By Julie Cole
id Koop and Tim Houck are ministry partners, but it took a while for their paths to come together.
The two men make up Truth Matters Ministries whose mission is to awaken the lives of students through the truth of Jesus Christ. Before they met and decided to work together, however, they were doing youth ministry in two different provinces.
Koop graduated from Briercrest's college in 1997 and then youth pastored in Canmore, Alta. Houck graduated from Briercrest's seminary in 2004 and then moved to Winnipeg, Man. where he was director of youth ministry at Grant Memorial Church for four years.
Although ministry to youth is the lifeblood of both men, they each felt a calling that caused them to step aside for a time from traditional youth ministry in the church.
While Koop was pastoring in Canmore a friend called him and suggested that he go into full-time speaking ministry. At first Koop said no. "For a year (my friend) would call about every couple of months," he said. When the friend's father offered to help fund Koop's speaking ministry, he started to look at the option more seriously.
"The church elders prayed about it for a month along with me and my wife," Koop recalled. "We felt like God might be opening up a door." The financial boost Koop received helped to start Truth Matters Ministries and gave him the freedom to speak all over the country to students and youth workers. Koop now divides his time between speaking and working part-time in a church in Lethbridge, AB.
Houck felt a passion to find a way to reach out to rural churches and provide them with ministry resources.
"My wife is from a small rural church in North Dakota," he said. "(When we visited her church) I saw there were people in place who were filling the ministry roles, but they needed to be more networked, connected and prayed over. I just wanted to give them everything that larger churches have."
In 2008, the staff at Grant Memorial Church released Houck to follow his passion to help resource smaller churches. Houck then joined Truth Matters as a coach for youth ministers after a Briercrest professor introduced him to Sid Koop.
The two men still live in separate provinces — Koop in Alta. and Houck in Man. Koop's focus is speaking to students and Houck provides coaching. "(I want youth pastors) to know that there's someone they can connect with if they need some help," Houck said. "I have four half-time pastors that I spend a couple of hours with every month — face to face — we sit down and walk through ministry stuff."
Truth Matters has a special desire to be a resource for small churches. "We have (both) come from small churches," Koop said. "Most of the churches in our country are small churches run on the backs of volunteers. Anything we can do to help those churches function well, we're excited about."