The Kodiak Bible Chapel’s new pastor, Randy Cook, has been in Kodiak long enoughto know that he likes it.
“We’ve enjoyed the beauty of Kodiak,” Cook said. “Every morning we look out the window and smile.”
One of Cook’s favorite pastimes – when he has the time – is to go beachcombing and tide pooling with his three sons.
“Kodiak offers so much,” he beamed. He had a wonderful time “rummaging through bull kelp, finding crab exoskeletons, clumps of sponges,” he said.
Cook’s attention to scientific detail reveals his background in biology. He received a Bachelors degree in wildlife fisheries science at the University of West Virginia (Morgantown.)
Upon completion of his studies, he and his wife, Jennifer, moved back to their home state of Michigan where Randy took a job as managing biologist for a white-tailed deer center. He and his team were involved with a handling and breeding program dedicated to developing a superior line of white-tailed deer genetics.
Once the Cooks got involved in different ministries in the church they attended, “the Lord started dealing with my heart about going into full-time ministry,” Cook said.
He resigned from his job at the center and attended a Bible college in Indiana.
He received a master’s in education with an emphasis on pastoral theology.
Cook was hired at a Christian school where he taught math and science. His duties expanded to vice principal when the school’s administrator took on the role of academic dean in an affiliated Bible college.
“He was toggling back and forth between the school and college. The school needed an administrative and disciplinarian presence in his absence, so I was the campus ‘bad guy,’” Cook said, tongue-in-cheek.
After serving a year at the Christian school, Cook was called to be a pastor in a church in a rural farming community in northwest Indiana. It was the “epitome of a little country church” located six miles outside of town, Cook said.
The congregation, which numbered about 115, was very missionary-minded and evangelistic, Cook said.
It supported 35 missionaries and served the community by holding regular nursing home and prison ministry services and engaging in youth activity with other churches.
The Cooks were in Indiana 12 years. The Kodiak Bible Chapel is Cook’s second congregation.
His priorities fit into the mission of the Kodiak Bible Chapel, which has maintained an evangelical tradition since its founding.
Although the Bible Chapel is an affiliate church with the Christian Missionary Alliance, it is independent.
“We have this really diverse group of people here with different denominational backgrounds,” Cook said.
“One of the privileges of being an independent church is that you don’t have to be forced into anybody’s box. You have the liberty to serve the Lord under the dictates of your own conscience, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. You can forge your own identity as a congregation.
“This is a great church that has been doing good work in this community for many decades. My desire is to build on the great foundation that has been laid – to continue to help this church and its people fulfill their purpose and potential.”
Cook said the church adheres to a “two-fold purpose” that includes “bringing the lost to a saving knowledge and acceptance of Jesus Christ, and helping believers grow in grace and their knowledge of Him.”
There are various in-reach and outreach ministries (to those in and outside of the church) that Cook plans to build upon or initiate.
“We have some really neat in-reach ministries that I can’t take credit for. I’d like to diversify what we’re making available to the adults of the church.
“Outreach is something I’m thinking and praying about. Recently I came to an awareness that there are homeless people in this community. What are we going to do with that?”
Regarding outreach ministries, Cook said he encourages people to “sow the seed of the Gospel … as God provides opportunity.”
While Cook appreciates KAMP (Kodiak Area Mentor Program), Celebrate Recovery and other community outreach ministries that are, in one way or another, supported by the Kodiak Bible Chapel, he said there is “potential for some further development” in outreach.
Recently he agreed to hold services at the Providence care center on the fourth Sunday of each month.
“I’ll be heading that up, but may turn it over” to someone in the congregation, he said. “There is way too much going on for me to head up everything, but I’d like to have some involvement.
“I want some connection to and involvement with everything that is going on.”
As Cook settles into his demanding position as Kodiak Bible Chapel pastor, he is still trying to figure out what a “normal schedule” is going to look like – that is, if there is such a thing.
He said he appreciates a concern, voiced by one of the Bible Chapel elders, that he will be “discerning enough” to manage his time in such a way that would allow him to be available to his family. The elders “wanted to know that I wouldn’t try to do too much that would be a detriment to them.”
Cook said he and his family “love the sense of community” in Kodiak. “It’s incredible. The cooperation between churches is amazing. We’re blessed to be able to plug into a good community like this and contribute to what we perceive to be a very good thing.
“It’s hard to put into words just how much we really do like Kodiak,” Cook said. “Aptly put, it is the God-ordained fulfillment of the God-given desires of our hearts.”