Do you have the vision to start something big? Are you working with limited resources? The Pastor of a 10,000 + member and 85+ employee church explains how he started his church with door to door marketing and acapella praise and worship, 10 teenagers and a willingness to do whatever it takes.
How to stays focused and organized by waking at 5:30 AM every morning?
How he gets over feeling not worthy to become a pastor?
Why he likes UFC fights?
How he lead the lead guitarist, Brian Welch of Korn to Christ?
Why he markets his Las Vegas Church campus at porn conventions.
8 campuses Over 10,000 throughout the week in person
Website – vbf.org
Facebook – Pastor Ron
Show Introduction –
Have you ever dreamed of achieving something great of building something important, something big, something epic, something that has the power to change lives will. On today’s show, we’re interviewing them, man, who has done just that. He has built something epic, something big, something massive that has changed the lives of thousands of people, including the life of the guitarist for the group corn. You know the intense rock middle group corn. This pastor, pastor Ron Vietti has changed the life of lead Guitarist Brian Welch and is a byproduct of helping to change the lives of thousands of people. He’s now built a massive church that now has over 10,000 people attending each and every week. Pastor Ron Vietti is the lead pastor of Valley Bible Fellowship in Bakersfield, California water and his wife Debbie, have over 40 years. Went out there and started the Valley Bible Fellowship Church in Nineteen 74 with just 10 teenagers. Now this church have over 10,000 people, has other campuses there in Bakersfield, California. They’re in Las Vegas, Nevada, and in Ventura, California. He’s also the author of three books, the conspiracy of silence, polyester people and tribal influence. This guy is an interesting pastor and interesting dude. He likes to watch UFC fights and his church routinely buys booths at pornography conventions to witness to the people in the adult film industry. He doesn’t really hang out with other pastors very much. He’s just very passionate about helping everybody and that includes you.
What? Yes, yes and yes. Thrive nation. I am super excited about our guest pastor Ron. Welcome to the show. How are you, sir?
Hey, thank you, guys. I’m doing fantastic and I’m glad to be here.
Pastor Ron Vietti, you have had massive success with your ministry, but I would like to kind of start at the very bottom. When you first began, when did you get that itch to first get involved in ministry?
I don’t know if I have perfect pitch. I really didn’t want to be a pastor. I was raised in a Christian home and I saw a lot of the ocracy and stuff, and so when I got married I said, I don’t think God’s real. I really don’t. And then my wife was going to divorce me through some other things and lo and behold, one day I grabbed the Bible and I said, God, look up here for real. I got to know because I need your help and my life turned around and I was going to school to be a lawyer and I didn’t want to be in the ministry. And then one thing led to another and pretty soon I’m doing a Bible study with 10 teenagers and it just got out of hand and turned into a church.
So you literally were not a believer at all and then you went from being a non-believer or a guy who’s strongly questioned whether God was real to a person who now has one of the largest churches in America. Do you ever look back at your career and think to yourself, how did this all happen?
All all the time? It’s just really, honestly, I just, you know, I needed somebody because my wife was leaving me and taken our little baby girl with her and I said, God, if you’re real, I need Ya. And he just turned me onto him in such a way, blew me away. So I started doing these Bible studies and I started getting involved in every Christian thing I get involved in and I’ll remember. I remember one day after we started little fellowship is really the start of the church, but someone. I had my first funeral, I did the funeral for a professional hip guy, and Lo and behold, man, I’m standing there going, what am I doing? Am I a pastor or what? And the funeral guy came up and he goes, reverend, I didn’t even answer his, his, uh, his call. He said, Reverend Reverend, I couldn’t get used to being a pastor. Honestly, it was just a little Bible study. They get out of control.
How did you get your first 100 members? How did you find these people? What was your process for getting the first? Because we have so many listeners out there, they’re trying to grow their baby business, trying to grow that church training. They have to have a seed of something big that they’ve planted now and they’re going, how do I get my first 100 members?
Well, you know, what we did is we went and rented a quonset hut, lister’s mill ideas. That’s what I rented it. I only knew three songs and I wrote them on cardboard. Had absolutely a no musicians now get this. You guys are going to believe this. I’ve been married for three or four years, probably about four years when we started the church and I stood up there and we sang these acapella songs every Sunday, three songs written down on three cardboards now. Been married for years. One day we’re going somewhere and I told my wife, I said, you know what, I’m going to start taking piano lessons because we need a musician and maybe I’ll take guitar lessons or piano. And she looks at me and she says, you know, if you need a piano player, I can probably do it. I said you could play the piano for years.
You never told me. Yes. And so we just, I just went in, I didn’t know a lot. I mean I went to school to be a lawyer and I at that time, after we got the church going about a year, I probably had, oh, 20 or 30 Bible units that I got, uh, I got on at some school on the internet or are, I think I did it through the mail. And so, you know, I just showed up every week. I showed up, shared what was on my heart, got a lot of these kids, there’s about 10 or 15 of them, got them excited about what I was doing and they went out and drug or present. So that’s the way we got our first hundred.
Do you remember any of those first four songs? Did you sing acappella?
