John grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. Leaving home at age 15, he earned his living as a motorcycle mechanic. Disillusionment with life during the late 1960’s led him into a world of oriental religion, yoga, and LSD. In contrast, Doris grew up in a wonderful Christian home in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. As the firstborn of five children, she was involved in numerous domestic responsibilities. Familial compassion and practicality are two of her fundamental character traits.
While dealing drugs on the streets of Memphis, Tennessee in 1971, the director of Teen Challenge told John of the life-changing power of Jesus. That night he surrendered his life to Christ, was instantly delivered from drugs, and entered the Teen Challenge program. He went on to graduate Mid-America Teen Challenge in 1972. Later that year, he enrolled at Trinity Bible College (TBC) in Ellendale, North Dakota. John met Doris during a TBC outreach ministry and they were married on September 1,1973.
John graduated Trinity Bible College in 1975 with a degree in Theology and became a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God. He then joined the staff of Mid-America Teen Challenge in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where he served as Bible teacher and counselor. In 1977, John enlisted in the United States Air Force as a Chaplain’s Assistant. Their first child, Naomi, was born at the Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi base hospital on August 9, 1977. In 1978, while on active duty at Bergstrom AFB, Texas, John was ordained by the Assemblies of God.
After this tour of duty, John continued his graduate studies at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri, completing his first MA in Biblical Studies in 1980. While attending AGTS, he served as the Activities Director of Maranatha Retirement Village .
John joined the staff at Rockford First Assembly in 1981, where he taught Bible at Christian Life Bible College and also served as the Social Services Director of Christian Life Retirement Center while Doris worked at a local bank. Their second child, Mark, was born on November 23, 1982.
In 1984, they were invited to join the administration of Central Indian Bible College (CIBC) in Mobridge, South Dakota and became nationally appointed Assemblies of God US missionaries to our Native Americans that same year. Doris served as office manager and John as Academic Dean and professor of New Testament studies. Their involvement in pre-marital and marital counseling among the Cheyenne, Crow, Lakota, Dakota, and other tribes increased their awareness of the need to strengthen Native marriages.
After three years at CIBC, the Lord called John and Doris to pastor Native American Assembly of God Church in Winslow, Arizona. In Navajoland, they became increasingly aware of the need to see Native marriages strengthened. Because this church family was multi-tribal, they counseled many Navajos, Apaches, Hopis, Cherokees, Pueblos, and Zunis.
In 1989, they were invited to join American Indian College (AIC) in Phoenix. Doris served at AIC for eleven years as the Administrative Assistant to three different presidents. John was a professor of New Testament studies for fifteen years. While teaching at AIC, he completed a second MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California, in 2000.
John and Doris founded Native American Marriage Enhancement, Inc. (NAME) in 2003 to provide marital workshops and on-line studies to help Native Americans grow successful marriages. John completed his doctorate at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in May 2007. His dissertation was “Native American Marital Communication Skills.” This professional degree continues to open many doors of ministry opportunity on reservations nationwide.
Doris worked for several different banks and her employers have all expressed great appreciation for her expertise and diligence. God has gifted her in the areas of finances, stewardship, and budgeting. Throughout her career, she continues to empower others to stay out of debt.
In 1989, the Knoles family became members of Dream City Church (formerly Phoenix First Assembly). They have been affiliated with the National Association of Marriage Enhancement (NAME) since its inception. This global ministry now has more than 260 marital counseling centers around the world. John and Doris are a Certified Care Couple with NAME. In their Native American Marriage Enhancement workshops, couples are encouraged to become Certified Care Couples.
The Dream City Church family were extremely empathetic and compassionate when they lost their only granddaughter, Anna Marie in September 2003. As a result of this terrible tragedy, the Holy Spirit has performed many miracles in the Knoles family. Naomi was planning to minister to women with similar losses. Her powerful testimony was published in the April, 26, 2009, edition of Today’s Pentecostal Evangel.
It was a terrible tragedy when Naomi took her own life in 2015 as a result of a second horrific and unexpected Post Partum Psychosis episode due to a miscarriage. Since then, John and Doris have shared their story of hope in the midst of tragedy.
Their son, Mark, is a successful web designer in Phoenix. Both Naomi and Mark graduated Grand Canyon University with honors.
Through their marital workshops, Bible distribution, and web site studies, John and Doris have seen firsthand that Jesus alone is the hope of the First Nations – and every nation. Their intense devotion to each other is the backbone of Native American Marriage Enhancement.