Just a stone’s throw from the site of The Battle of Little Bighorn, Foursquare Pastor Ken Pretty-On-Top fosters a growing church on a Crow Nation Native American reservation in Montana that has become a lighthouse to the community and to the nations.
As an integral member of the Crow community, Pastor Ken wasn’t always the Nation’s pastor. But as a Vietnam War veteran and a high-level businessman with great success in the mining industry, Ken has always been a leader—and a humble one, too. Like many in his church, he credits the current fruit he is seeing in his community to the seeds planted long ago.
In the 1920s, Nellie Pretty-Eagle Stewart traveled from Crow Nation land to Los Angeles to meet the founder of The Foursquare Church, Aimee Semple McPherson. When Nellie returned—filled with the Holy Spirit—to Montana, she shared the Good News with her own people in ways that resonated within Crow culture.
Today, Crow Nation is among the first Native American nations to declare itself a Christian nation, notes Ted Vail, associate director of Foursquare Missions International (FMI) and area missionary to North America. Pentecost is radiating from Spirit of Life Lighthouse for the Nations (Crow Agency Foursquare Church) to nearby nations, and a new generation of leaders is being discipled and developed.
Leaders even in faraway countries, such as FMI Missionary Travis Mielonen in Poland, credit their increased Spirit-filled ministry and depth of relationship with the Lord to time spent serving the Crow Nation alongside Ken and his congregation in the Northwest District. In addition to pastoring his congregation, Ken serves as one of Foursquare’s lead Native elders, and is chairman of the denomination’s Native American Council.
Even beyond this reservation, where the Lord’s presence reigns, Ken’s quiet words bring life to any weary ministry leaders. “You don’t see the response right away,” he says of ministry work. “But try and be faithful in everything that you do. God sees that. And my advice is just: Hang in there. Keep moving. Keep going. Keep your eyes on the Lord.”
That’s what Ken has done and continues to do, inviting fellow churches to come to a place where outsiders are typically not welcome: a Native American reservation, his home. There, he is developing leaders through service, worship and opportunities to build trusting relationships with a people group who have witnessed so many promises unmet.
Lives are being changed on the land where seeds were sown long ago. As local leaders and those visiting learn: “Be faithful in the little things because there’s more to come,” Ken affirms.