Encouragement Leads to Future Leader – Justin Jordan

Author: David Davolt
Published on: April 29, 2021

Our stories are a result of the relationships and investments that dozens of people make into us along our life journey. The older we get, the more we see how we are a reflection of those we have lived and shared life with, trusted and been taught by, and chosen to do life within marriage. Boise Bible College places great value on the relational community lived out on our campus and in the lives of staff, students, and alumni.

Justin Jordan grew up in Boise and Meridian, ID. He was part of a typical Christian American family. They only attended church a couple of times a month growing up as a kid. Justin remembers when he was young, they would drive by Boise Bible College on their way to Pierce Park Baptist Church, and he would ask his parents, “What is a Bible college?” By the time he was in 6th grade, his family had quit going to church. He had made Jesus Lord of his life at 10 years old and wrestled with how to live out his faith without a church family. Eventually, a football friend invited him to youth group at Cherry Lane (now Ten Mile) Christian Church. That got him started attending youth group regularly his sophomore year in high school.

His senior year at Meridian High School (class of 2003), he had plans to become a high school teacher and coach high school football for a career. He received scholarships, was accepted, and planned to attend Northwest Nazarene University. However, while attending the youth group at Cherry Lane, youth minister Shad Durfee (BS’99) continually encouraged him to apply to Boise Bible College. In addition, his girlfriend at the time, Amy (Stevens) Young (AS’05), and her father, Mark Stevens, encouraged him to consider attending. He kept resisting the urge to fully follow God into a life of ministry.

His breaking point came on a mission trip to Tijuana, Mexico, during spring break of his senior year. They were helping a church in the ghettos minister to the area and remodel their building. During that trip, Justin was overwhelmed with the overall experience. He recalls the last night during worship with the locals in that neighborhood: “The Lord spoke to me and asked me, “Will you be about my Kingdom and my church, or your laid out plans?” This question haunted him the entire drive home to Meridian.

Eventually, he applied to Boise Bible College and was accepted. It took some time, but his heart started warming up to the idea of attending Boise Bible and began to wrestle more with God about what he wanted for his life. When he received a very encouraging admissions letter from Ross Knudsen (BA’95), he vividly remembers reading it as if Ross was speaking words of encouragement over him to the person he was and the future investment Boise Bible would be in his life. Shortly after receiving that letter, he decided to attend Boise Bible for a year to see what next steps God would have for him.

Justin’s journey at Boise Bible was not what he had expected in the beginning. He did well in the classroom but struggled socially the first year. It was hard to adapt to the small campus and student life. He had not grown up in a traditionally conservative home and struggled with many of the boundaries set by the college. In addition, his parents split up during his first semester and eventually divorced. His home life was a mess, and he was mad at God for a lot of pain he was experiencing. He even considered leaving Boise Bible after his freshman year.

It was then that Bill Krause showed interest in Justin. Bill saw potential that Justin was blinded to understand. Bill poured into Justin outside the classroom and invited him into his home. They shot hunting bows together. Justin watched how he interacted with his wife Jill and his kids. It was radically different from the home he had grown up in. He began to see what a mature Christian husband and father looked like.

Justin said, “Bill modeled behavior, coached, and discipled me as a young man. When I was struggling to understand so many things, he was there. The foundational principles of my marriage and how Natalie and I parent our kids is from Bill and Jill Krause’s investment in our life. If it weren’t for them, I don’t know where my life would have led.” His sophomore year was a turning point. Through Bill’s investment, God started to show Justin a new vision for his future. He began to consider full-time ministry as a profession and a calling for the first time.

Professors were more than just teachers in the classroom. Chuck Faber influenced Justin during his junior and senior years and even more so after graduation. A few years after graduation, Justin was honored to help teach Christian Leadership, one of his favorite classes. (Historical Theology/ABD was a close second). He also helped launch Junior Summit at Boise Bible College, a program with great value still today. Justin and Chuck meet a couple of times a year to catch up and stay connected relationally. John Whittaker developed Justin into an excellent preacher and to this day continues to help develop his communication skills. John is not only still his mentor but a great friend.

