What caused you to want to be a Pastor?
If I’m to be honest, I never wanted to be a Pastor. I accepted Christ at the age of 31 and if you would have asked me then if I would be a Pastor one day, the answer would have been a resounding: “are you crazy?” I had worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for over 12 years and had every intention of staying thirty years and drawing a full retirement. But, God had other plans for me. About three or four years after I accepted Christ, He revealed the need for youth workers in our church and my wife and I answered the call as a Bi-vocational youth Pastor. Then in 2008, I began to feel the call to preach the Word. The rest is history. God called, I answered, and He used me to do His bidding. So, basically the answer is “God.”
As a pastor, how do you balance church, your family, and your personal walk with God?
This is the greatest struggle for any Pastor. At first, I allowed the church to take up every minute of my time. I thought that I had to be at everything since I was the Pastor. It wasn’t long that I began to feel the stress of the job weigh me down. I quickly figured out that God had set an order of things for a reason. He comes first, family comes second, the church comes third. I start off most days in my office praying and studying the Word. It’s vital that I am filled with the Word so I can impart it to the people. I also keep a weekly calendar and I try to make sure I don’t overload myself. Finally, I take vacations. I went three years without missing a Sunday because I thought I had to be there. But, now I realize I must take time for my wife and myself. It took a while, but God revealed the right path for success without too much stress.
What is your church’s vision for people?
Matthew 22:37-40 says, “And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Our vision statement is “Loving God and Loving People.” So, the answer to the question is simply, “we plan on Loving People.” Loving them to Salvation through Christ. Loving them in fellowship with fellow believers. Loving them in Discipleship through biblical training. And, loving them into service for the Kingdom.
Which Bible character do you relate to the most, and why?
I most relate to Paul. Paul was a person who was determined to tear down Christianity because he was focused on religion. While he knew who God was, he, like most other religious leaders of the time missed the Messiah. He was so blinded by his religion that he couldn’t see the Son of God right in front of him. I was so blinded by my sin, I couldn’t see Jesus. But like Paul, I had an encounter with Christ. Paul encountered Him on a road to Damascus, and I encountered Him at a men’s meeting on October 9th , 2001. And just like Paul, the scales fell from my eyes and I could truly see for the first time in my life. He was then able to use me to spread His truth.
What does a typical Sunday morning at your church look like?
The first word that comes to mind is “friendly.” Yes, while we have a lot of pre-service rehearsing, and lots of preparation at the various service areas, what really sticks out about Madisonville Christian Fellowship is that it’s a friendly, welcoming experience. We believe people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. When you walk into our church you will find a microcosm of our community. We have people from various ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds and they are all engaged in Love. So, the short answer is, it looks like Love.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to grow in their relationship with Jesus?
In the song He Lives, the chorus says “He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and He talks with me Along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives: He lives within my heart.” To grow closer to Christ, you must realize that He is with you every step of every day. He is in your heart through the Spirit. Yes, you need to be in the Word. Yes, you need to be in prayer. Yes, you need to be in church. But, most importantly you need that daily walk with the Son of God. Once you realize He is with you everywhere you will begin to talk to Him in every circumstance. And when you begin to have that daily communication, He will fill you up in a way that causes you to grow deeper in His love.
What is something that the Lord has been teaching you recently?
The decisions I make don’t have to please people, they only must please God. Human beings automatically want to please each other. We long for approval from our peers. If I have learned anything over the years of my ministry it’s that you can’t please everyone on every occasion. Our decisions must be focused on pleasing God and not our congregations. Even if something isn’t popular; if it’s biblical, it is necessary. As a teacher of God’s word, James tells us we will be held to a higher accountability by God. Lately, the Spirit has been reminding me that God’s will far outweighs man’s.