Oh yeah. Oh yeah, yeah. One of them is called when I get to heaven, I’m going to talk with Jesus. When I get to heaven, I’m going to see his face and I’d get up and I even had motions would stand up and do our hands a certain way. And it was the same three songs every week for almost a year.
Well, no. Okay. Now I know you have a church of 10,000 and I know you probably have a great praise and worship team now, but, uh, Andrew should pass the Rhombi looking for a backup musician. I don’t know where this pastor Ron Vietti. I play the cow bell. Let me give you a sample. Really good. I practice a lot. I’m usually 80 percent of the time I’m on beat. Uh, there’s, we could, we could spend a whole show devoted to that, that in the woodblock, but we’ll continue. We’ll push on. We’ll push on now.
That’s right. That’s right now. Or just more cowbell in any, in any given service. Now, my understanding is that you actually have driven a church bus. You’ve mowed the Churches Lawn and you’ve done all of the menial tasks when you were starting out in the world of ministry. Yet, um, I have met people that seem shocked when this is what they need to do for their new baby business or their baby ministry. They almost seemed shocked that they have to do all the menial tasks. Can you share with us what kind of menial tasks that you were doing when you first started out in ministry?
You know, I was so enthusiastic about what I was doing. I’m the kind of person that whatever I do, if I play tiddly winks with you, I’m going to play to win. That’s just my personality. But, uh, I even went door to door. I had this great idea. One day I thought I get two or three bibles and I’m going to go ask people. I’m going to go door to door and see if they have a bible in her house. And I went and almost every person shut the door on me. We have a Bible, whatever. Finally, one guy says, no, I don’t have one and I want to know what’s in it. I want to know all about the Bible. Well, I wasn’t that educated. I didn’t know what to do. I go, I did expect anybody to really want one and want to know what’s in it.
But I went door to door. Uh, I started out and now we’re backing up. Before the church, I was in a youth ministry before that with to youth. One young man who was bored, silly and my wife came every week. That’s before I went into the ministry as a pastor. And so I did everything, work projects. I wasn’t very handy. I showed up for work projects until one day I, they gave me a pic and I hit a water and so they went through with me. They’re no more work projects, but anything that needed to be done, I did it. You name it or open up the church early, go down, turn the heater on. And at that time I wasn’t looking to be a full time pastor. I was just sharing my heart with some teenagers,
passive aggressive mission. On this show, and listeners know what I like to. I like to share the message of Christ, uh, about every what Andrew about every fifth or sixth show every once in a while and I teach business principals 90 percent of the time, but I do try to weasel in with my message because I do believe that having a Christ centered life will help all the listeners so much on this planet as well as on earth. In one of the principles that I’ve heard you quote, pastor ron that I loved, I paused the video it back was Luke Sixteen, 10 that reads whoever can be trusted with very little, can be trusted with much and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much my friend. Why is that verse such a powerful and important verse?
A law of life. I mean, it’s the same with us. When I look at resumes, we have about 85 employees and when we need to hire somebody that someone sends a resume, they think some times they’re impressing us by having 15 things down. Like I was an employee here for two years. I was at this place for three years. I’m looking for that one guy that says, man, I was called to do this 12 years ago. I’m still doing it, but right now I kind of feel I need to change. And so I think it’s just a law of life that people who do small things, faithful will do larger things, faithful, and vice versa. If somebody will steal a dime or a quarter of the price, $100 if it, if it’s a, you know, an opportunity provides itself. So, um, I see it in the Bible, uh, David, before he became a king, he, he was a sheep herder and I did a, a sermon this last week and one of my points was in the Christmas story that the shepherds positioned themselves, um, for, for, for, to be used by God. They were in the right position. And so, uh, I believe it’s a law of life that if you don’t do small things good, you’re sure not going to do big things good either.
This is a thought that he just watched way too many of rump. Pastor Ron Xvideos, Ron, pastor Ron Vietti, I’ve been creeping you online. They’re watching way too many and one of the sermons you were, you were delivering a message and you’re talking about or it was one of your videos where you’re encouraging people who are wanting to enter into ministry. You were explaining that if you want to build a church that successful, you must be willing to work 60 hours per week for the first 10 to 15 years or maybe forever. This Justin, so I would love for you to share with the listeners out there [inaudible]. I said the same thing to entrepreneurs that attend our workshop or people that I coach. They say, clay, how long am I going to have to work 60 hours a week to achieve super success. Clay, you and Dr Zoellner and 13 multimillion dollar companies. How long did you guys work? Sixty hours a week, and I say without talking to pastor Ron First, 10 to 15 hours are 10 to 15 years probably or maybe forever. Pastor Ron, why is that so essential for people to understand that you have got to be willing to work 60 hours per week for 10 to 15 years or more, or maybe even forever?
First of all, I had a young man the other day that wanted to start a church and he had all the qualifications and he said, but I only want to work 40 hours a week. Well, I ended up not working with him because I said, you know, I really don’t want to work with you now in my line of business, I’m Jesus said feed my sheep. And, and so I’m a professional need meter. That’s what I call myself a need leader. Uh, and of course when I started out, uh, I had to do all the funerals, the counseling, all the weddings I had to the service. I look over the finances and so man, to get that done, I had to work that many hours. Then of course you guys have heard the saying that if you really like what you’re doing, you’ll really never work a day in your life.