While attending Boise Bible College, Justin met his wife, Natalie. Her sister Jenifer (Hanson) Whitford (AS’05) was a classmate and was dating Jesse Whitford (BA’05). Jesse and Jen would invite Justin and Natalie on dates, which became adventures. Natalie is competitive like Justin, and when he finally beat her in tennis, he realized how much he loved her. It didn’t take long, and Justin and Natalie fell in love and were married on May 27, 2006, at Rainier View Christian Church near her home in Puyallup, Washington.

Jesse and Jen married, and they have all become best friends. While attending BBC, they also became good friends with Chris (BA’05) and Sara (BS’06) Short and now visit them every year on trips to north Idaho and Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, ID.

Life After Boise Bible College

Justin graduated from Boise Bible College in 2008. He and Natalie have three children, 10 1/2, 9, and 5 years old. He has been in ministry since Bill Krause hired him as youth pastor at Cherry Lane in May 2005. He served there for 2 1/2 years alongside BBC graduates Mike (AS’02) and Marsha (BS’02) Frost, Nick (BA’04) and Beth (BS’05) Duffel, and Chris and Sara Short.

Chuck Faber encouraged him to reach out to Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, ID, as many of his personal views of church and sports were aligned with what was being communicated from leaders up in north Idaho. Justin began to build relationships with Aaron Couch (BA’97), Jim Putman (BS’93), and Bill Putman. These men helped grow his understanding of how the church was called to be a winning team. They continue to be instrumental in his leadership today.

Justin was hired in November 2007 to join the staff of Real Life Ministries and help launch Real Life Ministries Treasure Valley as the Associate Pastor. It started when an existing church (Crossroads Christian Church) chose to humbly close its doors and help fund a new church that would reach and disciple unchurched people. After a year and a half, he became Lead Pastor. The church started in 

Edward’s Theater, grew, and moved to Mountain View High School. On November 3, 2019, the church moved into their first permanent facility in Meridian shortly after their 11th birthday as a church and immediately experienced record growth.

Despite the covid pandemic emerging shortly after, the church has continued to experience significant growth. Easter of 2021, over 650 people engaged either through in-person services or through their online services. Over 250 people have accepted Jesus and have been baptized since the launch of the church in 2008! Justin has been serving with Real Life for nearly 13 years.

When he isn’t working, Justin keeps a full schedule with his family and his hobbies. He hunts big game and upland game birds, enjoys fly fishing, and does an annual hunting and fly fishing trip with Jesse Whitford. His kids are starting to hunt and fish, and he enjoys coaching them in football and baseball. He is also part of a Relational Discipleship Network where he invests in pastors across the United States. They care about making disciples and want to help their churches become focused on disciple-making. He meets with Nick Duffel (BA’04) and Josh Branham (BA’13) every month as a micro-network to stay connected, pray for their churches, and help encourage each other as they grow as Lead Pastors in discipleship and multiplication. Justin says, “I’m very thankful for their friendship.”

Justin is committed to reaching the lost, making disciples, and multiplying leaders. He is willing to follow as God calls him. For now, God is using him to grow the church at Real Life Ministries in Meridian, Idaho. As God leads, Justin and the Real-Life leadership will consider expansion and multiplying campuses across the Treasure Valley and beyond.

Justin summarizes,

“My story is a result of the relationships and investment of dozens of people along the way. I stand on the shoulders of those that have invested in me. I am the leader I am today because of the discipleship investment of so many. I am so thankful for the relationships I have built and continued after graduation. Real relational community is what made my experience at BBC so impactful. As Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” It’s time to go to work and lead through loving and serving! Jesus is looking for workers, and there is nothing more satisfying than following Jesus to where He calls you. For those that are considering attending BBC, be ready to learn and be equipped by people who love the Lord and want to see His Kingdom grow.”