Senior Pastors Barry & Kathy Gott

pastor-family

Barry & Kathy Gott have served as the Pastors of the Lighthouse for more than fifteen years. They have been instrumental in leading the church through incredible seasons of growth and a very extensive relocation project. Barry, Kathy and their five children, Rusty and Kristen Gott, Ryan and Julie Gott, Hannah, Isaiah, and Josiah were all born and raised in the Barnsdall area. Barry & Kathy also have 7 grandchildren.

The following is a piece of their story.

Kathy and I were radically converted in 1993, redeemed from a life of sin and rebellion against God. God saved our lives and restored our marriage and began training us for the work He had planned. In 1996, we were called into the pastorate at the Lighthouse Family Worship Center.

You need to know that I had just surrendered to the call to preach in December of the preceding year. My mom and dad raised me in church so I was filled with the Word of God for my entire childhood, but at the age of eighteen like so many young people, I thought I knew best and rebelled against my parents and God.

The next thirteen years were no doubt the most difficult and dangerous years of my life. I got married, had two children and lived for me and me alone, when God saved me at the age of thirty-one He saved my life from thirteen years of destructive behavior. However, the foundation of my childhood was still intact so He had something to work with when He called me to preach after only three years of serving Him, but the reality was some of the rebellion was still in there.

When God first called me to preach I ran as hard as I could for twelve months. I had argument after argument with God about the whole deal. There were literally dozens of excuses I gave Him over that twelve month period.

It wasn’t until a Christmas program at the church in Wynona that I finally surrendered to the call. We were in the middle of another one of those arguments, during the play mind you. I was playing the Apostle John and my part was declaring those powerful words of Jesus found in Revelation 1:17,18.

When we had rehearsed my part in the program my wife was never present so I didn’t know what her part was. God and I were going back and forth, He was asking me to preach His gospel; I was telling Him all the reasons there were so many others that could do a better job. Finally I said, God, I can’t preach, my wife can’t sing and every preacher I know has a wife that sings beautifully.

I had heard Kathy sing and she was terrible. I knew God wanted me to preach, but I felt so unworthy, there were so many reasons in my mind, but I thought I had finally won the argument with my last statement. I had no idea what my wife’s part was in the program, but at that precise moment, not two minutes later, not two seconds later my wife stepped up to the microphone and began to sing. There was such an anointing on her and it was unlike anything I had ever heard come out of her mouth; it was beautiful.

She literally brought the house down, people were standing, shouting, clapping and God touched everyone in that sanctuary, God had me. I bowed my head, tears streaming down my face and surrendered to the call, almost. I said OK God I will preach, but I won’t pastor because I hate people. When I tell people that they try to get me to say something else, but that is exactly what I told God. I told you there was still some rebellion in there.

From that night on I began to preach every opportunity God gave me and so when Brother Alvin from the House of Fellowship called I fell into God’s trap. Never tell God you will never do anything. He is God and if you think you can outsmart Him you are crazy.

We cruised along for a month and no one showed up to pastor, I still believed I was going to be an evangelist, but I was getting into the routine of taking care of the congregation of House of Fellowship. After that first month, the church voted me in as their pastor and as I had said earlier that was over fifteen years ago.

You’ve got to understand I had no formal training. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go to Bible School, I did, but every time I prayed about it these same words came to me, “The Holy Spirit will teach you all things.” Over and over I went to the LORD because I felt like I needed to be educated if I was going to pastor a church and every time those same words filled my spirit, “The Holy Spirit will teach you all things.”

Then I didn’t know God was saving me from myself. You cannot rebel against God and authority without severe consequences. God’s Word is true, you will reap what you sow. I know God is able to do anything, He is sovereign, He and He alone is God, but when we rebel against Him as I did, you open yourself up to all kinds of problems the greatest of which in my opinion is pride.

When God saved me, I was full of pride and He didn’t just remove it from me, it was rooted deep within my being and He worked it out. He knows why He does everything, it would have probably killed me if He had just ripped it from me, and my entire world view was wrapped up in my pride. If God had allowed me to go to Bible College while all that pride was intact it would have ruined me. I would have relied on my education instead of God.

When I look back at those early years of my ministry I am surprised anyone survived it, including me. I would lie before the LORD for hours at a times crying out to Him to move in our congregation and He did, but because of my pride I made many mistakes and not everyone was able to endure those mistakes.

Any pastor is going to make mistakes in his first pastorate there is no escaping that, but most pastors don’t get the opportunity to learn from their mistakes in that first church. Most pastors are forced to learn from their mistakes and use those lessons in the next church, not so at House of Fellowship. The congregation stuck with me, through every mistake, every misstep, like I said not everyone made it, lots of folks left and many rightfully so, I just didn’t do many things right, but some stuck with me and now I am a better pastor because of it.

Don’t get me wrong I haven’t arrived, God still has plenty of work to do, but look at what He has done through a guy that first wouldn’t surrender at all, then he wouldn’t surrender to preach, then he wouldn’t surrender to pastor. A guy that was full of pride, had all kinds of issues and yet God has taken that guy along with the precious people of House of Fellowship and done amazing things.

In 2000, we moved our location and became the Lighthouse Family Worship Center. For me to say we built the building, send missionaries around the world, send out countless preaching CD’s and DVD’s, internet, and TV ministry without opposition would be a lie. We have experienced high high’s and very low low’s, but through it all God has been absolutely faithful. And I don’t blame anyone that has gotten offended or upset or opposed us, that is the beauty of it all.

My kids get on me because they say I am too hard on myself when I confess the pride and lack of love in the earlier years of my ministry, but I know it’s the truth, and I am not ashamed of it. I have repented, I have asked all the people I know I’ve offended to forgive me, and I truly love people today. When I was arguing with God when He called me to preach I did not lie, I did not love people, but today I can honestly say, because of all the devils we had to fight, because of everything I have been through I love everybody.

Please don’t think I’m saying I am perfect, there is still plenty of work the LORD needs to do to me, but thank You Jesus, I am not the same man I was, even six months ago. The Lighthouse Congregation has patiently endured and allowed God to groom us into two people that pour ourselves into the lives of people every day through sharing the Word, sharing our hearts, and sharing the never ending love of Jesus.