Interviewer: I'm glad we have the opportunity to spend some time
together today for the purpose of recording some information which will
explain to the users of your web site just who you and Rachel are and what
the aim of your ministry is. First of all, could you tell us a little bit
about yourselves, your background?
David: I was born and raised
in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and I am the third son born to my parents,
Robert and Betty Oaks. I went to public school in Bartlesville all of my
life except for two years during grade school when I was bedfast with
rheumatic fever. That was rough because I couldn't go out and play with
the other kids. I could hear them playing outside my house but, for me,
physical activity was against the doctor's orders. I literally had to be
carried even to the bathroom which was next door to my bedroom.
The doctors had told my parents that I wouldn't live beyond my teens
due to all my health problems. But, I had a Pentecostal grandma who lived
about an hour from our house and, one day, she turned my name in for
prayer to Oral Roberts Ministries and God raised me up. As you can see,
I'm still alive and kickin'.
Rachel: The ministry of Oral Roberts touched my life too. As a
teenager, I attended a revival at my grandparent's Methodist church in my
hometown, Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. Oral Roberts wasn't actually preaching
at this meeting but, students from the Oral Roberts University were and it
was during that meeting that I went down to the altar one night and asked
Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.
Interviewer: So, you both grew up in church?
Rachel: Well, the short answer is yes, but actually our
experiences were quite different. You know, there are all kinds of
churches. My family attended the Episcopal church-very traditional with
lots of pomp and circumstance, robes and pipe organs. I remember that my
mother pointed out to me a red light on the wall near the altar which
housed an eternal flame. That represented the presence of God. I guess
that epitomizes the difference between my church experience and David's.
In my church, people could be very devout, but God was some far off
entity, not someone you went to for actual intervention in the everyday
course of events. I never saw anyone healed in my church as a result of
prayer. In fact, there was no prayer for healing. We took communion a lot
and heard beautiful music and learned that Jesus died for our sins. And,
that's good as far as it goes. But, church was more of a civic activity.
Both sides of my family were very civic minded. My dad's father was
involved in law enforcement and my mom's father was a district attorney.
At that time, all mothers worked in the home. Then my dad was employed in
the health industry as an EEG Technician and my mother was a public school
teacher. So, what I remember is that my parents emphasized being a good
person more than being a good Christian in obedience to scriptures.
Interviewer: And, David, your background was more Pentecostal?
David: My mom's side of the family has several Pentecostal
preachers. That's probably the result of all the prayers of my grandma,
Elsie Ford. She was a real prayer warrior. As a teenager, she attended
some revival meetings held by a young man named Willard Pope who brought
the Pentecostal message to the Tulsa area. Although her family lived on a
farm outside of town, her parents had rented her a housekeeping room where
she could stay during the week while she went to school. Unbeknown
to her parents, at night she would attend the Pentecostal church which had
been started as a result of Reverend Pope's meetings and it was there that
she received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking
When her dad found out about it, he gave her a switching and told her not
to go back to the meetings but she kept going because she was hungry for
God. This was a widespread move of God among teens at that time. One of
those teens started a prayer group in his home which my grandma became a
part of. They would spend hours praying for souls. It was only years later
I learned that the location of that home prayer group was on the grounds
of what is now Rhema Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. But,
I never knew that story until I had graduated from that very Bible school
and my oldest brother, Bob, had worked at Kenneth Hagin Ministries in
their publications department for many years. That was grandma. She would
pray things out and keep them just between herself and the Lord.
As a child, though, I attended the Quaker church. In the mid-1970's my
mother was introduced to the ministry of Kenneth Hagin and, when that
happened, she turned back toward her Pentecostal roots and the rest of the
family followed. After this, the majority of the people in our Quaker
church were filled with the Spirit and, soon afterwards, our church became
a full-gospel church.
Interviewer: So, how did the two of you meet?
Rachel: We met in the band program at
The University of Oklahoma.
