Jim Tompkins, MudPreacher


elmer-towns

Dr Elmer Towns

I have not always been a mudpreacher, but God has always viewed me as a hunk of mud. For many years I tried to make something of this mud, but it was to be God’s working and not mine. God most definitely and dramatically called me to preach after I had made a decision to give everything to him. It was at a Teen Impact series of meetings at High Street Baptist Church in Springfield MO. Elmer Towns was the speaker. I don’t remember what he was speaking on, but I felt led to go forward and surrender my life to God-everything I owned, every desire, every dream, every hope for my future. I was already accepted at Washburn University. I had excelled at debate and though Law would be a good career. I had already made a couple trips there to see which fraternity I was going to pledge. I was amazed at all the fun and girls and booze the frat guys enjoyed. Yet God met me at a critical juncture of my life. I wanted to be a lawyer and make lots of money. I loved debate, I loved politics. God had other plans. Once I prayed before Him at the altar, God started to work. Friday, July 30th, 1971, I was back at work at Tompkins Industries, where I was counting parts for my dad’s young business. Suddenly waves of emotion poured all over me and all I could do was cry. I cried and cried and cried for a couple hours at least. Fortunately only one other person was there at that time (it was a real small business back then). I was overwhelmed with the presence of God. I was overwhelmed with His great love for me. I was left with a burden like nothing else I had ever experienced. God wanted me to be a preacher.

baptist-bible-collegeI got an application to Baptist Bible College in Springfield, MO, and in less than a month I was driving to Springfield.

I loved Baptist Bible College, the people, the strong Biblical teaching, the professors, but I hated the rules. My quest was to see how I could get around the rules. God wanted me to get more serious about serving HIM. January 10, 1972, I was in a head-on collision with a tractor-trailer rig that completely demolished my ’71 Plymouth Duster. The trooper who dragged me from the wreckage said he could not believe I was alive. In fact I had no cuts, no broken bones. I was not wearing a seat belt. I had no airbag. The car had even been hit by an elderly couple in the rear. It had been crunched in over 3 feet front and rear. The only thing that came across my heart was that God had rescued me. I looked on the ground and found a metal “P” broken off from Plymouth. I have kept it as a reminder that I am to “Press” toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

plymouth-p

The “P” from my Duster

Don Porter with the MudPreacher

Don Porter with the MudPreacher

February 9, 1972, the Holy Spirit revealed that there was still more ‘high places’ in my heart that I had to surrender to His control. April 23, 1972 I was baptized at High Street Baptist. April 27, 1972 I stayed up all night (1am – 6am) in prayer with my friend, Don Porter. I trusted God to fill me with His Holy Spirit and to anoint me with power to preach the Gospel. April 28-30, 1972 I was privileged to preach a youth revival at Overland Park Baptist Temple. Don was there as my prayer warrior. We had some BBC students providing the special music. It was a truly remarkable time. 18 people accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. Eight people were baptized. 250 people made decisions or dedication to the Lord. I was so pumped.

I had a problem with pride, with rules. I was very involved with the college. I was even elected the Senior Class (3 year college) President for the 73-74 school year. This was very uncommon because a married guy hot on the trail of a Pastorate after graduation usually got the coveted spot. I remember the loser telling me the whole (BBFI) world would be mine once I won the election. It did go to my head. I thought I was somebody. I wanted to be up there with Dr. Dowell and GB Vick.

I was God’s. But my strong pride and flesh was enmity with God. God had to show me the truth of 2 Cor 4:7-10.

we-are-hunks-of-mud-in-gods-handsBut we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed– always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (NKJV)

He wanted me to know intimately that I was just a hunk of mud. I was a disposable clay jar. The power of the Gospel is about Him, about His Son. He can only be seen when we are cracked and broken. The flesh gets in the way. I ran afoul of the Baptist Bible College Discipline committee and was put on probation. Then I messed up, so I had to resign before a special meeting of the entire Senior Class. This was November of 1973. It was the most humbling thing I had done in my short life. I remember walking back to our dorm room and going into a prayer closet we had made because we only had three guys in a room for four. I cried and cried for hours. There were no waves of love and joy flowing upon me this time. I was broken and needed God to make sense out of the pieces. It was there that I really touched God. It was in that prayer closet that I learned what true surrender is. It was there that I learned what true worship is.