Right? And I really do like what I’m doing, but, but again, in my vocation, I’m on the clock 24 slash seven. If I go to the mall, I run into somebody got this problem, my marriage is falling apart. If I go to the gym, I go to the grocery store, a salt. When I want a day off, I have to go to Las Vegas. And even then it’s changing because we have over a thousand people in our church there. But uh, I’ll go to the beach or whatever. So, you know, I just, Kelly young men, if you’re not willing to pay the price, you’re probably not going to be successful at a whole lot in life, especially when you’re starting out. And so I don’t see any way around it. There’s just too many things to be done. Now today, my secretary will tell you, I spend probably two to three hours a day on facebook every single day, every day. So, because I love my job and now we’ve got it going. And we have a lot of associates, a lot of employees. But because I love it, I just keep finding more things to do and so I’m staying busy.
I’m not going to put you on the spot with this question here, but are you familiar with pastor Randy frazy?
Pastor Randy frazy might be a guy you’d want to connect with at some point. He helped grow a church in fort worth from 400 members to about 4,000. And then he joined up with, with a willow creek and it came back to San Antonio and teamed up with a Max and, uh, through that church to about 10,000 members. Long story short, he talks about this thing called the Hebrew, the Hebrew calendar. And I had never heard of this concept, but he was explaining that if you get into the Bible and you look at exodus and genesis, it seems as though God has a theme. He’s teaching that you really need to work six days a week to reap the harvest. You know that God created the earth in six days. Do you believe in that from a theological perspective that God’s trying to teach the theme that the sixth day really is the day for abundance.
Okay. Another thing that I teach at pastors conferences or wherever I go, I. I teach some called inclined reclined decline and this can be for a business owner. This can be for a person in their own personal life or a church planner, but they say statistically that you know, to stay in the incline in, in your business or or in your church, you have to keep doing new things, fresh things, and if you don’t stay in the inclined, you’ll go into to recline and no one stays in reclined very long without falling into decline and so in that even though I’m older now and have a lot of employees, I have to keep finding new stuff to do and new stuff takes a lot of time, but I’ve never counted them a theological term. Although I think for for generations in the past, they have basically worked when the sun comes up and they go to bed. When the sun goes down and probably religious people obviously took a sabbath day off, but I think that’s what the economy’s been like for generations
in the Christian world. I was sharing with you off air, but we just recently interviewed John Maxwell and we’ve interviewed a pastor Craig Groeschel who has the life church now that has hundreds of thousands of attendees and members there. And I’m in a secular sense. We’ve interviewed, um, Lee Cockerel who used to manage Walt Disney world and all the, all these different people. I mean NBA coaches and everybody we’ve interviewed who is quote unquote, super successful, they all have worked 60 to 80 hours per week in route to their success. It just seems like every one of them has, has done it. Um, they all seem to be motivated though by something that’s driving them to work like that, you know, they’ve, they found that thing that you mentioned earlier that they love. So it doesn’t feel like work. How do you stay motivated, my friend? How do you stay locked in?
Well, I just enjoy what I’m doing and I just take life as it comes during the week and somehow related to God and, and share it. So again, I think these guys that you spoke about, they loved what they were doing and I tell young guys all the time, you know, I’d rather make less money and find something that I love to do something that gets me up in the morning with a smile on my face. So again, uh, you won’t find, I don’t think probably too many successful people that haven’t been employed and doing something they really enjoy and the guys you spoke of dead. And so, uh, I just like helping people. I like getting up on Sunday and encouraging people with a sermon, a, I love praying for people. I love showing people how to find God. So again, I think it boils around the idea that I just, all these guys and myself love what we’re doing.
You started a church in Las Vegas. Why don’t you go from Bakersville to Las Vegas and how have you gone about marketing the Las Vegas Church?
Oh Gosh, you know, this is a wild story. Again, you’re talking to a guy here that wouldn’t even be doing this for a living if I didn’t really believe in it. Again, when I went to God that day I, I unfortunately had pushed my wife and she fell down and she said, I’m leaving you. I don’t want to ever see your face again. And that’s when I went out in the garage and got a Bible. And I said, God, I don’t think you’re real. I think you’re a figment of someone’s imagination, but if you could show me your real, then you know what, I’ll give you my life. And boy, did he ever. Oh my goodness. So with that in mind, um, I, I operate on a whole different level. There’s a lot of people do, uh, my wife and I was walking and praying, uh, almost every day here in California.
And I had this feeling strong feeling. Every day we walk that I was supposed to start a church somewhere else. And at this time we haven’t really started planning churches. And so one day after about a year, I became so frustrated, my wife walked in the living room and I had a map out and they said, pack your bags. She said, why? I said, we’re going to boise, Idaho. She said, why Boise, Idaho? I said, why not? I’ve got to find out where God wants me to plant a church. Where’s it going to start traveling? Well, one thing led to another. We ended up in a hotel room in Reno, Nevada. And, uh, I took a Bible out of the desk there by the lamp. And I looked at it and I started praying. I said, God, I start a church somewhere. And I opened the Bible is to read about an immoral place.
