Lopes excited about Lone Star Bible Church pastorate

Monday, August 2, 2004
Denny and Arline Lopes

Pastor Denny Lopes is known to some folks as Dennis the Menace.

He doesn't explain why he came by that moniker, but Lopes is excited about assuming the pastorate of Lone Star Bible Church, located about six miles south of Eureka Springs on Highway 23.

The congregation of Lone Start Bible Church is unusual in that it has members from Berryville, Bella Vista and Rogers, as well as around Beaver Lake and the hills of Eureka Springs. "We were really surprised when we got here," Lopes said.

Early on he had a really encouraging visit by newlyweds looking to partake of the Lord's Table, which Lone Star does each Sunday, at a Bible Church. "They drove all the way from Branson to do so," Lopes said, "on their honeymoon."

Lopes likes to meet folks on their own turf, "more like home fellowship," he said. "People with sour church experiences or the unchurched."

All too often, he said, man gets in the way of the church and changes the dynamics which the Lord intended. "So we have a heart for people ---- since we have moved 21 times ---- who have just moved and are trying to establish themselves in a community."

Community is something Lopes believes is missing in today's society. As an example, he recalls when he and wife Arline lived in Arizona, they thought everyone was retired and would turn out for a potluck dinner. "But they were too busy," he said. "Busyness and envy are the two factors that are most damaging to the church," he opined.

Lopes describes his style as that of a youth pastor. "When I teach the word, there are a lot of times the light bulb turns on for me. I love analogy and illustration, like a youth pastor, so they can go out and take and apply it in their lives. ... I'm not preaching at them, but walking with them."

Arline loves teaching women and opening their eyes to things, he said.

Accountability is important to him, and accountability is at work in his relationship with Arline. He describes instances when it seems God is telling him to tell his church to do something. Coming home, Arline may tell him he needs to do it. "I may tell her that the Lord laid it on my heart for them, and she'll say if I preach it, I had better practice it. She's my accountability partner."

Lopes came to the ministry somewhat circuitously. A certified public accountant upon graduating form college, he worked as a comptroller and in corporate accounts in industry and with a number of private CPAs for 25 years. He was called to the ministry in 1990 and pursued some academic training. But, he said, "I'm like Ian Thomas, who says he has a DB from the BSBS ---- dirty Bible from the bedside Bible school. I have more of that than a chain of academics."

Early in his preaching, a pastor asked him to join the staff, saying he had a heart for it. "I had the urge to get from behind the desk and adding machine tape. It was not a job, but a call. For the first time I was content with my giftedness and my call, rather than just being good at something.

"I am good at accounting, I tested high and succeeded, but the Lord said for me to do something significant rather than successful."

Most recently, Lopes was director of finance for Calvary Bible College in Kansas City, where he attended seminary. "I got this call in the middle of all that."

Denny and Arline are still in the process of getting settled, and Denny is looking forward to doing some brainstorming with men of Lone Star at a breakfast this Saturday.

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