Pastor John Ilko
Pastor John’s heart is to live for Jesus every day, and be authentic and transparent in and out of the pulpit. He truly desires for everyone, from all walks of life, to embrace Jesus Christ in a personal relationship as their Lord and Savior, and grow in His love and grace.
Although John grew up the “ Good ole American boy’s life”, thinking this was what life was all about, deep within himself he discovered he lacked something and became hungry and thirsty for something of which this world couldn’t satisfy. The thirst within everyone's soul, a relationship with God. From childhood his mother and he, listened to audio tapes which their family sent to them. He began to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord through the teaching of the Bible by pastor Joe Focht of Calvary Chapel Philadelphia. John grew up going to various local churches, attending Sunday mornings and youth groups during the week. Yet became confused, deceived by his emotions, church emotionalism,religiosity, and was never taught the whole Bible,nor how to have a relationship with God. John never knew who God, Jesus, the Gospel, or what the Bible was all about. Except unknown to him, God was planting seeds of the Gospel and growing him as he listened to Pastor Joe and other Calvary Chapel pastors and teachers as they taught the Bible.
On March 29th 2001, John’s life changed for eternity as he finally came into a personal relationship with His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ while spending the weekend with family in Grand Junction as they attended Calvary Chapel Grand Junction, Colorado. The Holy Spirit convicted John’s heart of his sins and he came to Jesus Christ by faith and was Born Again. John finally understood the Gospel for the first time for himself by the simple verse by verse teaching of the Bible resulting in a transformed reborn life. John finally experienced the grace of God. Having a relationship with God through Jesus, and not following achurch, religion, legalism of man’s religious rules, regulations, tradition, ceremony, or doctrine of man, but simply following Jesus Christ.
While attending University of Wyoming his faith was challenged, yet God’s grace strengthened his faith. John met his now wife Laura in 2007. In 2011, after both graduating, they married. From 2008-2013 John and Laura served at Horizon Christian Fellowship (a affiliated Fellowship of Calvary Chapel) in Laramie, Wyoming. They both served in children Ministry, John led a Home Fellowship, and was a interim pastor in 2013. Within this time the Lord called John and Laura to no longer pursue their careers which they attended college for and to take a venture of faith and serve the Lord in full time ministry and move back to his home town of Craig, Colorado in the summer of 2015 to start Calvary Chapel Craig.
In October of 2015, John and Laura opened their home and John began teaching a Bible study.