And, and, uh, all of this. And I go, wow, debbie. I said, for years, fiber, planet, church, somewhere else I want it to be where there’s redwood trees and pine trees and streams and lakes. And I said, you know, Reno’s pretty immoral. I think God wants to start a church here. Well, she, she not get this. I was a gambler before I gave my life to God. I would gamble away their life savings. Uh, I’d bet on every football game, everything. So my wife hated Las Vegas. Well, again, a long story short, my wife felt we should go to Las Vegas. I started praying about it and pretty soon someone gave me a bunch of verses about Vegas. I got stuff in the mail about Vegas. One thing led to another and we started church. They’re not knowing a single soul. We went and signed a $750,000, at least got a building and then I went out in my car and cried and I thought, what did I just do? And that’s kind of the story.
So how have you gone about promoting or getting the word out about that church in, in Vegas? What, what are your marketing moves?
Well, one market movers. We started tending the porn convention. We had a booth at the poor annual porn convention. And did it for 10 years. Yeah.
Real quick. I’m going to have to just give me just a second, Andrew. I’m going to have to recalibrate. Let me recalibrate here. Just real quick. Please repeat what you just said.
Well, what we did is we started doing a lot of work. I started to bar ministry in Las Vegas when we started a little church. I started to bar ministry. We started, we’d have about 30 people meet at night. We’d pray and we’d go out to the bars and talk to people we wouldn’t drink, would get seven up or whatever. And then we knew the porn convention was really a big thing in vegas every year. So we used to go down there and to stand outside where people would come through the hallway, we would give them bibles or we would just ask. We get engaged them in conversation and pretty soon one of my guy, so let’s just get a booth, let’s rent a booth in the porn convention. So we went and rented a booth and was there for 10 years. In fact, last year was our first year we missed and at the booth we have this big prayer board where people can the bike and write prayers down and we send them back to 10,000 people to pray.
We give out books because, you know, I, I helped lead a Brian Wilson corn to the Lord and I’m a good friend of Jonathan Davis, so we took Brian Wilson’s book, he had a couple of books. We Take Rick Warren’s book, purpose driven life. So we have this, uh, this booth there every year at the porn convention with prayer requests, with books on every subject you can think of. We have a thumb drives on every subject you can think of like how to get off for, uh, how to be a better husband and on and on and on, and we give this stuff away. And so, uh, we actually have workers in our church in Vegas now that came to God through the porn convention.
You said a lot of things that I’m trying to unpack them up. For the listeners out there who aren’t with Brian Welch, if it’s the same. Brian Welch, I’m, I’m taking A. Brian Welch would be the guitarist from the group corn. Am I correct? Right. Correct. And so does Brian attend your church now? Are you guys friends today or.
No? We’re friends. Brian, you know, one day I came to church, you know, Koreans from Bakersfield and uh, I came to church one day and my secretary met me in the back and said, Hey, one of the guitar players for corns in the front row, he’s got a hooded sweatshirt on. And so I gave a message and he raised his hand at the altar call we had and I took him to Israel with me, I baptizing in the Jordan River. And uh, from then I became good friends with Jonathan Davis, the leader, and he does live here. And so I see Jonathan every once in a while and um, so anyway, yeah, he, his book was one of the books we gave away and uh, so that’s kind of how that happened. But that’s one way we really pushed Las Vegas. Uh, the bar ministry, we go out in the bars, we have antilope bear in our church over there and if you’ve heard of her, she’s hookers for Jesus and she’s really big and Las Vegas has been a lot of television shows is. So she worked the bar scene with us and uh, and then we just do things like that to tell the size our church.
When you’re mean to you, are they nice to you guys? What’s going on?
You know, what’s funny that this sounds probably unbelievable, but we’re one of the more popular, a boost in the convention. We have been and we’ve had probably four occasions where people were really mean to us and yelled at us for being in there. But uh, basically they’re really nice. They’ll come up and what it is, they’ll come by our booth and they won’t look good. It’s called a naked truth is what we named our booth. And some guys will come by and grab all these thumb drives thinking they get porn on them and we’ll stop. Say, Hey, we’re a church man and we’re in here. Just loving you guys have is really cool because one day there’s this guy, I don’t know if he was saying it’s a big pimp from New York, I don’t know. But he came over to our booth. He had this long jacket on all the bullying and everything. And he said, you know what, I just want to say a big thank you on my behalf and everyone in this porn convention that you guys come, you love it should bring us donuts. You pray for us and you don’t judge us, and I want to say thank you on behalf of everybody here. And that was really cool.
