Always ready to share the Good News: The life of Terry Puett
By Dave Arden | Sep 23, 2021
Terry Lee Puett went to meet the Lord he faithfully served as a pastor and shepherd for over 50 years on Aug. 26.
Pastor Terry was an author, adventurer, teacher, father, gifted evangelist, beloved grandfather, martial arts grandmaster and storyteller extraordinaire.
Born December 5, 1943, Puett pushed the limits of life. He served as the lead pastor of eight different churches, wrote more than 30 books and shared Christ with more people in his lifetime than anyone can count.
He was currently serving as pastor of discipleship at Redemption Road Church in Waddell.
“Dad would do almost anything to lead someone to Christ,” recalls Puett’s son Andrew, pastor of Redemption Road Church. Puett’s favorite question to ask people to connect them to God was, “If you were to die today and stand before God, what would you say to Him?” His combination of compassion, determination, biblical skill and relational connectivity fostered opportunities to lead people to Jesus in abundance.
Moreover, Puett had a real passion to see believers expand their faith in order to become mature in Christ. His most influential book, The Spirit Controlled Life, is a descriptive treatise on how to understand a life that is guided by the Holy Spirit.
“Terry Puett found me at my lowest point in my life and lifted me up by demonstrating the unconditional love of Jesus Christ,” said Joshua Potts, a Christian brother whom Puett was discipling. “The man was my lighthouse as I sailed my lost ship back to port. His discipleship training guided me through shedding my old sin nature and building my faith once again in God the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Puett and his wife, Linda, raised four sons, Stephen, Matthew, Philip and Andrew, all of whom are serving in pastoral ministry. “Dad was most proud that all of his sons were serving the Lord in leadership,” Andrew said.
Puett served as senior pastor at Lake Center Bible Church in Portage, Michigan, for 19 years. Under his leadership, the church experienced substantial growth. In addition, Puett served at Faith Bible Church in Vineland, New Jersey; Deckerville Bible Church in Deckerville, Michigan; CrossPointe Church in Pueblo, Colorado; and four other churches.
Known as a gifted orator, Puett had a rare gift of expressive communication.
“He would quite frequently share humor that would cause people to laugh out loud,” son Andrew said. “Still, he could take a difficult passage of Scripture and he would make it understandable so that you could apply it directly to your life.”
More than just a great speaker, Puett invested much of his time into developing relationships with high school students and youth. He taught a karate class every Thursday night for years, and he used this as a platform to share the Lord with many young people. Many of those students grew in their faith and are now serving the Lord around the world.
Puett, ever looking for opportunities for outreach, took a group of 25 students to Guyana in 1996.
“Everybody thought he was crazy,” Andrew said, “but the students respected him so much.” Puett visited Guyana many times through the years. His son Stephen spent a decade there as a missionary.
Relentlessly looking to share God’s Word, Puett’s favorite passage was 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
The ministry of Terry Puett was marked by creativity, faithfulness and remarkable diligence to touch the lives of everybody with whom he came in contact. Few pastors take up martial arts and excel to the level of 7th-degree black belt in taekwando, but Puett was always hungry to learn more. He taught his family the importance of being a lifelong learner.
“For a demonstration in taekwondo, he would take a samurai sword and cut a cucumber in half on my stomach, while blindfolded,” a former student said.
Being ready to share with others about standing before God and being ready to stand before God himself, ironically, was just the attribute he needed most when COVID-19 suddenly sent him to the hospital.
When his turn finally came to meet the Father, he was ready.
Dave Arden, a freelance writer living in Cottonwood, is a member of Aletheia Church in Sedona.