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Entries in North Carolina (2)

Monday
Mar182013

These Rhodes Lead to North Carolina

CBC-Colorado graduates, Tommy and Kleist Rhodes, the Directors of CBC's new extension school in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina. (Click to enlarge)Four decades ago, Kleist Wideman, a young television reporter fresh out of college, was introduced to Tommy Rhodes when she interviewed him after his re-election to the North Carolina General Assembly. Their first meeting made lasting impressions on both of them, and the young couple married a year-and-half later. In Kleist's words about their meeting, "It was Tommy's first encounter with a, wild-eyed-tongue-talking-on-fire-for-Jesus girl."

As the two got to know each other, Tommy, who was well educated and mild-mannered, had his Southern Baptist theology rocked by Kleist's spirit-filled ways. His introduction to the Holy Spirit was counter to what he was taught during his upbringing, but he eventually realized he wanted all that God had provided for him, and he embraced the doctrinal differences. Looking back now, The entrance to CBC-Raleigh/Durham's facilities at 2414 Wycliff Rd in Raleigh. (Click to enlarge)as a spirit-filled believer, Tommy wonders how he ever got along without the Holy Ghost.

Over the years, Tommy and Kleist led a happy, stable life. They raised their family and both enjoyed successful careers; Tommy as the Executive Vice President at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh and Kleist worked in real estate. In 2003, the two were introduced to Andrew's ministry when a friend gave Kleist Andrew's teaching, You've Already Got It. The teaching CD came at a time when Kleist was questioning God, asking if He had more for her life. Her fire for the Lord had been reduced to a smolder over the years, and she felt as though something was missing. You've Already Got It was an answer to her prayers and reignited her passion for Jesus. The Rhodes family...Tommy and Kleist stand with their son Brandon, who also attended CBC-Colorado.
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Kleist shared the teaching with Tommy, and the two began to listen to Andrew regularly. It was through their listening that they became aware of Andrew's school in Colorado. As they neared retirement the two were looking to shake things up a bit, and enrollment at Charis Bible College in Colorado Springs seemed like just the thing.

Five years passed, and after attending several Gospel Truth Seminars and a Summer Family Bible Conference, the two began to give serious consideration to attending CBC. In 2008, after Tommy retired from his position with the community college in Raleigh, the Rhodes attended another Summer Family Bible Conference in the Springs. This was the trip that sealed the deal—they decided to apply. Within six weeks the Rhodes had relocated to Colorado. Tommy said, Tommy, Kleist and Brandon during their graduation ceremony in 2010.
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"Kleist and I had discussed attending Charis Bible College on many occasions, but she was more excited about it than I was at that point in my life. But when we got to the conference and I heard the instructors teach, I too became excited about the possibility of attending. I knew that Andrew had put together a world class of Bible teachers, and I did not want to miss the opportunity to learn as much as I could from them. Before we left the conference, we had both filled out applications. I knew that God wanted me to complete the training and then to open an extension school."

Going to CBC and sitting under the Word for three years solidified Kleist's understanding and made her resolute in living the rest of her life being led by the Holy Spirit. "I have known, since I The Rhodes stand with guest speakers, Mickey and Suzan Cartagena (back row center) and a classroom full of first-year students. (Click to enlarge)was a small child, that God had called me to walk with Him and preach His Word; it just took me a long journey to finally settle into His plan," said Kleist. "Tommy and I both love to teach and have had many Bible Studies in our home over the years, but we both felt that a school would be the best way to prepare people to follow after God’s calling. I was blessed with a great foundation in the Word during my last year in college (East Carolina University) as a member of my house church, and I had always wanted to share that foundational training with others. Charis has given me the way to complete this desire that has been in my heart for years. We left North Carolina with the purpose of returning and starting a school for our community. It has been wonderful to see this long time dream come to fruition," Kleist shared.The Rhodes. (Click to enlarge)

The Rhodes graduated from CBC in 2010, and completed their third-year internship in 2011. Today they are the Directors of CBC's Raleigh/Durham extension school in North Carolina. They currently have more than twenty students enrolled and several more interested in attending. The Rhodes have already had to expand the size of their classrooms and they are exploring the addition of more space to accommodate the continued interest.

The Rhodes' long-term goals for the school include expanding the CBC curriculum to meet the needs of a culturally diverse area. They have plans in motion to facilitate a Spanish-speaking program in the fall of 2013, and they also want to reach the area's large Asian population. Raleigh was a destination for the Montagnard people at the end of the Vietnam War, and it is desire of one of the Rhodes' current students, Jet Rmah, to minister to that specific demographic.

CBC-Raleigh Durham's newly renovated offices. (Click to enlarge)"To see the excitement in our students every day as they hear the balance of the grace and faith message, and to see how the Word is changing them, has truly been one of the greatest blessings of my life. I have told everyone who has inquired but just can’t seem to decide, to just fill out the application and see what God will do. That is what happened to us; once we made that initial step of faith, God did everything we needed to move us forward into His plan for our lives," said Kleist with that wild-eyed-on-fire-for-Jesus look in her eye.

For more information about Tommy and Kleist and their vision for CBC visit CBC-Raleigh/Durham online.

