Joe Martin

Senior Pastor

I am from Longview, Washington, but I did most of my growing up around Mt. Saint Helens (Loowit). My family had a cabin at Spirit Lake.  I was the youngest of ten, so the whole Martin tribe spent all summer and most weekends hiking, fishing, and picking huckleberries in the wilderness. I always seemed to sense God in wild places. Though I had gone to church as a child, I did not find much of Christ there.

When I was ten, my mother died, and my life was thrown into chaos. One of the remaining solid things in my life was my connection to God’s creation. I was seeking God but had yet to realize He was seeking me. When I wasn’t hiking or mountain climbing, I found joy and healing in music. I started playing banjo at fifteen.

Soon I was swept into the choices made by people seeking to treat their own pain and confusion. I finished high school and went to work in the mills, pulling green chain, and whatever job was available. One day I ran into an old friend at a gas station, and he shared the simple message of Jesus with me. Over time, I came to believe in Jesus as the Lord and the solution to all that is broken in this world. One night in West Kelso, I surrendered to Jesus, and I have been under His management ever since. I was baptized in Columbia Heights Baptist Church and soon felt called to preach. I made the second-best decision of my life in 1979 when I convinced Sue to marry me. {Jesus was the first}

In 1980, we were invited to fill in at TFBC and have been here ever since.  It has been a great journey learning to love God together as a growing church.   We have raised eight children of our own and have loved and been loved by many adopted Christian aunts, uncles, moms, and kids. I was able to finish college while at Toledo. I was also privileged to attend graduate school, though I have no advanced degree.   God is still growing me as I seek him in His word and see Him in the wonders he has made.  “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made…” –Romans 1:20

I still find joy and healing in music and seek to love God and others more as my journey continues.