying for your pastor and a matching scripture reference via text message.

Check out Energize Ministries

A ministry dedicated to motivating and educating churches to care for and encourage their pastors and families. Energize ministries offers encouraging articles and podcasts for ministers and their families, resources to equip and opportunities for getaways so they can be refreshed.


***It would bless these pastors and pastor’s wives, myself, and others, if you would please share these articles.

CLICK HERE to sign up for the TATTOO IT ON YOUR HEART NEWSLETTER to receive my blog posts, occasional notifications of special events, offers, and free downloads by email.

Fire Fighting Photos by Seth Lasco Photography

Hands and Heart Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Wildfire Photo by Maxim Tajer on Unsplash

***It would bless these pastors and pastor’s wives, myself, and others, if you would please share these articles.

We welcome your questions and comments below. 🙂

© 2018  Rachael M Colby                          Tattoo It On Your Heart

Author: Rachael M. Colby

Born and raised in Jamaica, award-winning writer Rachael M. Colby resides in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Wife, mom, beach bum, artist, work in progress, avid Tweeter—#HealthyFaithChat leader, Rachael writes to glorify God, encourage believers, and reach the lost. She connects culture’s questions with Christianity’s answers, inspires faith, and motivates through articles, devotions, poetry, and interviews. She has a heart for racial reconciliation and to uplift those who serve in tough places. Her work has appeared on Southern Ohio Christian Voice, Inkspirations Online, the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Blog, in the compilation books Creative Writing Journal: Faith Inspired Writing Prompts & Hope-Filled Poetry, The Courage to Write: 62 devotions to Encourage your Writing Journey, and Defining Moments: Memorable and Inspiring Stories from Outstanding Leaders, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Well That Was Funny, and in the Oak Ridger newspaper. She runs on copious amounts of coffee and chocolate and a whole lot of "Help me, Jesus." Her WIPS include a compilation of her family’s and others’ stories of their work as civil rights activists (adult and children’s books), and a devotional for writers. You can connect with Rachael on her website,—a place for seekers, followers, and writers, and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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