Lydia Langston

Lydia Langston

I had learned to thank God in everything. And now, I did. I gave Him control when I thanked Him. Surrender is just that-giving God, Almighty God, control over our life. God had given me a sweet girlfriend (Lydia Langston) who stuck by me, and at the Thanksgiving break I told her I loved her. I was old school. You don’t tell a gal you love her unless you intend to marry her. We indeed became engaged and married May 18, 1974. (Oh yeah, I got us both kicked out of BBC because we broke social restriction. I took some soup into her dorm room because she was having a bad time after her wisdom teeth were pulled. Her room-mates turned me in.)Wedding of Jim and Lydia Tompkins

Graduating rom BBC

Graduating with a Masters from Calvary Bible College

I went back to BBC in the fall of 1974. I was no longer somebody. I was a nobody, married, with a baby on the way. We had all the normal struggles of real life. I graduated 3rd & 4th year in May 0f 1975 (with the help of some summer courses). Because of my ‘fall’ I could not get a job that a family of three could live on, so when a job with Tompkins Industries opened up, we moved to Kansas City.

The calling to preach was ever on my mind. My Dad insisted I get my Masters Degree, so I did from Calvary Bible College Seminary in1979. Butt we kept having babies.  Six kids before I was 30. Life was hard, pressures were great, yet my faithfulness to God and church never waivered. Yet God had much pruning to do still. A family fight in 1988 resulted in my being fired as President of Tompkins Industries. The next three years were a true test of my faith in God’s ability to provide.  Yet God was at work. He led me to start an asphalt paving business in 1991. He used that to get our family back together. He blessed the business in extraordinary ways. I just needed a job so I could pay bills, but God gave us so much more.

Then my Dad died suddenly in 1995 at the age of 63. Mom followed him a year later.

Mom and Dad Tompkins

Jim and Clare Tompkins

God spoke to me about focusing on eternity once again. I had started to enjoy the trappings of success. I remembered His calling upon my life, and put my name in at Midwestern Baptist Seminary to provide Preaching at Edgerton Baptist Churchpulpit supply. In 1997 I preached several times at a little rural church in Edgerton Ks. They liked me, but had already hired a Midwestern grad. He quit after a year, and that Monday they called me and asked if I would consider being a bi-vocational pastor. I said yes! Evidently working 80 hours a week running a paving business wasn’t enough. I soon discovered that there is no such thing as a part time preacher. To do it right requires a full-time commitment. In spite of problems which I encountered (welcome to the Pastorate) I loved being a Pastor. I loved the ministry of the word.

Tompkins Paving IncGod led me to put my paving business up for sale in January 2005. I had tried once before in 1999 but nothing happened. This time God was at work. Two buyers appeared in a matter of weeks. We chose one and closed in Septemeber of 2005.

pleasant-prairie-baptist-church

GraceLife Community Church

In September 2004 God shook a growing rural church in Belton, MO. He wanted them to offer sincere worship, and so removed much of the flesh.  They had been without a Pastor for almost two years when they decided to take a chance on me. I am so grateful they did. I hated to leave Edgerton Baptist, but we had prepared them well for the transition to a new Pastor. They are still going on and we still have friends there. GraceLife Community Church is where God had planned to use me way back when. I was not ready to be the man that God required way back in Bible College. I am finally the man He can use because I am a totally broken vessel, fit for the Master’s use.  For the one instance of brokenness was only the beginning. I could write pages on God’s grace and His dealings with me and my flesh. Not that I have arrived, but I keep pressing for that Mark!

All I know is that God’s name is jealous. Anyone who gives their life to Him will soon learn that God is never satisfied with second best, or partial ownership. HE REQUIRES ALL OF YOU! You can resist and try to do it your way, or you can submit to His leading and those things which will bring brokenness into your life. Only when we realize we are just a hunk of mud will God ever be able to use us.

The Six Tompkins Kids and some of our grandkids

Our Six Children, Four Spouses, and Some Grandchildren

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Comments
  1. Jeff Louis says:

    Great chronology! Mysterious is the word that pops into my mind. I grew up in Overland Park…never knew the Lord then, but did get to know Him. I’ve lost the closeness with Him that I once shared (God doesn’t move, so it had to be me) and am working to rectify the gap in baby steps. Your history shows me that when the Lord calls, listen. And, He will call.