Monday
Aug202012

Kent Coates: Finding Fulfillment in the Call

CBC graduates and pastors, Kent and Sheila Coates. (Click to enlarge)Ever since Kent Coates was a young boy, he has known that the Lord called him to preach the Word. As he grew however, Kent chose to pursue other avenues—any other avenue really. "All I could see from my experience with preachers was that they were broke and would be fired when the people in the church disagreed with them. I also did not want to go to Africa and live in a mud hut. So I ran from God and just asked Him to bless what I wanted to do." Many years and many careers later, Kent chose to embrace the Lord's call on his life. He and his wife of 40 years, Sheila, now lead Life Giving Church International in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina.

"I responded to His call on my life because I knew that nothing else would be fulfilling for me. My other careers had provided an income, but not fulfillment," said Kent.

Kent has worn many hats prior to embracing the Lord's call; among them service in the US Army Military Police and the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation. (Click to enlarge)Making the choice to follow the Lord's call led Kent away from a carpet and upholstery cleaning business that he and Sheila owned and operated. After 19 years in the business, Kent took the step of faith toward full-time ministry by enrolling in a two year minister's training school. In 2005, just a short time after completing the program, Kent found Andrew's Gospel Truth program on television. Taken by Andrew's teaching of God's unconditional love and the balance of grace and faith, Kent realized he needed to be immersed in the grace message before going into ministry.

In May of 2005, Kent and Sheila agreed they would attend CBC, and they began sharing the news that they were moving to Colorado Springs in the fall. At the time, the Coates had a business to sell and several other concerns to address before they could attend. "In one week in September, all those concerns were answered. Our business had a buyer, our son, who was living with us at the time, was relocated, and a piece of property we owned sold without ever listing it," Kent said.In Kent's circle of friends he was famous for saying it would be a cold day in hell before he got married. The day the Coates celebrated their nuptials, Georgia had its worst snowstorm in fifty years! (Click to enlarge)

In November of the Coates' second year in Colorado, Kent had a conversation with his daughter Christy's husband, Bryan. During their talk, they discussed Christy and Bryan's struggle to find a church in Raleigh/Durham which taught the gospel of grace. Immediately, as Kent and Bryan spoke, a verse from the book of Matthew rose up in Kent's spirit, “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd,” (Matthew 9:36). It was then that Kent knew he and Sheila were to plant a church in his old hometown.

After graduation the Coates moved back to North Carolina and planted Life Giving Church International in the heart of the Research Triangle area. The couple has also established a network of grace ministries and Bible study leaders in the region called the GraceLife Network. Kent said it was formed to encourage those who wanted to experience the gospel, but felt like they were all alone. "We provide information on what churches, ministries, and Bible studies Andrew and Jamie stand with the Coates family ("Son-in-grace" Bryan and daughter Christy on the left and Kent II on the right) after their CBC graduation. (Click to enlarge)are available in the area which would assist them in their belief in the finished work of Christ," said Kent. The network hosts two conferences a year, which feature international ministers, and they also distribute an internet magazine promoting the availability of groups in the area who teach the grace of God. The new Charis Bible College extension school opening in Raleigh/Durham this fall was among the groups recently mentioned in the magazine.

Similar to Lord's word to Andrew, the Lord impressed upon Kent that 2 Timothy 2:2 would be the model for the Coates' ministry to impact the world. "Jesus poured His life into training 12 men, and it changed the world. We can disciple those who are sent to us and duplicate our efforts through them," said Kent. Kent and Sheila serving in the AWM Phone Center. (Click to enlarge)The Coates are using various ways to disciple people; the church on Sundays, weekly in home Bible studies, GraceLife Network functions, and soon through unity with CBC-Raleigh/Durham.

"I see our church as an internship partner with CBC, where those who are called to ministry can get on-the-job-training and be equipped to perform what they have learned in the school. I have a great desire to assemble teams of trained people for the purpose of planting grace based churches here in the United States and around the world. Everywhere they go, disciples will disciple disciples. I believe this is how the Good News will be duplicated around the world, said Kent enthusiastically.Celebration service at Life Giving Church International. (Click to enlarge)

Unfulfilled in his pursuits prior to ministry, Kent is now satisfied in life. This is not to say that the fulfillment Kent had been seeking his whole life was made complete simply because he became a preacher. Fulfillment came after receiving true revelation of the Gospel of grace. "I realized that my relationship with God had been based on untrue assumptions. I didn’t think He was pleased with me when I was not in ministry. Since soaking in His unconditional love and grace, I found that He was pleased with me, no matter what profession I chose. His love and blessings were not conditional upon my obedience," said Kent.

After Kent could see God the Father through how Jesus revealed Him in the Gospels, the guilt of disobedience to the call on his life was gone. "I then had a relationship with Him without any conditions— only love. It was then that my life was fulfilled," Kent shared.

Kent knows that the Lord is living through him, working to affect the lives of those around him in a positive way. "That is living life in abundance to me—imparting to people that they are unconditionally loved by Him," said Kent.

For more information about Life Giving Church International, the GraceLife Network or the Coates' online publication, visit the Coates' website.