Remembering Steve Szoke

Steve passed away Tuesday.  For those not in the loop, Steve was 32 years old, founding pastor at Impact Christian Church in Merrillville, and fought cancer valiantly for over a year, but none of the treatments worked.

Steve and I went to school together at Lincoln Christian College in the mid-90’s.  The truth is, we didn’t have that much in common on the surface.  His interests were far different from mine.  We had two different groups of friends.  I lived in Titus Hall — he lived in the rival Timothy Hall.  We’ve both served in ministry in Chicagoland for 10+ years and most of those were within a 15 minute drive of each other.

Steve launched an innovative church (Impact Christian Church) two years ago that unapologettically used one of his passions and skills — professional wrestling — to attract a crowd to hear the good news of Jesus.  Honestly, I’m almost sure I laughed the first time I heard it.  I’ve since repented of that.  I’m serious about that.  God has used Steve and that church in powerful ways.

I learned Steve’s wife was reading emails to him as he grew extremely weak last week.  I sent Steve the following…

Hi Steve (and Candy),

 

This is probably one email among many, so I’ll keep this brief, but had to write.

 

I just want to say how much respect I have for you.  You have taught many people about true faith and what is important in life through this illness, including me.  And I’m genuinely fascinated by Impact Christian Church and the way God is using it to reach people most churches will not (certainly, ones Suncrest will not).  I am a big fan.

 

Greg

Today, I’m thankful for my brother in Christ, his ministry to people who started out as far from God, but now know Jesus.  I’m praying for his wife, his daughter, and his parents.  This family has made a kingdom-impact in our area.

~ by Greg Lee on May 29, 2008.

2 Responses to “Remembering Steve Szoke”

  1. Greg,
    I have known the Szokes from the time Steve was born. Our 2 families have gone through a lot together. Steve was instumental in making a youth group of 6 kids into a group of 20-30 kids by inviting friends from school. Out of that whole group kids 3 became ministers, one a music minister, one is a doctor in Ecuador, and 3-4 are active with Impact. I will miss Steve very much, and I Pray that the people in the Chuch will continue the work he has started. I am also Praying for the family to get through this rough time.

    Cliff Cary

  2. I was part of steve’s youth group at maple lawn christian church in joliet for many years.from 6th grade or so to the day he left mlcc.i visited him n his youth group in crown point and even attended impact once.the lowest point of my life was attending steve’s funeral,where the best man i ever met in my life,one of God’s sharpest tools,didnt respond to me when i said his name.steve szoke was a legend in the kingdom of God with an unbelievable way of gettin thru to people.a true disciple.rest in peace steve

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