Wow, you’re. You’re very good on your list, on your youtube videos. Maybe they’ve been heavily edited. I’m sure you’re not as good in person at the church, but you’re graded on your youtube videos of taking complicated parts of the Bible or parts that can be easily misunderstood or not understood and illuminating them. Making the word makes sense on a very practical level. For the listeners out there who’ve tried to read the Bible and Andrew, we’ve got some audio. I’ll like to queue up here. This is a really how I feel most often. I
try to read the Bible. I listen to td jakes every morning, but when I tried to actually read the Bible myself, this is how I often feel. Didn’t. God said, let the land produce vegetation. I, I just set a record for being the part. I think I’d rather read an Algebra Textbook. Where are my Algebra textbooks and wonder. I’m sending again, I should probably stop complaining about the inspired by God. God, I’m sorry. Just start reading again. Seed bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit within it. According to the various kinds. I wonder if God’s pouring because this book is perhaps the most boring God with all due respect. Your book is really. I mean you’re awesome. I
love. Could you help the listeners out there who are interested in reading the Bible and help us make it more practical when it comes to reading and what’s the best method that you would prescribe for our listeners to read the Bible?
The first thing I do is I get up the morning. We have written out for people in Church. We have them on our web page and we’re all going through one chapter in the Old Testament and new every day, and so as a habit of mine, I’ll go through and read a chapter and then I’ll pray like, Lord, what was the spirit of this chapter? What was the apostle Paul or whoever trying to get across here? And they’ll look at it in Greek words. They’re there and I’ll look those up and then I’ll write out questions to decide two or three questions everyday. Like, why did he say this? Uh, what was men here? And then I’ll take those questions and I’ll, I’ll, I’ll take the rest of the day when I have some time and try to look up the answers. Let me give you one example.
And I use this Sunday. I, uh, went to the Lord, uh, not 11 years ago during Christmas week. And I said, Lord, why was your son born in a manger that need make sense? I mean, come on. The son of God should have been in a hotel, and I’m, I’m not kidding you, I won’t go through all the steps of what led me to this, but God had me look up this term in the Bible called Migdal eater or a a tower of the flocks, and Lo and behold, there’s this place mentioned in the Bible and it really turned me on a and it was a sheep fold that was right out of Jerusalem and Bethlehem right there at Bethlehem and in the fold they only did one thing. It was. It was different than all the other, you know, a sheep falls around in this one area right outside of Bethlehem.
They raised lambs that were going to be sacrificed in the temple in Jerusalem. We him just as a short ways away and all these lambs at this place called Migdal eater. We’re raised to be slaughtered in the temple for people’s sins. Well, a lot of theologians, and I didn’t know this. They think that that’s where Jesus was born in this a manger, right? There were the sacrificial lambs were raised and lo and behold, wow, wow. I thought, you know, that’s the reason for the swaddling clothes because when these lambs that were born, they had wrapped him in swaddling clothes so they didn’t get bruised or nicked or cut because they had to be perfect for, for sacrifice in the temple can. Jesus was born there and and, and when I figured that this was a great possibility, I went, oh my gosh. He was called the lamb of God and when he died and resurrected these shepherds, man, they were probably called the Gobi special speakers at all kinds of places because they could have done a series on the sacrificial lamb. And so that was just simply something that came out of doing a Bible study right now beside a question. Excuse me, why was Jesus born in a manger? And so that’s kind of what I do with every chapter. I write out questions like, what’s the practical side of this? Then I’ll spend maybe a week sometimes on some of the more important ones and I guess maybe assist the gift of God. That allows me to see practical insight in that
you are a guy that makes the Bible practical and you’re also a guy who on a practical level is growing a big organization and so you had to have had some serious setbacks along the way. You know some some things where you want that. Right. There was definitely my low point. I’d like to ask you, when you’re going through a low point a, some people call high pointing. They have these great things that happened. It’s so crazy. There’s UNICORNS and leprechauns and there’s all these great things, clouds and dreams, but when people, but a lot of times there’s a business owner or a leader of something. There’s. There’s low pointing, there’s a lot of low points. What do you say to yourself? What do you do? How do you handle it emotionally when things are not going well?
That’s been one of my weak points, but I pick up something your cycle. When I was little, I was a big New York Yankee Fan and I still today I can tell you, I think the starting lineup and [inaudible] 69 world yankees, New York Yankees, and so I used to watch these guys in the old days and they’d get up to bat when they swing and miss a ball or whatever that spit on the ground and this kind of resonated and I kind of remember this for years. And so when something goes wrong, I visualize myself spitting on the ground and going, you know, what, Miss that one, throw me another one. And uh, so I have to try to, uh, you know, get myself back up. You tell them about a big setback. I think the biggest setback and the biggest thing that I’ve struggled with in ministry is not feeling worthy to be a pastor.
I just don’t feel like I’m, I’m worthy of. I see all my flub ops. I’m not a typical pastor. I mean, honestly, if you gave me a choice today, go to this big pastors conference or go to a UFC fight, I’ll take the UFC fight. I, I’ll go there, we had a big UFC fight come to bakersfield a while back and I think I knew more people there than I would note a church conference. That’s just where I feel comfortable at. And so, you know, I look around and, and uh, when I was younger I didn’t like church because I saw these pastors and I thought, these guys are different than me, you know, their first words when they were three years old was probably Bible or our church or I love Jesus or whatever. I’m not like that. And so I couldn’t relate to these guys and so I didn’t ever want to go to church.
