Meet Our Pastors
John and Shelli Bates are Freedom's lead pastors. John has been in active ministry in multiple capacities since 1986. After serving in various church staff positions, he held a ten-year pastorate in Corsicana, Texas before becoming lead pastor of Freedom Fellowship International in 2003. John is a graduate of Southwestern A/G University and has done additional Master's studies at the University of Houston, Texas A&M, and A/G Theological Seminary. Traveling to foreign countries for evangelistic work has been a constant in John's life. He has conducted ministry in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, South America, and the Caribbean.
In 1993, John married Shelli Howell of Hurst, Texas. Shelli is the worship and spiritual growth leader at Freedom. John and Shelli have two children, Nehemiah & Eden, and a dog named Cookie. John Bates presently serves on the following ministry boards: Assemblies of God Theological Seminary: Springfield, Missouri, Global Initiative - Reaching Muslim Peoples: Springfield, Missouri.
The bible is inspired by God and is "the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and living.
2 TIMOTHY 3:15-17 - 1 THESSALONIANS 2:13 - 2 PETER 1:21
There is only One True God who exists as a trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
DEUTERONOMY 6:4 • ISAIAH 43:10-11 - MATTHEW 28:19 • LUKE 3:22
Jesus Christ is the son of God - fully human and fully divine.
MATTHEW 1:23 - HEBREWS 7:26 - ACTS 2:22 1 CORINTHIANS 15:3 - MATTHEW 28:6 • ACTS 1:9
Man was created good, however by voluntary transgression - incurred both physical and spiritual death (separation from God).
GENESIS 1:26-27 • GENESIS 2:17 • GENESIS 3:6 - ROMANS 5:12-19
Every person can be reconciled with God through salvation (accepting Christ's offer of forgiveness for sin).
LUKE 24:47 • JOHN 3:3 - ROMANS 10:13-15 EPHESIANS 2:8 • TITUS 2:11 - TITUS 3:5-7
1) Water baptism - complete immersion after repenting of one's sins and receiving Christ's gift of salvation.
2) Holy Communion - the Lord's Supper as a remembrance of Christ's suffering and death for our salvation.
MATTHEW 28:19 - MARK 16:16 - ACTS 10:47-48 - ROMANS 6:4
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a separate and subsequent experience following salvation. Spirit baptism brings an empowerment to live an overcoming Christian life and to be an effective witness.
LUKE 24:49 • ACTS 1:4 • ACTS 1:8 - ACTS 8:12-17 ACTS 10:44-46 • ACTS 11:14-16 - ACTS 15:7-9 - 1 CORINTHIANS 12:1-31
The initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues, as experienced on the Day of Pentecost and referenced throughout Acts and the Epistles.
ACTS 2:4 • 1 CORINTHIANS 12:4-10 • 1 CORINTHIANS 12:28
The Church has a mission to seek and save all who are lost in sin following Christ's mission. We believe the Church is the Body of Christ and consists of the people who have accepted God's offer of redemption through the death of His son Jesus Christ.
EPHESIANS 1:22-23 • EPHESIANS 2:22 • HEBREWS 12:23
A five-fold ministry of ordained leadership serves and equips the Church. The Bible teaches that each of us under leadership must commit ourselves to reach others for Christ, to worship Him with other believers, and to build up or edify the body of believers-the Church.
MARK 16:15-20 • JOHN 4:23-24 - EPHESIANS 4:11-16
Divine healing is provided for in Christ's atonement. God brings wholeness to our lives spirit, soul, and body.
ISAIAH 53:4-5 - MATTHEW 8:16,17 - JAMES 5:14-16
The Blessed Hope - when Jesus raptures His Church prior to His return to Earth (the Second Coming). When this moment occurs all believers, who have died will rise from their graves and will meet the Lord in the air, and Christians who are alive will be caught up with them, to be with the Lord forever.
1 THESSALONIANS 4:16-17 • ROMANS 8:23 - TITUS 2:13 - 1 CORINTHIANS 15:51-52
The millennial reign of Christ - when Jesus returns with His saints at His second coming and begins His benevolent rule over earth for 1,000 years.
ZECHARIAH 14:5 - MATTHEW 24:27 - MATTHEW 24:30 REVELATION 1:7 - REVELATION 19:11-14 - REVELATION 20:1-6
A final judgment will take place for those who have rejected Christ. They will be judged for their sin and consigned to eternal punishment in what is referred to as a "lake of fire."
MATTHEW 25:46 - MARK 9:43-48 - REVELATION 19:20 REVELATION 20:11-15 - REVELATION 21:8
New Heavens and a New Earth - Christ is preparing a place for all people, of all time, who have accepted Him. We will live and dwell with Him forever following His millennial reign on Earth.
2 PETER 3:13 - REVELATION 21 - REVELATION 22