  2. Red Stephens says:

    I love your sincerity. Honesty before our God is so vitally important.
    Wow, what a calling – I am reading this very late, (1:56 am) here over the pond. But I was spurred on to read more.
    I will over the next few months follow your ministry.
    God Bless.

    Red Stephens

    • mudpreacher says:

      Thank you. Your kindness is appreciated. Blessings from God as He continues to give you His peace.

  3. Cheryl Bollman Swartz says:

    I read your post on Rahab which led me to read this chronology. Thank you for your transparency. I knew who you were those many years ago at BBC and your story reminds me of my own, at least part of the time. It helped me realize that even though there have been many “wasted years”, the Lord has left me here for a reason, to still live for Him and serve Him.

  4. Pete Crawford says:

    From a Methodist Preacher Brother. Enjoyed readint this testimony and always moved by the amazing love of our God who calls even those like me who caused Him such pain before.
    I was challenged by the Mud metaphor, and had to ask myself the question, would I preach from down in the mud if the Lord took away my pulpit? The founder of my church, John Wesley did. I hope I would follow the leading of the Mud Preachers. With u 4 Jesus.

  5. Don Porter says:

    Dear Jim,

    Is God not unbelievably wonderful and gracious.
    I am so glad that we have remained friends through all these years. He is faithful to finish the work that He began in us. We are blessed to be used by our Savior and God but we are far more fortunate to be adopted into His eternal family.
    May our later years be our most blessed simply because we know Him better and trust him more fully.
    I love you my friend and I miss your companionship.

    Don

    • Jim Tompkins says:

      Don, you have had quite an influence on my life. You are my cherished friend. Thank you for your continued friendship. I love you.

  6. Roxie says:

    what a beautiful testimony & witness you are for Him . I enjoyed reading this very much . Thank You

  7. Esther Abigail says:

    Came across this blog as I was googling out information on Nigeria.

    Really enjoy the selective photos, pictures, stories, short point summary of what you shared on one page. Very educational and engaing.

    Thank you Muddy Jim T :)))! You are a blessing!
    Sent a facebook request to you awhile ago.

  8. Rick Simoni says:

    Your testimony gives glory to God and that is the way it should be. We are just a big ZERO and we need to remain in the dust. God is faithful to perfect us in love and yet we don’t really know what that means when we are young in the Lord. And we will either be perfected or be destroyed. It is exactly what you are talking about regarding obtaining our inheritance. We have a walk to walk and we are be overcomers and obey His commandments and they are not grievous. They are only grievous when our flesh does not want to die. He will not share our hearts with other lovers. Thank you again for demonstrating that you are being perfected in His love and that HE is doing it.

    Come to Jesus Christ with all your heart and do not be joined to anything in your heart but Him.

  9. DEAR DAD( JIM TOMPKINS)
    GOOD DAY AND GOD BLESS YOU AND HOPE ALL IS WELL.YOU HAVE BEING A FATHER TO ME FOR MANY YEARS AGO ,YOUR CONSOLE WHEN I WAS TROUBLE ,YOUR TOOK A STAND WITH ME WHEN I WAS CONFUSE WITH MY MARRIAGE PROBLEM,YOU SHOW ME KINDNESS AND HELP WHEN I WAS IN FANACIAL DOWN.YOU PLAY ALOT OF GOOD ROLES IN MY LIFE ,AND I WILL NEVER FORGOT YOUR KIND GESTURE,I HOPE THE REALTIONSHIP CAN CONTINUE ,I LOVE YOU DAD,THE FAMILY AND THE MINISTRY.I HOPE AND PRAY TO HEAR FROM YOU AGAIN DAD.HAVE A BLESS FATHER MONTH AS YOU CELEBRATE WITH YOUR SPIRITUAL CHILDREN,GRANDCHILDREN ,SON AND DAUGTHERS OF THE HOME.BYE FOR KNOW.

  10. Ken says:

    You wrote above, “I had learned to thank God in everything.” Thanking God took some time for me to some what understand. I knew scripture said to be “in everything give thanks,” yet when my wife died, how do I give thanks in that? But while dealing with the pain, the work the Lord was doing in me and others was awesome. His comforted me all the way through it. His Word spoke to me in ways like it never did before. And also my wifes brother got saved through it.

