Embedded deep in the Amish life and culture were two individuals who lived and exemplified a strong work ethic, commitment to community, home and the simplicity of life. Married with five children, homeowners with a successful business, a change occurred in their lives that required them to trust the Lord at a level they never knew before; to have faith that God could and would restore to them what they lost.
Meet Steve Stoltzfus, Senior Pastor of Marksboro Community Church, Blairstown NJ.
Steve and his wife Naomi came from a deeply rooted Amish family in PA, and were committed to living off the land, hard work, strong community and limited formal education. Married at a young age, they started to raise their family and support their Amish Community.
Then a neighbor received Christ as his Savior, began to witness to Steve and Naomi, and at a tent revival meeting hosted by Times Square Church, Steve and his entire family accepted the Lord. After accepting Christ, Steve wanted to remain within the Amish community to bring a witness for Christ and the power of salvation. His evangelism was met with stiff resistance from the community that resulted in Steve and his family having to leave and sell their home, cut all family ties, and look for a new home and job.
This led Steve to reestablish himself, which lead to a ministry opportunity in Baltimore, MD that soon transitioned to the Church of God in Christ in Harlem, NY. With their home now in the Poconos PA and operating a very successful outdoor shed company, Steve began to hear from the Lord a new direction to plant a church. At first with his limited education, Steve was hesitant to think he would be successful, but with God Steve realized he already was successful and was simply moving to the next level.
A buddy of David Dallenbach from the New Jersey Network office suggested he visited Steve’s shed store, as David was in the market for a new shed. After some general conversation, David and Steve struck up a friendship that resulted in Steve being asked to assume control and restart the existing AG work in Blairstown, NJ.
Steve and Naomi accepted this call and became lead Pastors at Marksboro Community Church, which today is at full capacity. Steve and Naomi are looking to plant a second church campus in Hope NJ.
In looking back, Steve was reminded of the scripture in Zechariah 4:10 Do not despise these small beginnings (NLT). Steve faithfully answered the call of salvation that took him and his family from a community and life that was beloved to them, and replaced it with a new family and community in Christ. Today as the Stoltzfus family is prospering in ministry, God has indeed restored all they sacrificed.