The Founding Pastor — Gary S. Prisk

Bible Baptist Church began as a mission work out of Bible Baptist Church, Sacramento, California, which sent Brother Gary Prisk and his wife Cheryl to Whidbey Island in 1974. Following the mission’s organization into an independent Baptist church in March 1975, Brother Prisk served as its “senior” pastor until March 2006.

Dr. Gary S. Prisk

Gary Prisk was born in Sacramento, California. After graduating from High School, he was employed in forestry work of various kinds with the U.S. Forest Service in Montana until converted to Christ on May 24, 1970. He graduated from Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College in San Dimas California in 1974. Shortly thereafter he was ordained, then commissioned by the church in Sacramento to establish a church on Whidbey Island. The mission began in August of 1974 and was organized as the Bible Baptist Church in 1975. Pastor Prisk led the Church through a number of building programs, and the establishment of its Christian School ministry and its Bible Training Institute program. During his long ministry, he and his wife traveled to Australia, England, the Philippines, Chile, and Argentina. He also wrote some of the curriculum used by the Church and others around the world to train men for the ministry. Brother Prisk received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree, and on the occasion of the Church’s 30TH Anniversary received congratulatory letters from the President of the United States of America (George W. Bush), the governor of the State of Washington, and the mayor of the City of Oak Harbor. In March 2006 he embarked upon a new (albeit brief) ministry of the Church — one of ministering to pastors and churches of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and southwestern Canada.

Brother Prisk's Homegoing

On Monday, May 29, 2006, our gracious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ saw fit to call Brother Prisk to his eternal home in glory. On his 59TH birthday he preached his final message at Valley View Baptist Church in Creston, British Columbia (Canada). He and his wife planned to spend Memorial Day with their daughter and her family before continuing his ministry among churches of the Pacific Northwest and southwestern Canada. Early that Monday morning, he told his wife that he loved her and, after an unusually long embrace, left to go fishing for a few hours. Around noon as he was returning, a group of loggers noticed he had pulled his car to the side of the road and was in distress. They ran to offer aid, but by the time they arrived, he had passed away and they were unable to revive him. A home-going service was held at the Church on June 3 with almost 500 people in attendance. His body was laid to rest at the Maple Leaf Cemetery in Oak Harbor, in sure and certain hope of the resurrection. Brother Prisk left behind his wife, Cheryl, and four children — all married.

His love for the Lord was obvious in his life. His story is a wonderful testimony to the power and grace of God in a life — a man who ran away from home as a teenager to seek fulfillment in a life of drugs and all that went on in the streets of San Francisco during the turbulent 1960s, and who was saved then used of God to pioneer an independent Baptist church in western Washington. His love for his wife was an inspiration and example to many. His consistent leadership and firm discipline in the home and genuine interest in the activities and accomplishments of his children evidenced his love for them. Many of his grandchildren carry the memories of the books he read to them, the times he took them fishing, the sketches he drew for them, and the time he took to talk to them on the telephone.

Brother Prisk’s love for the things of God was most evident in his life. His diligent study of the Word of God and his God-given wisdom and experience enabled him to be a source of encouragement and help to many pastors and churches of the region.

Perhaps the most notable trait about Brother Prisk was his focus on the eternal. He never sought greatness or promoted himself — he never forgot that his reward would be in Heaven, and he truly lived with Heaven in view.

Brother Prisk’s Life’s Verse

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” — Isaiah 40:31.