So here I am. I’m this guy that just came out of the God called me. I know he did to go pastor and uh, and, and, and there’s just a lot of the time I just have a hard time getting my fingers around that light. God, why would you call a guy like me? Um, these other guys, you know, they probably have five years of seminary. I might have one. And that’s all online. All my education is basically secular. And so I think that’s my setback. I mean, one day it came to a, uh, just a, a point to where I told my wife, I said, you know what, Debbie, I just, I don’t feel like I, I can relate to these other pastors. Anyway, one thing led to another and I think I lost my temper and throwing something did something that I was the same government told Debbie, my wife Debbie. I said, I’m quitting. And I actually wrote down, I wrote out my resignation, drove down to la. We were in a denomination at the time and offered my resignation and uh, the people over me, they talked to us for awhile and ended up ripping our, my resignation out nicely. Can you do that? And they said, we just did. And I said, I just don’t feel guys like, you know, like I, I, I’m a guy that should be a pastor,
which is why I like your sermons. By the way. I feel like you are. Seriously, it seems as though you can relate to the common man. And this is not a backhanded compliment here. You, you appear to be a common man and you, you mentioned your flaws and I think that’s what make your self deprecation for me now that you’re looking for a feedback from a business consultant, podcast host guy, but that’s, to me what I like about your sermons the most is that self deprecation and your ability to admit your faults and how you’ve learned from them. That is so helpful.
Well, you know, time I will use some things that I did that wasn’t probably really right to form a certain been around. Um, I think it was a few months ago to kind of keep them the same train of thought here. Some guys engaged in me on the Internet and uh, he wanted to, to argue some theological points and he was really getting really, really mean and I didn’t like it. And so what I did is before I could control myself, I, I, I typed in a message to him and I said, you don’t want it. If heaven is full of people like you, I rather go to hale. And I sent the message.
Oh boy. Oh boy.
And, and immediately afterwards I caught myself and I thought, what did you just do?
and right away, right away I said, oh my gosh. So I went back, got my kids, got on my computer, wrote the guy back and I said, you know what? I am so sorry. I had no right to do that. And then he started apologizing and it, it turned out really well. But the case in point here, I use that to form a sermon on a Sunday and I said, here’s how I blew it and here’s what I learned out of it.
I just think you’re, you’re so real
and so authentic and I hope that you don’t ever lose that aspect of your, your delivery style. You’ve been doing this for so many years and it’s so refreshing to have somebody who speaks the truth the way you do. And that’s why I’m interested to ask you this here. You mentioned the most of your education was not from the seminary kind of thing. Could you walk us through your educational background? You know, I attended cal State University here in Bakersfield. I’m a native here and I like one unit, I speak of Vienna, a paralegal if I want to be. And so again, in the process of wanting to be an attorney, I wanted to be a trial lawyer. Uh, that’s when these 10 teenagers that I was doing a Bible study with, started following me. And one thing led to another, and I know this is going to sound really corny here, but I had a vision one day and I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life.
Again, you’re talking to a guy that really believes God’s real. I really do. Uh, if I didn’t believe God was real, no telling what kind of lifestyle I’d be living, but I had a vision and that’s all I can, you know, describe it as being I saw screen and it says start a church and I saw this quonset hut and that’s a whole nother story. And I went and got it, rented it on and on. So, uh, you know, in that, I just felt that that’s what God told me to do. And these 10 teenagers followed me. And the church has kind of was a result out of that. I mean, again, it just turned into a church. I don’t know what I thought it was going to be. I read a quonset hut and had these 10 tabs, we’re going to start singing some songs and talk about the Bible and it just, like I say, got out of hand. It turned into a church and went and got bigger and bigger. And now we have eight campuses and hopefully we’ll have another aid in the next two years.
So how do you manage your schedule on a very practical level? I mean, how do you spend the first four hours of your typical day?
Well, I get up at 5:30 in the morning and a right away I go to prayer and I dumped all my problems on God because I know that I’m going to get a lot of other people contacting me through the days go is going to have a lot of problems and I need to help them with. So I just get up and just kind of throw up on God, give him everything and say, Lord, take this and help me through it. And then I do my devotions like I’ve already told you how I do them. And then I go straight to the gymnasium. My wife and I work out for an hour and then come home and then whatever’s on the gym that we go there. Next.
What role does your wife play into ministry for people out there that are not familiar with your church?
You know, it’s funny, I see pastors on TV televangelists and their wives are called the first lady and, and I’m not knocking that. I’m not insulting anybody that does that. My wife is very much behind the scenes outside of playing the piano for us for the first two or three years to get it started. She just really supports me when I went you to have a hard time with being a pastor. And I go, I, Debbie, I’m not a pastor man. I go to conference with these guys and they love to wear suits. I wear blue jeans and a tee shirt. Uh, they like to argue a theological thoughts, I don’t like to talk about UFC and some of the football things. And, and so when I went to resign, it was going through this hard time. I woke up every morning, my wife was sitting in the living room on a couch at like six in the morning and she’d have a Bible.
