Not because of who I am But because of what you’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done But because of who you are…
Still you hear me when I’m calling Lord, you catch me when I’m falling
And you’ve told me who I am. I am yours.1
From a Bible-teaching radio program to preaching in a Chinese congregation, Education Pastor to author and evangelism consultant, it has been a circuitous, grand journey as a bivocational pastor! After working many years in the information technology field, I began to understand God’s call on my life into ministry work. At the time, my children had some significant medical problems that prevented me from going into full-time ministry. So I prepared for part-time ministry work, gaining M.A. in Pastoral Ministry (1999) and Master of Divinity (2001) degrees. Much prayer and God’s intervention led to my first opportunity preaching at the North Atlanta Chinese Baptist Church.
Preaching through a translator for several years (2000-2002) taught me the value of encapsulating any teaching into small, digestible chunks. Someone once described it as “preaching in sound bites.” Whatever you want to label it, making God’s eternal truth clear and accessible to people has been my goal from day one. As Dr. J. Vernon McGee who founded Thru the Bible Radio once said, “You have to get the hay out of the hay loft and down on the barn floor so the cows can graze.”
One of my early encouragers in ministry work (though he did call me an overachiever) was Pastor Ernest Easley who agreed to license me in the ministry at Roswell Street Baptist Church in 2003. Dr. Easley is now the Professor of Evangelism at Union University.
I started WordTruth Today as a Bible teaching program for the radio and broadcast for several years (2002-2004) on WJIE and the Word Broadcasting network. While this was incredibly difficult, and extremely rewarding – truly an honor to have this opportunity – I could not sustain it working part-time. I was the writer, editor, producer, speaker, and sound technician! Maybe I was trying to be an overachiever…
Through a friend in the Noonday Baptist Association, I connected with Pastor Billy Moss and was called to serve Noonday Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia leading in Discipleship and Evangelism. Eventually I was ordained as the Education Pastor there. Over nearly four years of service, the church more than doubled in size. It was a God thing for sure – no human can take credit for the many lives that were changed eternally during those years.
In 2007 a confluence of events brought me to a very troubling decision to leave my position at Noonday. My full-time job was a disaster taking 60-65 hours a week. The growth at Noonday also meant 30-35 hours of part-time work. Adding to the pressure was a bone-marrow transplant one of my children needed that year. Oh, and did I mention the church was building a new facility as well?
Again I found myself unable to sustain the ministry work. Pastor Billy understood the dilemma and going full-time in the ministry work was not an option for me because of the significant insurance needs for my family. So I stepped down and spent the next few years teaching a Sunday School class back at Roswell Street.
Through a connection with another encourager in my life, Roger Christian, I was called to lead the discipleship ministry at Piedmont Church. I lasted a whole year in this role. During this time my full-time job was outsourced. I had to take a traveling job in a consulting that made it impossible to minister locally. Eventually I landed a local job where my work/life/ministry has once again come back into balance.
One of my passions is writing. I started an internet learning center in 1998 called WordTruth Ministries that later expanded into a Christian publishing company WordTruth Press. Running my own publishing company allowed me to develop spiritually significant books that I could make available to people through low-cost channels. During this time I also completed a Doctorate in Theology (2014).
I will continue to write as long as I have breath and the Spirit of the LORD Jesus prompting and inspiring me. Somehow, writing a book helps me to frame and encapsulate significant learnings from my own life. My prayer is that many people will find my books both inspirational and life-changing.
What’s the next ministry gig for me? What is next is always a source of constant prayer and wonder. Whatever my personal desires might be, I have found that God places things in our hands and takes them away as He sees fit – just ask Job. I have to continually remind myself that God has given me a wide variety of skills and experiences so His next assignment is out there – but it could be anything. Be patient and let God lead.
Currently God brought my wife and I to a church in a renewal stage called GracePointe Marietta led by Senior Pastor Tim Childers. I am the Associate Pastor for Discipleship & Outreach (and whatever else Pastor Tim needs!). GracePointe is a loving church that is hungry to reach the community for the LORD Jesus. I am excited to see what God will do as we diligently listen to and follow Him.
My wife of more years than I can remember being alive has been with me through thick and thin. She is my beloved. We have 2 adult children who are both married and doing well. And we have three grandchildren so far (not counting the granddogs). Life is full. But as I’ve often said, “Walk with God and you will never be lost.”
1 Casting Crowns. Who Am I? Written by John Mark Hall. Published by Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Royalty Network. Accessed 19 Dec, 2016 at http://www.metrolyrics.com/who-am-i-lyrics-casting-crowns.html.