Both of us participated in music from an early age. David was in rock
bands and was earning money professionally as a trumpet player in his
teens. Then he went to OU to earn his bachelor's degree in Music Education
and I was taking marching band as an elective. We met at a swimming party
at the end of band camp. It's a two week camp similar to what football
players call "two a days", only it's for marching band.
Interviewer: And after college, David, did you begin teaching
David: No, after college, I went to Bible school at Rhema. I lived
with other musicians at OU and during a party we were having at our house
one night, in the midst of that party atmosphere, I heard the Lord say
within me, "I have called you to preach and teach my word". So, I left the
party and went into my bedroom and fell down into a pile of dirty clothes
and began to cry out to God for power to live the life because I sure
didn't have what it took to be a preacher right then. My mom had been
sending me Christian books throughout college and knowing how hard she and
dad were working just to afford my tuition, I didn't have the heart to
throw the books away. Each time they would come in the mail, I would toss
them into one of my dresser drawers.
When I got up off of that floor in my bedroom, I went to my dresser and
shuffled through that stack of books until I came to one entitled, Seven
Vital Steps To Receiving The Holy Spirit, by Kenneth Hagin. By the time I
had read step 3, I had been filled with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said in Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy
Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me...unto the
uttermost parts of the earth." Then in Acts 2:4 it says, "And they were
all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as
the Spirit gave them utterance." My life has never been the same since I
received that power. After I graduated with my music degree, I went to
Bible school to prepare for the ministry. I was actually ahead of Rachel
in school so, when I went to Bible school, we lost touch for a while until
she came up to see me ordained into the ministry and that weekend we
decided to get married.
Interviewer: How did you actually get into the ministry?
David: I started out volunteering my time in the tape ministry. At
that time, every sermon our pastor preached was recorded on cassette tape
so that people could purchase the tapes for study purposes. I would sit in
a little 4"X4" closet off to the side of the stage while he preached and
record the lesson. I was commuting an hour each way and going to Bible
school during the day and, at night, I would edit and duplicate the tapes
for purchase. Then, I was asked to teach the Adult Sunday School class and
eventually I was hired as an Associate Pastor. Because people knew that I
had studied music, they thought that I automatically knew how to play
piano and, when a piano player was needed at church, they asked me to fill
the position. Really, I couldn't play. I had only studied enough piano to
pass my proficiency in college. But, I accepted the position and began
leading praise and worship. Still, even then, I continued doing things
like mowing the pastor's lawn and babysitting his son, running the bus
route for the Christian school, whatever was needed. And, because my
salary was so small, Rachel worked secular jobs as a bank teller and
bookkeeper all through that period. We lived in a little mobile home which
we bought from my parents who used to have it on the lake. It was just the
two of us and the cat. I mean, humble beginnings.
Rachel: I remember that mobile home vividly. The whole house had
wood paneling on the walls and where the sheets of paneling met, the seam
was covered with little wood strips which would move back and forth every
time the wind was blowing hard, which in Oklahoma is pretty often. You had
to learn which appliances could be operated at the same time or you would
blow a breaker and have to trek out to the backyard and replace them. But,
thank God we had appliances and breakers!
One time I took the living room drapes to the dry cleaners and they came
back in shreds. We didn't have the money to buy new ones so I just
reinstalled the shredded drapes. You know, it wasn't Better Homes and
Gardens by any means.
Now, 24 years later, God has blessed us with a beautiful home filled with
wonderful things, many of which we didn't even have to buy. People just
gave them to us. We just stuck to serving God and He has rewarded us with
the desires of our heart.
Interviewer: How did you make the transition into pastoring and
David: On May 18, 1983, Rachel and I founded The Light Church
Fellowship in Bartlesville. We have been pastoring since that time and, in
addition, I also travel throughout the United States and the world
teaching and doing music ministry in conjunction with David Oaks
Ministries. We have traveled to Mexico,
Israel, Jordan and
Haiti in connection with ministry. The work in Haiti
and in Israel has been pretty extensive.
