Our Director

….So there I was with what my pastor referred to as a ‘divine itch’ — that relentless feeling that God had more for me to do in regard to building his kingdom. I strongly desired for there to be something more significant than the motions I’d been going through since my childhood. Not that I wasn’t a believer in Jesus Christ. In fact he was becoming more real to me each day but in regards to my purpose here on earth, well, there had to be more. This ‘itch’ was not something that I could just wish away, nor did I really want to. …But maybe I should start back at the beginning.

I was born to loving parents who were very active in church planting ministry for the first five years of my life and, about the time I turned six my father became involved in Christian school administration up until I was sixteen years of age. I had accepted Christ as my savior at a young age and when I was about 13 years old, I began to understand how much He wanted to be Lord of every part of my life. Unfortunately, I had yet to understand what it meant to have a real walk with God.

When I was 16, our family (only three out of the seven kids were still at home now) moved back up to Spooner, Wisconsin and it was there that we made the biggest strides in our relationships with Jesus Christ. My father was no longer in ‘the ministry’ and suddenly found time to understand what God wanted of him on a daily basis without having go to keep up with the legalistic expectations of those Christian who now spent quality time with his God. I was able to see and experience this change in his life before he died of Lymphoma when I was 21 years old.

I married my wife, Tina at age 20 and within a few years we had Timothy Jr. and Talitha, two of our three children that God has blessed us with. Our son Titus came a few years later. It was when I was about 22 that I took another step in understanding that God is not a god of rules and appearaneces, but he is a positive God! This was a lesson that he continued to teach me during the next decade.

I had been born with some very serious heart problems and had undergone two heart surgeries before I was thirteen. Sparing you many of the details that I don’t even completely understand myself, I ended up having a defibrillator implanted in me when I was 24 years old. About eight years ago I ended up at mayo clinic in Rochester, MN with a very serious case of infection. I was there for about five weeks and it was around this time that ‘the itch’ began. I knew there had to be more that God had for me to do here on earth. I came away from that experience with a new motto for my life: “I’d rather lose my life, than to lose my purpose for living.”

About this time my pastor and I began to have breakfast together on a weekly basis and started to pray about this ‘divine itch’ and what ministry God might have for me in my local church. It did not take long for God to clearly show me that I had a gift in the area of teaching and, along with that discoverly, I was given opportunites to teach both adult and youth Sunday school classes.

A little over three years ago my two oldest children began taking piano lessons and doing quite well. Their piano teacher, noticing how quickly they picked up on new things asked them if they had heard about ‘Bible Quizzing’ and invited them to join a local team. They immediately took a liking to it and my wife and I were happy to see the positive, Christian influence that the adults and other kids involved with Bible Quizzing had on our children.

The first year that we were involved with Bible Quizzing my wife and I mostly just attended the tournaments held every other Saturday. By the second year however, I could hold back no longer and I asked how I could help. Starting as a table official, I soon fould I could use my ‘gift of gab’ as a Quizmaster- asking the questions and judging the answer to be correct or incorrect.

At one of those Saturday quiz meets, a member of Northwoods Campus Outreach, which is the umbrella organization for Bible Quizzing in Northwest Wisconsin, mentioned that for the last 13 years they had been without a director and were now at a crossroads. It was nearing the time where, becauses of the slow but steady decline in the number of quizzers, they would have to consider dissolving the program. What he felt was needed was a full-time director who could put the time necessary into this minstry and return it to a place where it could impact many more kids for Christ. This person asked me to consider and pray about the possibility of my taking on the role of NCO director. I must admit, it didn’t take up much of my thoughts or prayers at first.

Then it happened! I started to ‘hang out’ with some of the quizzers and decided to go to Bible Quzzing Nationals with my daughter and her quizzing team. It was held in Pittsburgh, PA and so it involved a long trip in a bus with a whole lot of fun youth. It was on this trip, as I was sitting in the back of the bus with these great teenagers, that God began ‘scratching’ my divine itch. Before the trip was over, another long-time adult member of Northwoods Campus Outreach asked if I would consider and pray about becoming director. Iwas now ready to think and pray seriously about it.

After praying about it through this past summer, Iwas convinced that this was where God wanted me. The NCO board accepted me in September, with the expectaion that I would work to return NCO to its original mission of evangelizing and discipling the youth of northwest Wisconsin through not only Bible Quizzing, but other outreaches such as youth rallies, Bible Studies, lock-ins, concerts and most importantly, personal relationships with these kids.

So that is the story of how God has worked in my life to bring my family and I to this new opportunity. We would appreciate your prayers, financial support and any other way that God many want you to be a part of what He is doing at NCO. A letter of encouragement would also be greatly appreciated and while you’re at it…I’d love to hear the story about your ‘divine itch’.

Go with God!

Tim Stilwell