By CHM board member Jeff Yount
Editor’s note: This information was published in the November 2019 issue of Heartfelt Magazine, CHM’s monthly magazine that provides CHM membership-related tips and tricks, medical advice from doctors, testimonies from CHM members, and more. Please refer to the CHM Guidelines and applicable web pages for the most up-to-date information regarding CHM membership, sharing eligibility, and ministry news.
Christian testimonies quite often begin with, ‘I gave my life to the Lord at a young age, but then fell away before finding my way back when I was older.
Not so for CHM board member Jeff Yount, who gave his heart to Christ at age six, and never looked back.
“I had a very transformative experience,” he says. “I never lost faith or departed from it. I was brought up in a Christian family, and from my earliest years, I wanted to serve Christ who I knew in my heart was my Savior. I wanted to pursue a relationship with Him.”
Jeff was born in 1951 in Evansville, Ind., to a pastor, John L. Yount, and his wife, Virble (“When your family has 14 children, parents run out of names,” Jeff says). He grew up in southern Indiana, in Petersburg, Linton and French Lick (the home of basketball legend Larry Bird, who later starred at Indiana State University and with the Boston Celtics).
“Some of my best friends became Larry’s best friends and many of his family members attended our church. While I was young, I played basketball with those guys and I remember sensing that they were all better at it than me.”
After graduating from Benjamin Bosse High School in Evansville, he earned his undergraduate degree in biology at Asbury University in Wilmore, Ky., and went on to study at Florida Atlantic University and Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa. While on this path, he married his wife, Andrea.
“Throughout my college days I was indecisive about my career goals, and while doing graduate work I experienced financial need. Andrea and I had started a family, so I worked in construction to make ends meet. I enjoyed the immediate gratification of fixing things, building things and trying to make them perfect. It was rewarding and launched me into a construction career.”
He worked for three years while in his 30s on construction projects in New York City.
“We worked in all the boroughs and did a ton of demolition, masonry, mono-coating (fireproofing the steel). We also worked on some of the high-rise buildings. We did gold-leaf painting for the Archdiocese of New York. At times, we had crews of 40-50 men.
“There was excitement of being in the city, working on large projects and doing high-end work. I also learned a lot about the world and became brokenhearted by the corruption that’s out there.”
He had one near-death experience in his construction career, when he fell 21 feet from a slippery roof onto concrete.
“I had over 500 pieces of broken bone, blood clots in my lungs, and I wasn’t expected to live,” Jeff says. “My faith in God was strong and I believed He would bring me through that near-death experience. And He did. He performed many miracles. It was a life-changing experience—that’s for sure—and it helped define my priorities, such as not always being focused on business and material pursuits.”
Jeff, who has an entrepreneurial spirit, has owned The Decorating Center (Mifflinburg, Pa.) for 31 years, a home center that occupies a 30,000 square-foot space with kitchen and bath products, flooring, furniture and accessories. “I’ve been blessed with many wonderful employees throughout the years who have helped us be successful.”
His business is a passion, but not the passion.
“At 50 years old I knew God wanted me to scale back on construction: He was calling me into a pastoral ministry,” says Jeff, who also attended Hobe Sound Bible College in Hobe Sound, Fla., for two years. “Years later, after I went into business, a Free Methodist superintendent, who was a friend of a friend, stopped by. He asked if I would consider going over to State College, Pa., and be an interim pastor. God blessed the work with spiritual and numerical growth until we could hand it over to a denominational pastor. After that we interim pastored another church in Huntingdon, Pa. in a similar situation.”
Jeff is licensed and ordained through The International Fellowship of Bible Churches. Around 11 years ago, he and Andrea felt called to open a mission church near their home in Vicksburg, Pa. “We’re blessed to have been involved in ministry in our community and are still pastoring that church today.”
Jeff is a father of three and grandfather of 13. “I had a wonderful mom and dad. Dad prioritized God in his life. Mom taught us faith at a young age and instilled it in us. They were great, positive, godly influences.
“The Bible says do everything to the glory of God,” Jeff says. “We must never consider business or other possessions as our own. God gives us opportunities, and we have a responsibility to spread the Gospel and love and disciple people. Business, like family or church, is another forum through which we glorify God and do His will.”