I’ll be praying and she’d look at me and say, Ron Vietti God has great things ahead of you. You know what? Your last half of your life’s going to be better than the first part. And she’s just a real. She’s probably my best encourager. And so, uh, she doesn’t get involved in ministry. She doesn’t go to our, we have a big women’s retreat. She never goes. She just goes to church with me and helps me and encourages me. In fact, the other day it was funny, she was in the front row at our church and our church and biggest little seats about 3,400 and industrial came up and told her, I said, ma’am, you’re gonna have to move. We’re, we’re reserving seats for some important people. Has. She goes, I really don’t want to move, and usher said, ma’am, you will move and if you don’t want to have to make your move. And then finally the doctor came over and said, pastor Ron Vietti to wife. So she’s kind of really behind the scenes.
So many pastors. We’ve got a lot of passengers attend our in person, thrive time workshops. We’ve had a lot of Andrew, you’ve seen pastors come in there and a lot of times George Barna research shows that churches get stuck around 300 members. You know, a lot of times businesses get stuck at about a thousand customers. You see it all the time. You’ll see I’m a local gym. You’ll see a local fitness facility. They’ll get stuck at 300 members or 500 members and they can’t ever seem to grow over that. And you see churches just stuck at 300 or even more churches. I’ve more pastors I’ve met personally who were stuck at a thousand members and if you ask them why they can’t grow, they say, well, my whole day, I mean I’m on my hair, my hair’s on fire. I’m reacting all day. I never can get on top of it. I’m never going to get ahead. Can you help the pastor out there listening or the business owner out there listening who says, you know, I’m stuck in a thousand member members and I just feel like I’m stuck in reactive mode. How can they plow ahead and begin to grow or scale something?
What I said earlier, every business out there is either on incline recliner declined all of them are. And in order to stay on reclaim you have to keep doing fresh things, new things. And so, uh, you know, you don’t want to go into recline because then you go into decline. For example, we’re always doing new stuff and I didn’t know this was gonna be such a hit and, and, and, uh, and take off, but three times in the last 15 years I just felt led to do something and I said, gang, you know what, we’ve really done well financially the last month or two. So three times I’ve had the, the uh, office staff, the secretary and administrator go and I’ve said, Hey Phil, the offering plate up with about $20,000 in twenties and hundreds and I’ve, I’ve given off right away. I said, you know what, today I’m not taking an offering.
And I said, listen to me again. I said, if you ever need like, you know, your kid needs a coat or something, you’re going to send it if you don’t take some money out of this offering. And now the Bakersville campus is really the main campuses. A lot of poor people. Now we have two other campuses, the biggest hole that has a lot of attorneys and lawyers and doctors and all of that, but that, that’s something to keep us on. Incline. It’s fresh. We had a lot of people that were out of work and a one year I went to one of the farmers and I got a field and we we petitioned it off, we sectioned it off in little sections and I gave them seed and I said, hey, go start planting seeds and come to church and we’ll sell produce out in the patio, and so if you’re, if you feel like you’re stifled in a Rut, you got to go back on incline and to stay on in client, you have to do fresh new stuff. Probably every year or two you have to introduce new radical, crazy stuff. Otherwise you’ll settle and get into this Rut and then you’ll find yourself in decline.
So step one, definitely make sure you’re putting in the work. You’re saying, you know, putting those 60 hours a week, do that, make it fresh, make it fresh, always freshen it up. How do you say no to mindless networking events that won’t help the cause. Mindless church conventions that won’t help your cause. Distractions and things that you know, just frankly are not in line with your vision, your purpose, but they could fill up your schedule.
You have to say no if you’re going to be successful in life, you have to. And in the old days I used to think I had to give everybody an explanation. Now something comes along, I’m invited to something that I don’t feel I should do and I don’t feel that it is, you know, something that will really help me and my goals and my purpose in life. I just say no, you know what? I love to do it, but I just can’t into subject. I don’t give them any reason why I can’t do it. I just can’t at this time. Thank you for the invitation. I’m honored, but I just can’t do it. And I say no to a lot of things. Um, and uh, I think you have to, to be successful.
Two final questions I have here for you. You seem like a, you come across as very well read person and I know you and highly endorsed the Bible in addition to the Bible though. What is one or what are one or two books that you would say, these books are very valuable for anybody out there wanting to grow an organization, uh, to manage a team, maybe to develop yourself for all the business owners, for all the thought leaders, for all the authors, for the entrepreneurs we have out listening today. What are a couple books you’d recommend,
Rick Warren’s purpose driven life. I think that’s a really good book. And because of what I do, I usually read mainly Christian books. Um, and if you got pastors out there listening, Bob George, classic Christianity, just really have, you know, changed, uh, uh, my heart and a lot of areas. And uh, another one, merchant brothers power and praise. So mainly I read Christian books now if you want, if you want to get into the UFC or whatever, or our college football. Then I have some other things, but yeah, I don’t read a lot of corporate, uh, books and a business books.
Got It. Got It. Now for the listeners out there that are curious to know more about you and your and your ministry and the things you’re up to, what’s the best way for our listeners to learn more? What’s the website you would direct them all to go visit?
Yeah. They go to either VVF dot Oregon. That is a v as in Victor and the as in uh, uh, uh, bobby and F as in Frank Dot Org, v Dot s dot or a. You can contact us there or I’m on facebook like I say a lot. So just go to Ron Vietti on facebook or twitter or whatever. So, and uh, I don’t want facebook. Mainly
Pastor Vietti. I know you have a large flock of 10,000 plus people that attend your church and a lot of people vying for your time and I can’t tell you how much we appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to, to share with all of our hundreds of thousands of listeners. It really does mean the world to us and we’d love to have you on the show again sometime in the future if it fits your schedule.
