History of Bible Related Ministries
• How it All Began…
Bible Related Ministries began with the ministry of Rev. Charles Svoboda, an organizer of Bible Churches in the 1950s and 60s. Chuck gained much of his experience preaching and working in churches he had planted in Illinois, Michigan and Iowa during this time period.
Then in the late 1960s, while Rev. Svoboda was teaching at Grand Rapids School of the Bible, John Miles, then president of the school called him into his office one day. Rev. Svoboda, assistant to the president, was presented with an unusual request. A local church in Michigan was experiencing internal problems, and requesting help from the school. “Would you go and see if you can help them?” Miles requested. “You have had a lot of background in working with churches.”
Chuck went, prayed and worked with the church. The internal problems were reconciled, people got right with the Lord and with each other. Other churches soon heard what had happened with this congregation, and this started a chain-reaction. Rev. Svoboda began answering local Michigan calls for help while continuing teaching at the school.
As Rev. Svoboda would return home from each call, he would relate to his wife Eleanor how God had blessed, opening many doors of opportunity in the process. Chuck seemed to really enjoy these experiences and their positive results. One day Eleanor said to him, “Why don’t you start a ministry doing only this: reconciling churches with problems? You seem to enjoy working with churches, and you are so good at it!”
This was the humble beginning of Bible Related Ministries, at the kitchen table of the Svoboda home. Several individuals pledged their monthly support as a “faith venture,” and Rev. Svoboda and his wife officially began their new ministry. In 1975 BRM registered as a not-for-profit tax exempt corporation. BRM business is presently conducted by a board of seven men for accountability purposes, as well as to fulfill the requirements of the state guidelines.
In the 1970s Ron Depung, a young man who was one of Rev. Svoboda’s GRSB students was sent out as the very first BRM Associate. Other associates have been chosen over the years, to work in specific areas such as Michigan, Upper Michigan and Wisconsin, Indiana, Central Illinois, and Northern Illinois. These men assist the Director in answering calls from troubled churches, and are ready to go at any given time.
In the 1970s the Svobodas moved to Illinois, where office space eventually was located in downtown Downers Grove, along the Burlington train tracks. Christian friends donated time and money to decorate and furnish the upstairs office space, which would serve BRM for the next twenty-six years. Glenn and Carol Retzlaff (now retired) then joined the office team as assistant and secretary respectively.
In 2005 the building was to be torn down in favor of village expansion. Eviction was given and BRM then moved to Countryside, Illinois, a location at ground level and centrally favored for all BRM staff. Though having to change phone numbers, BRM was able to keep the same Post Office mailing number for continuity of operation. Also at BRM disposal in the same building is access to a conference room to be used for board meetings and “neutral ground” arbitration meetings with church groups.
In February of 2005 Rev. David Bauer officially answered the call to assume the position of Director of Bible Related Ministries. David was formerly pastor of Summit Bible Church for eighteen years, and has grown up in a pastor’s home. He has served as northern Illinois Associate for thirteen years, and been trained personally by Rev. Svoboda.
Files in the BRM office tell part of the story:
• Hundreds of churches God has kept open through the humble efforts of BRM over the years.
• Over forty pastors BRM has been instrumental in placing into church pulpits.
• Thousands of phone calls for help, with BRM present to offer assistance.
• Over sixty pieces of helpful literature churches and pastors can use to make their job lighter.
• A monthly newsletter with spiritual insight as well as humor, recipes and household hints.
• Over six hundred regular prayer warriors and supporters of Bible Related Ministries as a faith ministry.
We praise God for the miracle of His grace through the years, and look forward to being a part of His program until the return of our Lord! Titus 2:11-13