Dr. John A. Rathbun, Jr.
Dr. John A. Rathbun, Jr., was born April 23, 1932, to John A. and Rose L. Rathbun in the city of Flint, Michigan. He was the fourth child born into the Rathbun family of six siblings. His father and mother became devout Christians before he was born after his mother was miraculously healed of tuberculosis. His father became a pastor which later would serve him when he himself would pastor his own church.
Dr. John Rathbun had taught himself to play the piano by the time he was four. By the age of eleven, he was playing for his father's church. Later, he taught himself to play the organ, bass fiddle and the guitar. At sixteen, John preached his first sermon at his father's church. It would prove to be a blessing for John and his brother, Rufus, to have a father that blazed the trail for both of them. It was through their father and mother’s prayers that they have both spent their entire lives in the great field of winning souls for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It was the same year that Dr. John Rathbun was also given the opportunity to travel with an evangelist, because of his musical abilities. This gave him a great desire to evangelize within the United States when he was eighteen years of age.
When Dr. John Rathbun was seventeen, he had a vision of his calling to be in full time ministry. He received his exhorter's License with The Church of God, which was a big help in the opening of many church doors for him at his young age to minister in. After a year of successful revivals, John received his "Ministers' Licensed Certificate." This opened the door for him to minister in other avenues of the ministry. During this time Dr. John Rathbun served as Youth Director for the East Flint Church of God in Flint, Michigan, as just a teenager himself.
After marrying at eighteen years of age, he pastored his first church in Michigan. At the age of nineteen, and within the first year, the Church attendance increased to over one hundred people. Within the second year the church had gained another hundred members. He also attended college and earned his Bachelor’s Degree. Even with that great success in pastoring, there was still a burning desire within to evangelize. Dr. John Rathbun went back out on the evangelistic ministry while traveling throughout Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia, preaching Jesus and loving every minute of it.
Because of the additions to the growing family of three, he once again settled down to pastoring in 1955. This time he founded the Church of God Church in Owosso, Michigan, starting with only thirty-five people. Within his first year the church grew to over a hundred members. Seeing this remarkable growth gain, he remained there for the next five years. In 1960 he was offered a larger church in the Church of God in Muskegon, Michigan. When that church also exceeded over one hundred members, he built a larger facility, with a day care center and an extended ministry at the nursing home in the city. He remained there for another ten years, but because of family issues that arose he resigned from the church of his dreams and took thirteen years of absence from the ministry.
In 1982 after attending a conference in Oklahoma Rev. John A. Rathbun moved away from Michigan to Oklahoma and later married Rev. Sharon Keith, his second wife, and joined her in pasturing Faith Cathedral in Cushing, Oklahoma. Together, they also opened the Faith Academy. They were married thirty-four years in August. Both of them still had a desire to evangelize, so they gave up their church that Dr. Sharon had founded and went back on the road. While on the road they moved to Texas for the next seventeen years. While Dr. John lived in Texas he recorded an album of soft, Christian instrumental music for worship.
They became a great team together for the kingdom of God for thirty-four years, traveling across America and abroad into fifty three countries. In 1999 while on the evangelist road, Dr. John and Dr. Sharon began to grieve over the lack of knowledge and devotion they saw in the ministry. This caused them to see the need for a training facility which would be the birthing of Hebron Life Bible College and Seminary. They both went back to college to earn their Master’s Degree and their Doctorate Degree in Theology graduating with the highest of honors. They also graduated from the Billy Graham School of Evangelism. Dr. John drew the plans for the Hebron Life Bible College and Seminary. He oversaw the construction of the building in every detail. Dr. John A. Rathbun became the President of the Hebron Life Bible College and Seminary in 2006 and also pastured Hebron Life Church.
Dr. John A. Rathbun raised six children, Michael Rathbun, Janine Wheat, Mark Ratchbun, Rebecca Bolinger, Angela Downing and Roberta Sharp. He has nineteen grandchildren and fifteen great grandchildren.
Services are under the direction of Havenbrook Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, June 10th at 10:00 a.m at The Revival for Christ Church in Moore, Oklahoma. Online condolences may be shared at www.havenbrookfuneralhome.com