From 1976 to 1979 Pastor Jann Butler traveled as an itinerate minister for Harvest Time Ministries founded by Reverend Dave Roberson. Many crusades and seminars were held in Newport and other cities in Oregon during this time. In early 1980 Pastor Jann was directed by the Lord to move his family to Tulsa, Oklahoma to attend Rhema Bible Training Center. This school is devoted to training people in the Word of God and developing future church leaders. Both he and his wife Sue, attended classes and graduated in 1980. After graduation, they returned to Tacoma, WA and waited for direction from the Lord. They began holding a bible study in their home which grew steadily. Eventually the Friday night study had to move to a community center to accommodate the large number of attendees.
Finally, the Lord directed Pastor Jann and Sue to establish a church in Tacoma and By His Word Christian Center was established. Our first service was on February 6, 1983. We placed an advertisement in the local paper announcing our opening service and over 100 adults and 50 children showed up that first day! As a young church we had lots of excitement and challenges. We grew as a church family and learned how to put into practice what we were being taught from the pulpit. It seemed that the church attendance grew weekly, creating a shortage of space and resources.
A Church on the Move
We tried for several years to negotiate an agreement to purchase the facility we were meeting in. When we could not come to a workable contract we began to look at other commercial properties. In March of 1988 we had to move to another commercial facility. It was an old furniture store and we did the best we could to make it work for our church services. After several months it became clear how inadequate the facility was so we moved again. This time we were able to rent Mount Tahoma High School for our Sunday services. This allowed us to save money and earnestly search for property to accommodate our needs. In 1989 we were able to purchase 8.2 acres and began the process of securing funding to build our own church. An architect was hired and building plans were drawn up.
Here to Stay
The construction of our new building was completed in May 1990. Our 860 seat sanctuary, office and classroom facility is still meeting our needs to this day. An 8,000 sq ft youth facility with a sanctuary, additional classrooms and a commercial kitchen has also been added to our campus. This facility is multipurpose in nature and is used for seminars, fellowships and youth activities.
With bright hope and anticipation for the future, we continue to press forward with vision and purpose. The core mission and focus of By His Word Christian Center has been, and will continue to be: “Reaching to Train, Stabilize and Mature the Body of Christ”. For this purpose, the Lord has established our church in Tacoma. We look forward to meeting you, and hope to see you soon!