Troy Billow, Pastor
Pastor Troy was raised in a Christian home, the son of a pastor from Ohio, but it wasn’t until age 23 that he completely placed his faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord, was transformed from a prodigal lifestyle and felt called to serve Christ as a Bible teacher and pastor. This led to getting a quality Bible education at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago where he graduated in 1990 with a Bachelor’s degree in Evangelism, and then in 1993 with a Master of Church Ministry degree from Moody Theological Seminary. He has served in various ministry roles in local churches in the Chicago area over the past 30 years, while also raising a family and working full-time as a painter at Moody Bible Institute. He was ordained in 2011 while serving as bi-vocational pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Chicago, and previously served as Associate Pastor at Elim Baptist Church in the 1990’s.
He has been married to his wife Christine for over twenty years, who also is from Ohio and a graduate of Moody Bible Institute with a degree in Christian Education and Music, and they have two young adult children, Bree and Blake. Troy and Christine are excited for this new season of ministry at Living Faith Community Church and look forward to being a part of God at work in their midst to strengthen and grow their fellowship and reach out to the community to build God’s kingdom.
Pastor Troy says, “the strong words Paul wrote to Timothy have greatly influenced my perspective lately: ‘In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word … endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry’ [2 Tim. 4:1-5]. My greatest desire is for God’s people to be built up in their faith, to love one another and be unified for the purpose of outreach [Col. 2:2-3].”
I believe the role of the Pastor is best fulfilled as a Servant Shepherd. Jesus displayed this compassionately in the Upper Room during the Passover with the future leaders of the Christian church. The Scriptures say He took a towel and basin and knelt down to wash the disciples’ feet and said: “I have given you an example that you should follow … a servant is not greater than his master” [Jn. 13:15-16]. He also said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” [Mt. 20:28]. In the Gospels the Lord reveals that a true shepherd lays down his life for the sheep, God’s people. For the Pastor, this is his call and purpose: to lead them by example, feed them God’s word, and guard them from harm [Jn. 21:15-19].
People have described my personal leadership style as more like that of the apostle John—patient, gentle-natured, edifying and mentoring, sometimes gracious to a fault, but firm with the truth of God’s word. My greatest desire is for God’s people to be built up in their faith, to love one another and be unified for the purpose of outreach [Col. 2:2-3].
Philosophy Of Ministry
Luke describes the lifeblood of the body of Christ in Acts chapter 2: the believers continually joined together and devoted themselves to listen to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship with one another, to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and to prayer [v. 42]. A fellowship of believers needs to be a place of inspiration, encouragement, serving one another through spiritual gifts and exalting Christ.
The local church also impacts its community with the good news as seen in the New Testament fellowship by Peter preaching the gospel in the local community and the believers sharing the love of Christ with their neighbors. As Luke describes: the Christians enjoyed the goodwill of all the people (in the community) and the Lord was adding to their number those who were being saved [v. 47].
The mission of God’s people “compelled by the love of Christ” [2 Cor. 5:14] is to reach out and share the love and good news of Jesus Christ with a lost and dying world. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” [Rom. 1:16]. The life and purpose of the Church is to worship God, to serve one another with their spiritual gifts and to reach out to those who don’t know Him.
