FRESNO – Rod Wiltrout clearly heard God say, “Serve Me like I asked you to, or do not serve Me at all!”
“It was not that I was out of church,” Rod says. “In fact, I was doing everything in the church except what He really wanted me to do. You can run from God in church, but God has longer legs!”
Rod Wiltrout serves with the California Southern Baptist Convention (CSBC) Missions Discipleship Group as Cooperative Program ministries and church finance specialist. His primary areas of responsibilities are promoting the Cooperative Program, encouraging sound biblical principles of stewardship and finance, and serving as the GuideStone Financial Resources representative to California congregations. He works with churches and individuals in five areas of financial stewardship: money management, insurance, investments, retirement, wills and trusts, and tax issues.
Born in Sheridan, WY and raised in Columbia Falls, MT Rod accepted Christ at the age of 12. The Wiltrout family moved to Ashland, OR when Rod was 14, and it was at that age that Rod felt God’s direct call to ministry. God reiterated that call forcefully in 1977 when Rod was 21: “Serve Me like I asked you to, or do not serve Me at all!”
“God made it pretty plain that He had plans for me,” Rod recalled. “Those plans did not involve doing other things. He called me to ministry, and that is where He wanted me.”
Within three months of accepting God’s call to ministry, Rod was serving as pastor of First Baptist Church in Canyonville, OR where he served for two years. For the 20 years prior to joining CSBC in 1995, Rod served various churches as senior pastor or minister of education and worship. During that time, he earned his bachelor’s degree through California State University, Stanislaus, in Turlock and his master’s degree with a focus in church growth and stewardship at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX.
“I remember seminary as a long, hard road,” Rod said. “I’d commute everyday to a church in Dallas where I served as minister of education and worship. I also worked full-time at a number of different jobs in addition to going to school full-time. Breathing was optional, and sleep was something that you remembered.
“I think that God has a great sense of humor,” Rod continued. “When I was young, next to the definition of the word spendthrift in the dictionary you would have found my picture. Then God introduced me to a 100 percent pure Scottish wife who has taught me well how to handle and manage money.”
God has gifted Rod with a warm sense of humor and the ability to talk easily with people about difficult subjects such as personal finance. Most people’s finances are in “wreak and ruin,” mainly because they lack an understanding of the principles of lifestyle stewardship.
“The focus of my ministry is teaching people to be lifestyle stewards.” Rod said. “The fact is that we do not own anything. We are sojourners. We pass through this life. God has given us talents and treasures to manage and grow for His Kingdom and for which we will have to give an account when we stand before Him.
“A lifestyle steward manages every facet of his or her life—marriage, children, time, finances, gifts and talents, church ministry, community ministry, and career,” Rod continued. “My passion is to help people come to that place in their lives where they understand that lifestyle stewardship is a work in process. Every time you think that you have it nailed down, God is going to show you a new area of your life that needs attention.”
Rod’s greatest joy is seeing a church that he has helped through financial difficulties have increased finances to do the ministries that God has called them to do. His heart is blessed when he takes a family that is “in the tank financially” and helps them become lifestyle stewards.
Rod and his wife, Sandy, have been married more than 38 years. He has three stepsons, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Rod’s message to California Southern Baptists:
“God has manifold blessings for the person who becomes a lifestyle steward. Those blessings will impact every facet of his or her life. It will bless the individual in this life and into eternity.”
Did you know?
The CSBC financial Webinars conducted by Rod address various financial topics of importance to CSBC churches.
Rod presented the first Webinar, “IRS Regulations that Affect Your Church,” on March 12, 2009, with 44 people participating. Those logging on were from from Redding to San Diego and from the coast to Sacramento and out into the desert. The seminar discussed the 11 IRS compliance issues. Other topics included I-9 requirements for hiring staff, racial nondiscrimination requirements for schools, and requirements for handling donations and discretionary funds.
The Webinars are held on the first and third Thursdays of a month at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. To receive announcements of future seminars, e-mail Rod Wiltrout and ask that your name be added to the Webinar invitation database. Many of these Webinars can be viewed by clicking here.
Pray that God will continue to use the Webinars to equip churches and individuals to handle God’s resources in a Christ honoring manner.
Pray that churches become compliant with IRS, CA and other laws that directly affect the church. Failure to do so can have dire consequences.
Pray that CSBC churches will realize how local congregations benefit and are blessed through their gifts to the Cooperative Program.
Pray that God will enlighten CSBC churches to the impact that they make on worldwide missions through the Cooperative Program.
Pray that churches become involved with the California SENT conferences in 2014 in Fresno March 7-8 and Sacramento November 8.
I praise God for the blessing of my wife, my children, my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren.
I praise God for the blessing of working with the great CSBC staff. We are really a family.
I am thankful that God has given us the technology to produce the Webinars.
I praise God that I have two awesome bosses and mentors in Dr. Fermín A. Whittaker and Mike McCullough. They are fabulous men who live out the Word in their lives.
Rod recommends the proverbs of Solomon for study and meditation:
Solomon’s Book of Proverbs is relevant to contemporary society. A Proverb a day will unlock the blessings of financial freedom and lifestyle stewardship.
CP Ministries & Church Finance Specialist
678 E. Shaw Avenue
Fresno, CA 93710-7704