    • mudpreacher says:

      Blessings of peace that surpass your human understanding. To abide in Christ means to defy the gravity of our natural self and trust in the supernatural abilities of Christ. He does not guarantee that our lives will work out to our benefit. In fact He told John the Baptist “Blessed are those who are not offended in me”. We can be yielded vessels of His will or we can be stiff-necked and stubborn in defense of our rights and expectations. Only yielded hearts discover the Joy of the Holy Spirit in the midst of trials and tribulations. May you continue to yield your heart to His will and discover His exceeding joy!

  11. Kathy Blanchard says:

    Would love to use your Christian graphics for bulletin covers but they look like a puzzle when I copy them to the bulletin. Can you tell me how to use your pictures so that they come out clearly? I wanted to use Jesus separating the sheep from the goats. Thank you very much. Your website looks very intersting!

  12. camary1996 says:

    I love this statement you made about yourself…”. I am finally the man He can use because I am a totally broken vessel, fit for the Master’s use”

    That does it for me! We should all have that humble attitude!…I myself have been on the potters wheel so much…I’m dizzy!

    God bless you!

    • mudpreacher says:

      Thank you for your encouragement. We gain strength from Him when we are weak. We gain strength from each other as we realize we are joined together in Him! Keep on gaining Him!

  13. Bob Bresette says:

    Pastor Jim, today is the first time that I have ever read your testimony. It is powerfully inspiring and it answers a lot of questions for me. I had never taken the time to find out what you meant by “mud preacher” and now I know. After attending Pleasant Prairie for a couple of years, I became restless in my pursuit of where I wanted to be in many areas and departed. I have attended another church since then have been faithful but unfullfilled. The last month or so I have felt a tugging in my heart to come back to Pleasant Prairie and have somewhat resisted, but now I feel that I will. Your testimony is very encouraging, as I think I may have witnessed some of that growth you experienced. I am very happy that you have reached the high ground that you had been seeking and I will pray that you will be able to stay because as we both know, the devil doesn’t want you to make it. But with the total surrender you have acquired the weapons of faith to successfully repel him. I would sincerely like for some of that to rub off on me. God Bless you in every way.

    • mudpreacher says:

      I was thrilled to see you this morning!
      Thank you for your prayers. I am still pressing toward the mark.
      I’d love to get together with you soon and talk journey with you.

  14. Kimmy says:

    The Lord directed my steps to this treasure chest and what a delight! I’m very grateful for your muddiness and want to thank you for sharing these in depth teachings that so delight my heart. The pearls packed on these pages are breathe taking and I simply wanted to say thank you as I hear “well done, good and faithful servant”
    Shalom from one muddy buddy to another lol

  15. 29bu says:

    Betty and Ron from Abilene, TX here. Love your profile – interesting life you have been blessed with. Your site is quite fresh and alive in Christ and full of truth and hope. Just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed paying your site a visit. I would like to link to your site if that would be alright with you. My husband has just released his first book “The 7th Day Humbling of Mankind” (related to December 21,m 2012) When you have time, we’d love for you to visit our site at http://www.acceptingtruth2012.com . Currently working on our blog.

    God Bless You!
    B Harmon

    • mudpreacher says:

      Yes, go ahead and link. I had already looked at your site and commended you on a great start. I will check it out some more. Keep on lifting up Christ. The Throne of God is had at work fulfilling Psalm 2 among the nations. We need to pray that world leaders “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

  16. Dennis Smith says:

    Found your sight and testimony by “accident” today. I relate to your testimony almost to the “t”. The BBFI was what I grew up in. I am now a pastor in Yakima Washington trying to live the Word of God through the Spirit instead of trying to be a “big” pastor in some fellowship of other guys trying to be the big pastor! Thanks for the humble and open testimony! May God bless and if you are ever in Washington State, make a trip to the east side and find an open home in Yakima at Trinity Family Fellowship!!!

    • mudpreacher says:

      Thank you for the encouragement, and invitation. I still love the BBFI, at least in their evangelistic zeal. I am convinced that with a drenching of Grace and an emphasis on disciple making, they could have done great things. I learned that pastors put their emphasis on the 4 “B’s”-building, budget, bodies and baptisms. I emphasize the 4 “D’s” dying, deliverance, discipling and delight. Keep on looking His way.

  17. James says:

    Whom the devil fights most is the greater threat!

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