TBM: Brother, Please describe your conversion to Christianity.
Stetler: Well I began attending church nine months before I was born, but the first real influence toward conversion happened when I was six years old. I sought the Lord as a child and in that service felt a strong desire to be involved in missions. As a high school sophomore, God really dealt with the issues in my life that were keeping me from living a consistent Christian life. That was when I fully committed to serving the Lord through His strength.
TBM: What defining event lead you to ministry?
Stetler: My parents taught us as children that the highest privilege in life was a life of ministry to the Lord Jesus Christ. But, because of my struggle with learning and dyslexia there was a hesitation to fully embrace the possibility of ministry. My Mother said, “Steve, you can do what God calls you to do!” The highest honor of my life is to do God’s will through ministry.
TBM: What has motivated you to ministry?
Stetler: I have had a passion for missions since I was six years old. It was that service that God used to so deeply mark me as a child. Robert Brock, while praying with me, lifted my head and said, “Don’t you think God wants one Stetler to be a missionary?” Along with that influence I have intentionally prayed for missionaries right through the years of waiting to be actively involved in mission ministry.
TBM: What brought you to the Bible Methodist family?
Stetler: I began working under my brother Daniel while he pastored the Bible Methodist Church in Middletown/Franklin, Ohio.
TBM: What ministry have you been involved with?
Stetler: My years with Daniel opened the door to thirty years of ministry to youth. I pastored them, worked in the school classroom and administration, and spoke to youth in camps and youth camps.
TBM: What inspired you through the years?
Stetler: Well many times I felt I couldn’t continue in ministry because of my learning situation and because I was trying to duplicate the ministry of my brothers. I remember one Sunday evening at Middletown. Daniel was out of town and I tried to preach, but left the church very discouraged and told, my wife Beth, “I will never preach again, that was my last time.”
Monday morning I came down the stairs of our house on Josephine, in Cincinnati and noticed a postmarked letter in our box. I was surprised because it was too early for the mail to be delivered, but there it was, an envelope with my name on it and it was sent by Mabel Riley, one of the saints at the Middletown/Franklin church. As I opened the envelope what a surprise to see she had written out my sermon outline from the night before and wrote what a great blessing it had been to her. She had mailed the letter either Sunday evening or early Monday morning, it should not have been in my mailbox, but God evidently knew I needed to receive that encouragement. Events like that have strengthened me.
TBM: Tell us about your involvement with Bible Methodist Missions.
Stetler: Beth and I had wondered when God would open the door for us to be involved in missions. I had an application from one organization on my desk for over three years, but sensed the hesitation of the Lord. Often I would ask the Lord how I would know. His answer was, “You will know.”
While at IHC, walking through the booths, John Parker, the Bible Methodist Missions Director asked if I would go on a work team trip to Mexico. I responded that I would, John then sort of casually asked if I would be interested in working with Bible Methodist Missions. My response was, “When you are ready I am ready.” John was quite surprised, but that evening Beth and I met with John in his room at the Convention and before the evening was over we had committed to work as missionaries. As the Lord said, “You will know.”
TBM: What would you like to tell the Bible Methodist family?
Stetler: I feel that God has given the Bible Methodist family an incredible opportunity and critical place to fulfill in His kingdom. I feel we are on the threshold of being fully used by God and trust we will make our selves available to Him without any reserve.