Okay guys, thanks a lot. I really, really enjoyed it.
Hey, take care of a special guy. What a hard working dude. And what a segue into the question I want to ask you here. You heard Pastor Ron Vietti, he wants to help millions of people, helped thousands of people. He wants to help people like you, right? That’s what he wants to do. Um, and so he’s willing to work 60 hours a week, every week to make that happen. He’s willing to drive the bus, willing to mow the lawn, willing to do whatever is required to get where he wants to go. And so I would ask you today to get a sheet of paper and to make a list of the things that you’re willing to do to get where you want to go. As an example, as an example, uh, I, many of you who listened to the show regularly know this, I was willing to work at applebee’s target and direct tv at the same time.
Alright. My wife was willing to work at office depot and Oral Roberts University while I had those other three jobs. So between the two of us, we had five jobs. Yeah, we had five jobs and we were willing to turn off the air conditioning and the heat to our home now in Tulsa at the time I turned off the air conditioning, I believe it was early summer so the temperatures can get as high as 100 degrees plus. And we were on the second floor of the apartment complex at the Fountain Crest Apartment Complex located at 71st and Lewis in Tulsa, Oklahoma, if you want to check it out there, right behind the Marriott Hotel, which I believe is now a, a crowne plaza. So we were willing to have five jobs at the same time. We were willing to turn off the air conditioning. We were willing to eat the budget gourmet, which is kind of a contradiction in term terms.
The budget gourmet, it’s, it’s the frozen food section at Walmart. They called that back in the day budget gourmet. And for ninety six cents you could get the, uh, the, the budget gore made chicken Panini, which I believe was a 98 Percent Sodium Aka salt and a two percent chicken. But we were willing to live off of that kind of diet. We were willing to live below our means. We were willing to have five jobs. We were willing to turn off the air conditioning. We were willing to share a car. My wife used to drop me off at Panera bread. Um, so you might notice St Louis Bread Company, some of you who don’t know what that is, it’s like a fancy breakfast, brunch bakery kind of place. So my wife would drop me off there and then I would stay there all Saturday just booking weddings back to back meeting with potential brides and grooms at Panera bread because I didn’t have an office at the time.
So the bride would always say on the phone, so where’s your office? We’d love to come meet you and see if you’re a good fit. And I would say, well, where are you located in? No matter what their answer was, they would say, well, I’m in a Waso or I’m in South Tulsa, or I’m downtown, or I’m in broken arrow. I didn’t care what their answer was. I said, hey, why don’t we meet halfway over there at Panera bread? I have a meeting going on just right before that anyway. And I’ll just stay after it. I’ll meet you at Panera bread. And I am not kidding. Thrive nation. I met at Panera bread, not thousands, but probably close to a thousand. I probably booked my first five to 600 weddings at Panera bread. And I say that because before I got an office, we were booking up to 10 wedding receptions per weekend with my wedding Dj company called Dj Connection Dot Com.
And I was just, again, I. This is before I had an office. So I was willing to meet people at Panera bread, spend the whole day at Panera bread, willing to have five jobs, turn off the air conditioning, turn off the heat, have won a car. I was willing to, uh, eat the, the budget gourmet chicken Panini. I was willing to do whatever it took as long as it didn’t violate any of God’s laws. And as long as I didn’t go to jail for doing it, I was willing to do it. What are you? What is your sacred cow? What is standing in the way of your success today? What is standing in the way of your success? And I encourage you to write that down today and to decide that moving forward, you are willing to blow through those, those barriers. Somebody out there saying, well, I like to sleep eight hours a day.
Are you kidding me? You have got to go to bed and to, to maintain homeostasis and to not die and to not have health issues. You got to sleep what? Six or seven hours a day, but to listen. I go to bed at 9:00 every single night and I wake up at three. Why? Because we have so many awesome guests from around the world reaching out to us to have us on the show, and I have committed to you the thrive nation, to putting out a daily podcast. It’s a daily thing, which means daily. I’ve got an edited, produce it, do the research for the guests, prepare the questions, I have to do all that and it’s about two to three hours of show prep before every interview and then about another hour and a half after every show of editing and production, and then we gotta put it up on the podcast player and upload it to spotify and itunes and do all the things we have to do.
And I’m willing to do it because I’m willing to do whatever it takes. If you asked me, clay, what does it take to be successful? I would say whatever it takes, thrive nation. If you enjoyed today’s show and it helped you, if you, if you laughed, if you learn something, um, I would encourage you to share this with, with, with a friend, maybe a family member, somebody. Uh, no, because the thrive time show is helping change people’s lives all around the world and it wouldn’t be possible without great people like you sharing it with a friend. So share it on social media, share it via text, maybe copied the link on spotify, shoot it out to somebody, but a sharing is caring and without any further ado, would like to end each and every show with the boom. So here we go. Three, two, one. Boom.
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