Journal Oct 2005 - 20 YEAR MINISTRY ANNIVERSARY Minimize 

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VOL VI  NO. 10  OCTOBER 2005



Rev. Robert Kelley is the founder and president of Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. and pastors the St. Mark Baptist Church of Portland, Oregon




Passage Of Time

It is hard to believe twenty years have passed since the Lord led me to found Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc.  The pictures however, do tell the story!  From a brash, ambitious twenty-nine year old to a humbled, settled yet still resolute 49er who believes the Bible as it is written!  I thank my Lord for using me.

All of my children are now grown up and on their own.  My wife and I enjoy short visits from grandchildren and are planning to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in February of next year.  I am very blessed in so many ways but not the least of which is to have a Christian wife who has endured all she has with me and remains committed even as we vowed, "till death do us part!"


The Lord led me to found Open Door Communication Ministries (ODCM) in my Everman (a suburb of Fort Worth), Texas living room August 5, 1985.  Deacon (now Rev.) Ira Gay, Jr. a cousin and Ms. Bonnie Ramsey were fellow incorporators.  One more cousin, attorney Glenn O. Lewis, helped guide us through the legal process of incorporation.  The State of Texas officially recognized ODCM as a non-profit corporation on August 12, 1985.

The first formal board of directors meeting was held at the Berea Baptist Church in Forrest Hill, Texas another Fort Worth suburb on September 26th and 27th.  Rev. Hoise Bell was my pastor at the time and hosted us.  He also served as a member of the board of directors.  Other initial directors were deacon Rufus Gay (my great-grandfather now home with the Lord) and Rev. O.L. Hegmon.  Ms. Ramsey resigned shortly before the Annual Meeting.


A Christian Venture


My mother, Bettie Kelley, was the first person to share a gift to help support the launch of ODCM.  My original vision was for the Ministry to fill the major void in Christian programming targeting blacks on radio and television. We began publishing The Open Door monthly newsletter in January 1986 and sought to set out our case.

I just knew pastors and churches would see this vision and rally to support it.  Not!  I was very naïve then, of course, and it eventually cost the loss of our first home after I quit a good paying job to devote myself to the Ministry.  Humiliated and broken I cried out to the Lord and discovered that I was doing the right thing the wrong way!

A Prophetic Voice


Using media was the Lord´s will for me as it turns out, but not to produce "normal" soft sell Christian programming as I dreamed.  No, the Lord took me to Ezekiel 33:1-9 in the Bible and commanded that I should use media to call the churches among my people to repentance and revival.   The inability or lack of desire to see the vision of proclaiming the Gospel using media by so many black pastors and church members certainly was evidence of the need I remember thinking.  So, I was off and running again.

The Call To Renewal Radio Broadcast aired July 12, 1986 and the Revival ´93 Campaign was launched!  The seven-year revival campaign was intended to reach millions as it spread across the nation.  Instead, it was confined to the nation´s 8th largest media market, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, and challenged thousands!

By the time the campaign came to a close, the message of repentance had gone out via radio, audio tape, cable TV, newspaper, prophesy, personal appeals to individuals, newsletter, preaching, billboards, booklets, teaching and meetings.  All of this was done on a shoe string budget provided mostly by the gifts of individual contributors (the same as it is now).

Still, I was greatly disappointed that neither revival like those of history came to or significant support from black pastors and their churches.  I hoped our campaign would be welcomed, but just like the majority of the Old Testament prophets of God, I was dismissed, scoffed, even hissed at and rejected (Hosea 9:7).  I failed to take the Lord Jesus to heart when He taught, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house," (Matthew 13:57, NKJV).

The Lord´s Encouragement
I marvel at the men and women who have been directors of this Ministry.  They would not let me quit!

Board of Directors Roll Call
September 1985-2005

Rev. Ira Gay
Deacon Rufus Gay
Rev. O.L. Hegmon
Rev. Patrick Williams
Rev. N.L. Robinson
Mr. Gary Gordon
Mrs. Linda Beard
Mrs. Mary Kelley
Rev. Percy N. Manuel, Sr.
Rev. Hoise Bell
Mrs. Brenda Roberts
Rev. Richard Young
Dr. Annette Shelton
Rev. Ron Oliver
Rev. Lonnie Woods
Ms. Dottie Grogan
Mr. Mark Hubbell
Mr. Ken Boston

In Appreciation For Their Service

Especially dogged in their resistance to my attempts to quit were Rev.´s Ira Gay and Richard Young.  Their favorite line: "God called you." Rev. Young is with the Lord.  Also, Rev. Howard Caver of the World Missionary Baptist Church, Fort Worth was my pastor and an encourager to me from 1990-93 as was Rev. Percy N. Manuel, Sr. of Portland from 1997-2004 who is now with the Lord.

Board Meeting 1993

2005 at 20 year dinner

Even before the end of the Revival ´93 Campaign, our directors had approved a new Church Services Division of the Ministry in which I conducted primarily Sunday School growth seminars and developed our own Spiritual Gifts Workshop.  There were also radio specials such as Tribute To A Drum Major honoring Dr. M. L. King, Jr. the Lord used to keep me encouraged in the work.

The Final Campaign
Though the Revival ´93 Campaign was over, my desire for revival did (and will) not diminish because God had made the watchman´s heart of Ezekiel 33:1-9 my life calling.  Thus, when I laid out my proposed plans for our fiscal 1993-94 year, among them were the list of things I would be doing to call the churches to repentance.  This list included developing a segment of our former Call To Renewal Radio Broadcast into a full, one hour special. 

From Slavery To Victory: One Man´s Journey was genuinely my own personal search for understanding of black history from a biblical point of view.  After hearing the broadcast, the vice president of the Southern Baptist Radio & TV Commission´s Radio Division, Ed Malone, believed it should be heard nationally. He also urged me to submit the program for consideration of a prestigious Angel Award in which we were awarded one!

In the meantime, the Lord led me to propose The From Slavery To Victory Education Project to our board.  They approved and the next major work of the Ministry was set to launch on Juneteenth 1994.  The project targeting black Americans continues now and is expanding!

I will be forever grateful to Ed Malone and all of the radio producers at the Commission who helped me to have the greatest experience I have ever had producing a program for broadcast.  I also owe a debt of gratitude to David C. Cook Publishing who helped sponsor the national broadcast potentially carried by 500+ radio stations.  The From Slavery To Victory: One Man´s Journey Radio Special remains one of the high points of this Ministry´s 20 years of service to our Lord Jesus Christ.

20 Years Of Ministry

Lowest Point:

November 16, 1991 - Reception planned for 200 current and prospective contri- butors had only eight persons attend.

Highest Point:

November 16, 1996 - God called me to pastor the St. Mark Baptist Church where I continue to faithfully proclaim His call to repentance, salvation & renewal!


The Future
I am excited about the future of ODCM.  Triumphant Living Today, our programming unit that now produces my teaching ministry in the audio medium, will eventually expand to include visual. Our publishing unit will produce more of my written projects.  Finally, Strong Man Ministries debuts this Fall as the latest work of The From Slavery To Victory Education Project. 

I will continue serving the Lord faithfully through ODCM and the church I pastor until He calls me home or clearly says otherwise.  I answered yes to serve the Lord because I loved Him and remain grateful that He saved a wretch like me.  I have made some mistakes in judgment these past 20 years I regret.  However, I have learned from them.  If in the end the Lord will have used this Ministry to bring any number of souls to Himself, then my labor will not have been in vain.


©2005 Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc.



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