Pastor James Koppang is the Executive Pastor at Revive Church in Kansas City, MO. He first visited the church in 1999 where he was able to find freedom from drug addiction and grief. After this experience, he felt God call him to the ministry.
After spending over 10 years growing a successful insurance agency and doing part-time ministry, he felt it was time to work full-time for Revive Church.
We were able to sit down with Pastor James where he shared more information on his religious journey and what inspired him to get started in the ministry.
Tell us about your religious journey.
I didn’t have a lot of church in my life. I had a little bit while growing up as a young boy, but I took a long break from the church during my teenage years. I was apart from the church and apart from God. Through that journey, I ran into things that caused a lot of darkness in my life.
When I turned 19 years old, I was at a really low point in my life. I had just lost a brother three years prior due to a drug overdose. I was desperate. Through a bunch of crazy things that happened in my life, I had reached this point where I was longing for something more, something deeper, something that could help me.
I felt empty and even as a 19-year-old, I felt tired all the time. I like to use the term “religious”, because I remember waking my mom up one night at about four in the morning saying, “I feel like I need to get religious. I need to go to church.” That started me on the journey that I’m on today of getting to know God and experiencing the freedom, life, and joy that can only be found in Jesus. He rescued my life. That’s my journey in religion
How did you get started in the ministry?
That’s a great question. Part of the way I look at the ministry is serving, and I got started in ministry by helping clean toilets and park cars at the church. As I continued to serve, God simply gave me more people to serve. I’ve worked with the youth ministry and God has continued to give me more things to do. I’ve served in many different ways – I’ve spoken at youth groups, I’ve helped pastor people, and now I’m a pastor on staff, but I got started by serving and loving people.
Who or what inspired you?
Obviously, the biggest inspiration in ministry and in life is Jesus. He’s rescued my life.
The men of God around me who are also serving and loving God are an inspiration to me as well, but the biggest one is Jesus and how he gave up his life. It caused my heart to want to be like him. If you just read through the Bible, there are many other people who followed in his footsteps, and I want to be like them.
What is the goal of your ministry?
The goal of my ministry is to serve and love people. Ultimately if we can help people find the arms of the Father and get to the Father, that’s the goal.
It’s to serve people and help them connect with God and establish a relationship with him.
What are the top responsibilities of a pastor at Revive Church?
I think number one is that we have a responsibility of being faithful to God and to minister to him first. We are to be people of prayer, the word, integrity, and character. Our relationship with God should spill out to the people around us and cause us to love the people, take care of the people, and help us be a stable voice for people in times of need. It’s our responsibility to serve him and then also to serve the people that he’s put in our care.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow as a religious leader? Please explain how.
Always be a learner, whether that’s through talking with other people, reading, or listening to podcasts. I always have the mindset of growth and to expand. It can be to expand the anointing on my life or a skill set, but a great strategy is to continue to grow.
That also means not being afraid to learn from other people whom I might not quite agree with or with those who don’t have the fruit that I would necessarily like to see. Regardless, I try to grab one area that I can learn from. Maybe I don’t necessarily like what they do in their church services, but maybe they are really good in the area of leadership.
I make a point of going beyond my circle to grow and learn. That can apply theologically, in ministry, in leadership, etc.