In Haiti, we work with a national pastor and, through our church, we have
carried out a lot of food and clothing distribution, children's crusades,
Christian School classes, Adult Literacy classes, pastoral conferences for
Haitian pastors, building programs, toy distribution.
Interviewer: I noticed that your ministry distributes a Hebrew
music CD. What's that all about?
David: We began traveling to Israel in 1987 on a Billye Brim tour
of the Holy Land. As part of that trip we sat in on a "Hebrew In Song"
session which had been arranged for the group. The music captured our
interest and, later, the Lord spoke to me out of Jeremiah 31:7 which says,
"Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations:
publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people, the remnant of
I began to arrange songs, in Hebrew, for a concert honoring one of the
ladies we had met in Israel, Shulamith Katznelson. She was being nominated
for the Nobel Peace Prize. Her nomination was based on the work she had
done building bridges between Arabs and Jews at her Hebrew language
school, Ulpan Akiva, in Netanya. The concert was in Jerusalem. I thought
that a concert, in Hebrew, given by a group of mid-western Christians
would demonstrate exactly what Shulamith was so good at, bringing cultures
together. And, I thought that it would be a one time deal. But, people
heard the music and began issuing Rachel and me invitations to come to
sing in Israel. Most of the music we do has lyrics which are based on
scriptures from the Old Testament , so the songs are Bible based. The
Israelis like it but Christians who pray for Israel like it too.
We have been guests on Israeli television and radio, and have performed
for members of the Israeli Knesset (congress) as well as for leading
educators, army troops, school children and at various community fund
raisers and religious celebrations in Israel. People started wanting to
travel with us to Israel and that developed into Israel Study Tours with
David Oaks. Eventually, I even started composing songs with Hebrew lyrics
and in 2001, our production company, Treetunes Productions, issued our
first Hebrew music CD entitled, Chazac Ve Amatz (Be Strong and
Interviewer: With all the traveling that you do, I bet you've had
some memorable experiences.
David: Oh, lots. In fact, we have had a lot of memorable
experiences right here in Bartlesville. Any time you work with people, you
are going to have memorable experiences.
Rachel: You know, we've slept in grass huts, baptized people in the
ocean, ministered to people involved in voodoo, ridden in army jeeps,
ridden on camels, ridden on horseback through the
red rock canyons of
Petra, been on television, worked with government officials. We've stood
on Mars Hill where Paul preached and walked the streets where Jesus was
hailed as Hosanna. Life has never been dull. But, by far, the most
memorable times are the times we have seen the Lord heal people. Some of
those testimonies are also going to be posted on the web site and I hope
that people will check them out.
Interviewer: It sounds like the two of you keep really busy but
what do you like to do when you get a free moment?
David: Believe it or not we like to travel for leisure as well as
for ministry business. We love to go RVing and we like to ride our
goldwing. We've remodeled most of the places we have lived. And, almost
every year we vacation on the coast of Maine. We really like it up there,
especially eating the lobster.
Interviewer: What do you see as the aim of David Oaks Ministries
for the future?
David: The Lord has expanded our vision for more travel in the
future. I'm just trying to be faithful to the callings that are on my
life. I'm a Bible teacher. I love to teach the word. I also stand in the
office of pastor. And, since I am a pastor, I have a heart for pastors,
especially pastors of small churches.
There's also the musical aspect to my ministry. I've been writing praise
and worship music since 1980. In fact, most of the worship music done in
my church is stuff I have written. So, I know that we will produce more
Prayer is another big part of my life. I believe that every Christian
should spend much time in prayer. That probably comes from my mom and
grandma being so devoted to it. And we will continue to tithe and offer.
More than 10% of every dollar given into our ministry goes out in gifts to
I guess the final aim of my ministry is to honor the gifts of the Holy
Spirit. We've seen God do some truly great things for people as the gifts
of the Spirit have been in operation and, we have a vision for taking that
same power to the Body of Christ as a whole.
Rachel: We believe the same power Jesus used as he was going about
doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil is still
available today. From our point of view, the Book of Acts is still being
written and it's an honor to be a part of it.