The Fishers of Men Ministry has been serving the brotherhood since 1977! The Fishers of Men Ministry began with the mission of taking the gospel to "all creation" (Mark 16:16). This would be accomplished by training brethren (Ephesians 4:11-13) in local churches to share Jesus with their friends, neighbors and relatives. Our full-time instructors work under the oversight of the Coldwater Church of Christ, Coldwater, MS. They conduct the FOM Course, free of charge, to inviting churches and students. This is possible because of the generosity of the Coldwater church, plus the financial support of many sister congregations and individuals across the United States and Canada.
Over 20,000 baptized since 1977. More than 100 instructors have conducted about 1100 FOM courses in 40 states with over 26,000 students from 1500 congregations. These 26,000 plus students conducted over 90,000 Bible studies with about 28,000 souls; baptizing approximately 20,000 into Christ. During this time, students of the FOM course have been involved in establishing more than a dozen new congregations. The Fishers of Men course has also been conducted in Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, England, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Tanzania, ST. Vincent, Ukraine, West Indies, and more to come. The Search for Truth lessons have been translated from English into Chinese, Indonesian, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, and Telegu. We are also blessed with active part-time instructors throughout the United States.
Presently, the Fishers of Men Ministry is served by three Full-Time Instructors
- Benny Stephens (1985), Indianapolis, IN
- Barry Hatcher (2005) Wetumka, AL
- Tim Wilkes II (2015, Director 2019)
Previous Full-Time Instructors
- Chuck Thyne (1977-1988) After ten years, Chuck Thyne resigned in 1988. In January of 1992, Chuck was diagnosed with cancer. He had chemotherapy treatments, however, he went home with the Lord in July of 1992).
- Bob Burke (1986-1992). Bob resigned due to health problems at the beginning of 1992.
- Darrell O’Rourke (Director 1977-1998, Director Emeritus 1998-2014). Though suffering with cancer, Darrell continued teaching FOM until his death in 2014.
- Ron Maynard (1997-2017). Parkinson’s disease forced Ron to resign in early 2017.
- Timothy Wilkes Sr (1994-2019, Director 1998-2019). Though suffering with various health problems, Timothy Sr continued to teach FOM and direct the ministry until his death in 2019.
In 1977, the Fishers of Men Ministry began with two full-time instructors, Darrell O'Rourke and Chuck Thyne. In the beginning, this ministry was under the oversight of the Naperville Church of Christ, Naperville, IL. In April of 2005 the oversight of the ministry was moved to the Cordova Church of Christ, Cordova, Tennessee. In August of 2017, the elders of the Coldwater Church of Christ, Coldwater, MS began overseeing the Fishers of Men ministry. The original mission of the FOM Ministry was to serve other churches, especially mission churches, in the Upper Midwest. It has expanded throughout the United States and even the world. It is still the desire of the Coldwater church and bishops to seek and save the lost by helping to train soul winners in their home congregations.
- 1978-1983: Chuck & Darrell conducted 116 FOM Courses with 114 churches in six states. During this time, we trained 1,244 students who in turn conducted over 6,300 studies with lost souls resulting in about 1,000 souls obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ. In 1984, part-time instructors began conducting the FOM Course to fulfill the many requests. The following year, in 1985, Benny Stephens of Indianapolis, IN, became our third full-time instructor. In 1986, we added Bob Burke of Inkster, MI, to our full-time staff.
- 1984-1988: Benny, Bob, Chuck, Darrell and 49 part-time instructors conducted 205 FOM Courses with 193 churches in 27 states. During these years, 2,043 students conducted about 10,300 studies and approximately 2,000 obeyed the gospel.
- 1989-1991: Benny, Bob, Darrell and 67 part-time instructors conducted 146 FOM Courses with 1992 students in 138 churches. These students conducted about 10,000 studies with about 2,000 responses to the Lord's invitation.
- In 1989, Don Calhoun of Euless, Texas, began the "Ambassadors for Christ Ministry" under the oversight of Airport Freeway Church. This ministry is an outgrowth of the Fishers of Men Ministry. We praise the Lord for all His blessings and may He receive all the glory and honor.
- 1992-1993: Benny, Darrell and 39 part-time instructors have conducted 94 FOM Courses with 92 churches in 22 states. During this time, we have trained 1,277 students who in turn have conducted about 6,400 studies with about 2,500 lost souls. We would estimate that 1,000 have committed their lives to Jesus in baptism. In 1994, Timothy Wilkes Sr. became a full-time FOM instructor. In 1997, Ron Maynard was added to the full-time staff.
- 1994-1997: Benny, Darrell, Ron, Tim Sr. and 60 part-time instructors conducted 151 FOM Courses with over 3100 students in 27 states. These 3100+ students in completing their homework conducted about 15,600 studies with approximately 5000 students. We would estimate that these studies resulted in about 2500 baptisms. In 1998, Tim Sr. became Director of FOM with Darrell serving as Director Emeritus.
- 1998-2004: Benny, Darrell, Ron, Tim Sr. and part-time instructors conducted numerous Fishers of Men courses with thousands of students both in the United States and internationally. Thousands of Bible studies were conducted, and many souls were won for the Lord. In 2005, Barry Hatcher became a full-time instructor.
- 2005-2014: Barry, Benny, Darrell (passed away in 2014), Ron, Tim Sr. and part time instructors again conducted numerous FOM classes throughout the United States and internationally. Thousands were trained to be more effective soul winners. Thousands of Bible studies were conducted, and many souls obeyed the Gospel. In 2015, Tim Wilkes II became a full-time FOM instructor.
- 2015-2019: Barry, Benny, Ron (resigned in 2017), Tim Sr. (passed away in 2019), Tim II, and part-time instructors continued teaching the Fishers of Men evangelism training course numerous times. Many Christians were trained to conduct personal Bible studies, and many souls were added to the church through baptism. In 2019, Tim II became director of the Fishers of Men ministry.