"Our lives are dedicated to our heavenly father, God!"
Pastor Joe and his wife, Janice, have had the privilege of serving Christ at Bethel Baptist Church of Emporia, Kansas since Sunday, October 4,1981. However, their ministry began before that.
Joe Tuttle was born in Kansas City, Missouri. At the age of 10, Joe's parents moved their family to Pasadena, Texas. Janice was born in St. Louis, Missouri. At the age of 11, her parents moved their family to Dayton, Ohio. It's important to note that each one would become active in their local church. Joe attended South Shaver Baptist Church in Houston, TX. Janice attended regularly with her family at Faith Baptist Church in Beavercreek, OH. Both Joe and Janice surrendered their lives to full time service at young ages, not knowing what God had in store for them. After graduating from high school, each felt called to attend Baptist Bible College in Springfield, MO. Joe enrolled in the Missions Course, still not sure of how or where God would use him, but certain that the Lord would show him when
the time was right. Janice entered BBC in the Business Course. Thus began the first chapter of the life of service that God had in mind for these two. The paths that God had led them on intersected, and they were married in Springfield, MO on June 15, 1974. Very early on in their relationship, Joe and Janice made Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 their very special verses. "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken." The Lord provided that strong cord.
The Lord led the couple to Lufkin, Texas right after graduating from Baptist Bible College in May of 1976. There Joe served as assistant pastor. He and Janice worked specifically with the youth department. While in Lufkin, God blessed them with a daughter, Jessica. Three years later, God moved the young family to Bartlesville, Oklahoma. There Joe worked under the pastorate of Dan Tidwell as his assistant for the next three years. During that time, the couple worked with the youth. The Lord blessed their ministry with a large group of kids and, most importantly, many life changing decisions were made to serve Jesus. They have kept in touch with many of their "kids" who are still loving and serving the Lord. Also, while in Bartlesville, the Lord blessed Joe and Janice with a son, Joshua.
The Lord began to burden Joe and Janice's hearts to move in a different direction, and in 1981 He called Joe to pastor Bethel Baptist Church in Emporia, Kansas. The church was located at 4th and Market St. Several years later, on the first Sunday of June 1992, Bethel was relocated to 1300 W. 12th Ave. During their time at Bethel, from that first service to the present, Pastor Joe and Janice have ministered to and with faithful folks. They have been there for many births, watched those babies grow to adulthood, officiated some of their weddings, preached their babies dedication services and even had the joy of leading their children to Christ. They look forward to seeing what God has in store for them next!
Pastor Joe & Janice Tuttle