The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in
his way [and He busies Himself with his every step].
Psalm 37:23 (The Amplified Bible)
||Destiny unfolds with a single step. When that step is taken by faith in obedience to the Spirit of God, miracles will surely come to pass.
Clinton and Sarah Utterbach embarked upon a journey which began with several specific steps of faith. Each step built upon another, leading ultimately to the launch of a ministry that would proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ through teaching, preaching, and songs heard around the world.
The Utterbachs’ journey of faith together gained momentum the day they decided to embrace the Word of God as absolute truth and committed to apply godly wisdom in every area of life. That decision transformed their marriage and altered the direction of their lives drastically. In 1979, they stepped away from their lucrative careers. Leaving behind home, family, and friends, they accepted and stepped into the call of God by attending RHEMA Bible Training Center in Oklahoma. This move also led to the opportunity for Pastor Clinton to travel and minister in song when the school’s founder Kenneth E. Hagin conducted special meetings. That year would be a time of learning through both precept and example how to live and walk by faith — a quality that would forever remain the hallmark of their ministry.
In 1980, the Utterbachs returned home and founded Redeeming Love Christian Center in the living room of their Hackensack, New Jersey home. Within a few short months, they grew from initially only a handful of people to a congregation of 170 members. In 1981, they began conducting services in a chapel on the campus of a former bible college. Later that same year, the word of the Lord came to them saying their vision was too low. As they lifted up their sights God began a new work through them and in their behalf.
As the young RLCC congregation grew, so did the scope of the pastors’ vision, resulting in the development of a new radio outreach. Three years later, they began negotiations for the purchase of a 52,000 square foot dinner theater with a 3,000 seat auditorium on 18.8 acres of land in Nanuet, New York. The circular auditorium of the dinner theater was the exact likeness of an image the Lord showed Pastor Clinton in a vision when he received his call into fulltime ministry.
That image galvanized the Utterbachs’ faith to persevere in proclaiming God’s promise to them concerning the building, despite the obstacles and setbacks which threatened to vanquish their vision. In 1985, that original vision spoke and did not lie: the RLCC family finalized their purchase of the Nanuet dinner theater, renovated it, and moved into it as their church’s new home just as the Lord had promised. Over the next fifteen years, RLCC’s growth seemed explosive and exponential in every area of the ministry: the congregation swelled to nearly 2,200 members; and, the radio outreach, Listen to Jesus, expanded to 30 stations — 3 of which were in the Caribbean. During this time, Love Christian Academy—an accredited school for grades K –12—was instituted. During its ten years of operation, Love Christian Academy won numerous awards for academic excellence and its received nationwide recognition for outstanding scholastic achievement.
In this same time period, the songwriting and music ministry of Pastor Clinton began to make an international impact upon Gospel music. A prolific songwriter, as well as an accomplished pianist, vocalist, and choir director, Pastor Clinton’s songs and recordings with his group The Praisers were renowned worldwide. His song, “The Name of the Lord,” became an instant classic and remains a treasured addition to worship medleys in numerous languages.
In 1996, the Utterbachs’ vision to strengthen the Body of Christ found further definition when the Lord directed their steps to purchase a 53-acre campground in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. Named Redeeming Love Christian Village, it was purchased specifically as a family-oriented location. RLCV was renovated with residential cabins, and a conference center containing a chapel, banquet hall, and meeting rooms. This property also reflected the Utterbachs’ vision to provide ministers with a restful atmosphere in which to study and pray. In 2002, the chapel became the site of regular church services as the campus of the Redeeming Love Christian Center at the Village.
Advancing into the new millennium, the ministry of Pastors Clinton and Sarah continued to extend and maintain a steady reach throughout the earth via music and electronic media. A new live, call-in radio broadcast, The Choice is Yours with Pastor Sarah was added to the programming lineup. Their influence further expanded through the printed page as Pastor Sarah began to share her inspired writings in the daily devotional magazine, Horizons Unlimited, which was published on a quarterly basis.
In 2005, after an extended illness, Pastor Clinton fell asleep in Jesus. Although his presence was indeed missed, Pastor Sarah continued to lead the congregation forward. Committed to go the distance, Pastor Sarah and the members of RLCC set their focus on following Jesus to fulfill their mandate from heaven.
In 2006, by the direction of the Holy Spirit, Pastor Sarah installed her spiritual sons as the new co-pastors with her in leadership at RLCC. Both Edward Pfundstein and Gregory Carr had served and trained in the ministry under the leadership of the Utterbachs for more than 20 years each. Having proven themselves to be diligent, faithful, skillful, and committed, Pastor Ed and Pastor Greg entered their God-ordained place alongside Pastor Sarah to lead the congregation of RLCC into the future.
Today, the pastors of RLCC are as a three-fold cord. Their unified leadership is guiding the ministry into a new season that is surely its strongest and best, as the vision continues to unfold according to the will of God.