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.”
Rod Wiltrout serves with the California Southern Baptist Convention 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 age 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, Rod was pastor of First Baptist Church in Canyonville, OR where he served two years. For the 20 years prior to joining CSBC in 1995, Rod was in various churches as senior pastor or minister of education and worship. During that time, he earned a 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.
“I remember seminary as a long, hard road,” Rod said. “I’d commute every day 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 “wreck 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 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 he has helped through financial difficulties have increased finances to do the ministries 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 nearly 40. 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?
CSBC financial Webinars conducted by Rod address various financial topics of importance to CSBC churches. They are held on the first and third Thursdays of the month at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. To receive announcements of future seminars, e-mail Rod and ask that your name be added to the Webinar invitation database. Many can be viewed by clicking here.
Rod adds: “It’s been 20 years since I came to CSBC and it seems like yesterday. I will retire on December 31. It’s been an exciting ride and I have seen much change in the way we do ministry, both at CSBC and in our churches. Many of these changes have enhanced and expanded ministry effectiveness.
“Thank you for allowing me to serve you. Thank you for your friendship and prayers. Sandy and I will not ride off into the sunset. We will continue in ministry and I will be contacting you about this opportunity.
- The manual I am writing for next director who will take my place
- Finishing strong in my ministry at CSBC
- Developing our new ministry while finishing up our current ministry at CSBC
- Transitioning into the next phase of our lives
- 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