I received the news that my dear friend and mentor, Orval Butcher, passed away yesterday. I am both happy and sad this morning. Happy, that he is now experiencing the ultimate glory. Sad, that he is gone now from this earth.
Dr. Butcher was one of the most influential people in my life. He modeled a life of joyous love for God and others and stood as my example for maintaining a vibrant faith in the midst of multiple, demanding responsibilities.
Pastor Butcher was an early leader in the Youth for Christ movement, working closely with Billy Graham and the founding pastor of Skyline Chuch in San Diego. (Followed by John Maxwell and Jim Garlow.)
He was an outstanding pastor, leading the thriving congregation to become the largest Wesleyan church in the world.
In the early years, he took his stand for reaching out to young people, which cost him a few conservative, critical members who didn't get it. It was definitely the right decision. Hiring the first youth pastor in the Wesleyan Church (Jimmy Johnson), Skyline Church literally reached thousands of young people over the years. The music program at Skyline was tremendous as well, serving as an inspiration and model for countless congregations around the world.
Upon retirement, he invested his life in serving pastors, missionaries and ministerial students. Even during his later days, in failing health, he wrote many letters of blessing and encouragement. He will be deeply missed.
Dr. Butcher was known for his deep love for God and people, as well as his outstanding tenor voice.
"Everything we do in church falls under one of two verbs: Come or Go."
"Keep your soul moist."
"Virtually all the people who attend Skyline are brand new believers (or trying to be believers) so they always hear just three things from me: 1) God loves you. 2) Jesus died for you. 3) I care about you
"I can hire people to come in as Prophecy Experts, Revival Specialitsts, Bible Scholars, and Family Issue Authorities. . . but I can never hire anyone to love my people. That's my job."