Analogies that compare Scripture with everyday life are the foundation of many sermons.
The Rev. Waylon Ingle used one to explain what prompted him to start a new church in Iola: “When I was fishing for stripers on Lake Texoma, the guide said we needed more bait in the water. That’s what we want to do with the new church, provide another opportunity for worship.”
Bible Fellowship will occupy a building that has held several churches over the years, at 329 S. First St. Services beginning March 1 will be each Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
“Sermons will be Bible-based and what we’re looking for is a real worshipful experience,” said Ingle, 66, who began his 40th year in the pulpit in December. “I want sermons to be applicable to life issues, and not just entertainment. If someone wants entertainment, they can find that on TV.”
The church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Music will be traditional, with an occasional low-key contemporary song thrown in.
First-Sunday goal is a congregation of 50. On hand to help out with music will be Lloyd Houk, who donated a piano. Bible studies, each having about 10 participants on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, started earlier this year and will provide a congregate backbone for the church.
Iola has about 5,800 residents and on any given Sunday Ingle said he doubted if as many as 2,000 were in church, which leaves a large pool who for one reason or another aren’t attendees. He doesn’t have a specific demographic of whom he hopes the church will reach, but anticipates most will be in the age range of 40 to 60.
INGLE WILL wind up an eight-year stint as pastor of a church in Redfield, a town of about 150 in western Bourbon County, this Sunday.
Prior to that he spent 12 1/2 years at Iola’s First Baptist Church, and spent some time at Eudora, in a church now pastored by his nephew, Jeff Ingle.
He and wife Dianna returned to this area — they lived in Bronson where he also drove a school bus — just before taking the reins in Redfield and moved back to Iola 3 1/2 years ago after Ingle was involved in a motorcycle accident that left him severely injured.
He was riding south on U.S. 59 and just entering Princeton, south of Ottawa, when a northbound pickup truck turned in front of his motorcycle. Having ridden for 40 years, Ingle long before decided if ever confronted when such an incident he would lay down his bike. He did and ended up on the truck, with his helmeted head pinned against the truck’s running gear. “It took me two years to recover,” Ingle said — with left side bones in his shoulder, arm and ribs broken.
About a year ago “the Lord spoke to me,” he said. “He told me to start a church in Iola. I never had done that and really didn’t know how to go about it. I even thought maybe the Lord would forget about it — I hoped for a while He would — but the Lord doesn’t forget.”
Beginning a church isn’t as simple as preparing sermons and stepping into the pulpit. Ingle found a site, which he rented from Iolans Mike and Rhoda Schwindt at a favorable price. Then, came paperwork to establish the church’s credentials, with help from the Rev. Jeff Cokely, who a few years ago started Iola’s Fellowship Regional Church.
He had a bit of a constituency from Iolans who had driven to Redfield to worship. With some on the older side, driving nearly 30 miles one way was getting a little much, particularly when foul weather cropped up.
The twice-week Bible studies also fortified Ingle’s intentions.
Now, “we’ll see where it goes,” he said.
CURIOSITY led to a series of events that put Ingle into a pulpit in the mid-1970s.
He was building combines for John Deere in the Quad Cities area of Illinois, and wasn’t much on religion, wasn’t even sure what it meant when 6-year-old son Bob accepted the Lord at vacation Bible school and told his dad he was going to be baptized.
“I went to church to find out,” became intrigued and within a couple of years, in 1974, accepted salvation himself.
The experience was life-changing, so much so that on Dec. 7, 1975, he stepped to the front of a church in tiny Green Rock, Ill. — so tiny it later merged with Colona — to preach his first sermon. A few months later he enrolled in Bible college and later completed seminary.