Called into Ministry
This journey of life that I am on has many blessings that God has given me along the way. As a kid I grew up with two older brothers in a divorced household at four years old when my earthly father left and moved to Florida. Some would say that something like this would be devastating for someone my age at the time but looking back now, I see it as a blessing and God’s purpose in my life. I had so many father figures in my life including my mother’s father grandpa Charles Booth. He was such an inspiration to me because of his dedication to his family, church, and the police force. He was the first person that told me about Jesus at a young age but I was saved at my aunt Ginny Rolfe’s church at six years old October 5th, 1990 in Barboursville, WV. Even though I was only six years old at the time, I still remember every moment of that day like it were yesterday and exactly what Jesus said to me. As I progressed in age through middle school and high school, I was bullied a lot because of my small size but also because I wouldn’t fight back because of my walk with Christ and others knew that and would take advantage of it. I had always been around men of God my entire life, which helped me a lot to stay motivated and continue to focus on God’s purpose for my life. I also found time to stay busy with attending church and playing any sport I could because my home life wasn’t the best sometimes but I felt protected and a part of normalcy when doing those things. See, I have never fell out of church, which is a blessing in itself but sometimes I wanted to and honestly it could have been easy to with all the struggle I had but there were Godly men, like Keith Auxier, KW Leadman, Ron Duty, and many others that never gave up on me and my brothers but most of all God never gave up on me and still had work for me to do.
As a teenager I was always involved with church activities like mission trips, vacation Bible schools, master club competitions, and attending regular services throughout the week and on Sunday morning, and Sunday nights as well. The culture was way different then on allowing athletes to not have activities on church nights so it helped me to stay on task of my Bible studies while still being able to play sports. My senior year of high school was one of the lowest times of my life yet was one of the best times of my life as well. I was given news that I had to sit out half the season of football because of my grades from the previous year the day before the first game of the season, which caused me to be very depressed and question how this was part of God’s plan for my life but even though I could not play I stayed on the team and practiced everyday to show others that when things happen in life that doesn’t make sense that quitting is not the answer but working hard to get through it with God’s strength is. This set back was just the setup that God had for me in my life before I knew about it. If it weren’t for me sitting out half the season, I may have never met my wife that same year because at the time I met her I would have been watching film in the locker room after practice instead of going to her house with my friend Josh after his back surgery. God was moving in my life, yet I was still depressed and somewhat embarrassed because I was unable to play football because I messed up my grades and was afraid that it would hurt my ability to form a relationship with the girl I just met. We started dating on her birthday October 14, 2001 and I started to attend her church within a few weeks of dating, which I got a lot of push back from my Baptist church family that I grew up in and was called a trader and false profit, etc. which did not help with the depression issues I had already had. In March of 2002 at a district event called Blast, I rededicated my life to Jesus and finally allowed him to take away the depression and sorrow that I felt for myself on worldly things alongside my girlfriend and new church family from South Point Nazarene. When I arrived back home my aunt Ginny had passed away and I took it hard but, in my bedroom, clinging to her son I told him what happened at Blast and that I felt her on the church van telling me she had passed and that she was in Heaven. If I hadn’t of left for that trip when she was in the hospital at the time would I have allowed Jesus to take away my depression when my aunt died? See, God had a purpose for my life at that moment and he had other things in stored for my life as well before I even knew what was coming.
My first calling to ministry happened in the summer of 2002 in Arizona on a mission’s trip. God spoke to me at a Navaho dance that we attended one night when I ran into people, I had known many years at the Baptist church I grew up in that worked with teenagers. Keep in mind, we were in Arizona not Proctorville, OH. Weeks before I prayed that God give me a sign of my purpose and direction, he would want me to go in the ministry and this was solidarity of that purpose. When I returned to South Point, I started working with the teenagers in a garage with Todd Pitsenbarger. I have been in the teen ministry ever since and seen many highs and lows during these times but it has strengthened me in my walk with Christ and my passion for young people. You would think that with being in ministry that long that God only has one purpose for your life and that we at times could ignore other directions he wants us to go in and I will admit that many times I always felt that this would be it and that I would only be in youth ministry forever but a weird occurrence happened to me one night in a dream about a homeless man sitting on steps in front of a church crying. In the dream I couldn’t recognize the man’s face until it began to get clearer and it was me. It may sound strange but I prayed about it to God to give me an understanding of what it meant and it wasn’t until one morning while driving to work while listening to Walk FM radio that God spoke with the daily verse that Derek, which was a friend and our old youth pastor reading from Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ That was clarification enough for me that this was another call to ministry with a vision of helping the least of these in the surrounding communities of South Point with the forming of Synergy Outreach in June of 2020 during the biggest pandemic our country and world has faced. The Synergy name was formed when Derek and I were working in youth ministry together with another local youth pastor Mark. I always joke that only God would start a non profit in the middle of a pandemic but in reality, it was another step he led me into doing for His purpose.
Synergy Outreach is One Church, One Purpose to tell others about One way where no matter what denomination you are or age, we are all one body of believers of Jesus and that message needs to be spread louder than ever in our communities. Once started as a youth only ministry has turned into as an outreach to all people ministry which brings me to my new calling that God has in stored for me inside the family of the Nazarene church. This calling wasn’t a miraculous dream or a vision but it was a simple one word that God spoke to me at a recent Synergy Event in saying the word Church. As I went to the alter to help teenagers that were praying, little did I know that God would speak to me in that way of calling me to work with believers of Christ just as much as non-believers in pursuing to become an Evangelism/Outreach Pastor within the Church of the Nazarene. It wasn’t until then I realized that believers need guidance just as much as non-believers do and the accountability importance is so lost in the church today and maintaining relationships within the church will help to make disciples of all nations. Ephesians 4:7-8 and 11-13 says that “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore, He says: When ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men. And He himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” God has called me to equip others for service within the body of Christ in the church while still helping the work with the youth but I also know that my role is changing to more of a discipleship position in helping believers in the church to become more spiritually mature while encouraging all sorts of ages until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, (Ephesians 4:12-13)
Again, God has truly blessed me a lot with a marriage of 14 years and love with the same woman for 20 years and two wonderful kids but my obligation, not goal from God is to now, while having my families support and mentorship and guidance from pastors and believers within the church of the Nazarene and other denominations around me is to apply for a local license within the church of the Nazarene and in doing so have more of an understanding of the credentials necessary to fulfill future pastoral District licensure in evangelism/outreach. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, Philippians 4:13.