Hope for the Prodigal – Jim Putman

Author: Boise Bible College
Published on: April 30, 2020
Categories: 75thAnniversary

Jim Putman (Graduate, 1993)

Jim Putman has a remarkable story of how God can use generations even when they are confused and running away from God. Jim was the oldest of five kids in a pastor’s family. He chased almost everything but Jesus for a time. He watched his folks live in a glass house of ministry and have time for everyone but their own kids. He faced both shame and anger towards God as he grew up. He participated in all kinds of prodigal activities before high school and beyond. He chose to use athletics to show his strength and overcome the shame and problems at home.

In college, Jim won three All American titles in wrestling and went on to become a successful wrestling coach. He has degrees from both Boise State University and Boise Bible College. In addition, he served as the youth minister for nine years in two small churches prior to co-founding Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho.

Real Life Ministries Story

Real Life was launched in 1998 with a commitment to discipleship and the model of discipleship Jesus practiced – “Relational Discipleship.” The church has experienced phenomenal growth and has stayed focused on discipling people to know Jesus who disciple others to know Jesus who disciple more to know Jesus.

The story of the church is pretty amazing and shows the faith of a few people and the passion of a couple of young guys and their families who wanted to do “church” the way Jesus did. In 1998 the church began by meeting in private homes until the numbers became too great, at which time it was able to rent space in a movie theater. In 1999, Church Development Fund stepped in to help them buy 33 acres of land in Post Falls, through its Advanced Land Purchase program, in order to build a facility to serve the 850 in weekly attendance at the time.

Then, the church moved into a 26,000-square-foot building on that property in 2001, but quickly outgrew it. In 2004, the church built a 68,000-square-foot facility, with a multi-purpose 1,700 seat auditorium, also on the same property. RLM purchased an additional 14 acres for a total of 47 acres at the current site.

In 2004, Boise Bible College launched the Post Falls Center in co-operation with Real Life Ministries. This extension site combined the discipleship process developed by RLM with the Biblical training provided by Boise Bible and their professors resulting in an A.S. degree in Biblical Leadership. However, this co-operative extension site lasted until 2008.

Fast forward to 2020

Real Life has completed a new recreational facility that includes multiple sports fields and a large field house. Also, the church has multiple locations as well as being part of 10 other church plants. Real Life Ministries, according to Outreach magazine is among the top one hundred most influential churches in America. Jim is also a co-founder and board team leader with the Relational Discipleship Network. Also, he is the author of seven books: Church is a Team Sport (2008), Real-Life Discipleship (2010)Discipleshift (2017), The Power of Together (2016), The Real Life Discipleship Manual (2012), and Resurrecting Discipleship (2020). His voice reaches hundreds of thousands across the world through speaking conferences, the web, radio, books, and weekend services.

Recently, Jim and his father Bill published a book titled Hope for the Prodigal. This book is practical and comes from two fathers who have experienced prodigal sons with stories of redemption. Jim’s passion is discipleship through small groups. With his background in sports and coaching, he believes in the value of strong coaching as a means to disciple others.

Jim and Lori live in scenic northern Idaho and enjoy their three sons and their families that include five grandchildren.

While serving as a youth minister at Crossroads Christian Church, he received a B.S. in Biblical Studies (1993) from Boise Bible College. During an interview, Jim said he loved his time at Boise Bible College and was especially impacted by Charles Crane who helped him with a scholarship. Chuck Faber and Dale Cornett were especially encouraging as both teachers and friends. Jim also said Boise Bible College gave him a solid foundation in the Word of God and the importance of holding to historic Christianity.
Covid-19 has canceled many plans, including our annual Spring Conference. Jim was to be one of twelve alumni speakers. He would have spoken from Ephesians 4:1-16, “The Church: United and Edified through Equipping” as well as presented a lunch workshop on “The Importance of Disciple Making.” We look forward to hearing from Jim in the future.

Please keep the students and faculty of Boise Bible College in your prayers as they finish this semester physically apart but virtually together. We are praying for the health of our world, both to be healed from the COVID-19 virus and for many to see hope in trusting Jesus.


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