Pastor's Biblical Beliefs
The Authority Of Scripture
The books of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation are inspired by God, authoritative and fully trustworthy for faith and Christian living. The historical accounts and prophecies in the Old Testament as well as the apostle’s writings of the New Testament are preserved and accurate, containing the unfolding revelation of Jesus Christ and God’s redemptive plan to rescue man from sin and eternal death. “All scripture is inspired by God” and has the power to change a man’s heart being “sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing the thoughts and motives of the heart,” and also change a man’s life steps: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” The powerful word of God “is useful for teaching, correcting, and training in righteousness so each man may be adequately equipped for every good work.” The Scriptures are spiritual bread for those who are hungry and living water for those who are thirsty. [Psa. 119:9-16, 105; Isaiah 40:5-8; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:19-21]
The Trinity is a key doctrine throughout all of Scripture; the direct and indirect accounts in the Bible are undeniable. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three persons in one Godhead. We can see the Trinity working together at the beginning of time in the creation account of the world recorded in Genesis: “Let us make man in our own image.” They revealed themselves in audible and physical manifestations at the moment of Christ’s baptism: “the Spirit descended on Him like a dove … and a voice from heaven said: ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’” They are also viewed working in conjunction together in the redemption of man as Paul describes in Ephesians 1 where we read that the Father chose, the Son redeems, and the Spirit seals unto the day of salvation. We also see them represented at the end of time unfolding the history of mankind: “He (Jesus) came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him (Father) who sat on the throne.” [Gen. 1:26; Matt. 3:16-17; Eph. 1:1-14; 1 Pet. 1:1-2; Rev. 5:1-10]
The story of salvation is the scarlet thread of God’s redemptive plan revealed through Jesus Christ weaving its way throughout all of Scripture. Although man was created in God’s image, because of his rebellion he fell into a sinful condition, was estranged from his creator, and came under God’s curse and wrath: “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die.” God created us for relationship and eternal life, but after Eve and Adam fell, the Father planned to redeem us by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin, crucified and shed His blood for our sin, and physically raised from the dead to justify us and restore our relationship with the Father, bringing eternal life to those who believe: “All are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ.” Forgiveness and Salvation are a free gift received through faith alone in Christ: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” All this truth reveals that God not only cares about our plight, but proves his great love for man in the act of tremendous sacrifice seen at the cross. The Lord is not only a holy, powerful, and eternal God, but He is also a God of great humility and intimate care. This unmerited grace of God is the motivation of why we worship and serve him. [Gen. 2:17; Matt. 1:20-23; John 3:14-17; Rom. 3:20-26; Rom. 10:9-11; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 2:5-11; 1 Cor. 15:1-9]
The Church is God’s chosen people called out to live godly lives and serve Jesus Christ. The body of Christ is a spiritual family of faith sealed and equipped by the Holy Spirit to teach the gospel, make disciples, and serve one another. Believers are spirit-empowered and gifted for the ministry of edification, good works, and evangelism. As the church we meet together regularly to worship, teach God’s word, pray for one another, and remember the Lord’s sacrifice through communion until He returns. The body of Christ can meet anywhere and is a place of unconditional love toward all, where maintaining unity is key, with a purpose of making disciples and baptizing. [Acts 2:40-47; Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 1:1-10; 1 Cor. 12:2-26; Eph. 2:11-22; 1 Pet. 2:5-10]
Baptism and Communion
The public act of Christian baptism is the immersion of a new believer in water (in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) where they proclaim their newfound faith and identify with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. This is a significant event in the life of a child of God where baptism proclaims to their family, friends, and community their acceptance of Christ as Savior and symbolizes they have died to their old sin nature and desire to live a new life in the Spirit. Our Lord Jesus Christ was baptized and commanded His followers to make disciples and baptize them in His name. [Matt. 3:13-17; Matt. 28:16-20; John 1:29-34; Acts 2:36-41]
Communion or the Lord’s Supper was established by Jesus Christ at the last Passover meal He celebrated with His disciples on the night of His betrayal. As He broke bread and passed the wine He said to them: “This is my body broken for you and the blood of the new covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin.” The Lord’s Supper needs to be a regular practice when the body of Christ remembers the Lord’s great sacrifice with thankfulness and repentance. These two ordinances of baptism and communion for the church are vital to practice and remember until the Lord returns. [Matt. 26:17-30; Luke 22:13-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26]
Return of Christ
“No man knows the day or the hour,” Jesus declared, but at the Father’s designated time Jesus Christ His Son will visually return to earth with great power and glory to establish His kingdom on earth. Paul also said “It’s not important for you to know the dates and the times of His return.” The Bible teaches us: “as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” He will come back when people are unaware. His return is a wonderful promise: “Jesus will return in the same manner He was taken up into heaven” as the angels told the disciples at Christ’s departure. During His earthly ministry Jesus promised His return: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself.” At the premillennial return of Christ the Scriptures tell us that “the dead in Christ will rise first, then those who are remaining will be caught up together with the Lord forever.” Following this epic moment of His return which happens “in the twinkling of an eye,” Christ literally reigns as King for a thousand years on the throne of David. After this period, He will sit on the White Throne making judgment of the righteous and the wicked, the saints—“those whose names are found written in the book of life”—will reign and rule with Him forever, and God will create a new heaven and a new earth “where God’s dwelling will now be with men,” and “He will wipe away every tear from their eye, and there will be no more death.” Amen. But the wicked will be separated from God by eternal death “and thrown into the lake of fire.” There are many views of the end times scenario, but it should not be a cause of division for the Church. [Matt. 24:36-44; John 14:2-3; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Cor. 15:50-58; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; 1 Thess. 5:1-3; 2 Thess. 2:1-6; Rev. 19:11-16; Rev. 20:11-15; Rev. 21:1-5]