Recipient, Apprentice, & Messenger of Grace
At just seven years of age, I first came face to face with my desperate need for God’s grace. In the subsequent decades, the path of my life has been from one painful reminder to the next in a growing recognition of my desperate need and God’s abundant provision. As my understanding and recognition have increased, God has lit a passion within me to infuse families with the wonder of grace.
This is an outline of my journey in more than 30 years of ministry. For my professional resume, click here.
Summer 2019 – Completion of the Master of Arts in Christian Leadership
Beginning in the Winter 2012 term, I have worked on this degree while pastoring full-time, earning a 3.42 GPA. While a lot of this program was completed through online or hybrid courses (approximately 45 hours), I was able to be on the Dallas campus one day per week through the 2015-16 academic year. While I would like to have done more hours in residence, it has been a tremendous experience.
September 1, 2007 – Began as Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Duncan, Oklahoma
My family and I moved to Duncan and joined the faith family at Calvary. God had made this step clear and plan for our family and it has been the most amazing tour of duty I’ve experienced. Through this almost twelve years, God has developed my comprehension and wonder for His grace. I have been able to heal emotionally and grow more healthy physically and spiritually as well. There are many great lessons through this season, but the most pertinent here is that I, as a pastor, must be more of a lead sheep than a shepherd. I need the flock to care for me just like I care for them. Having tried the notion that there must be a degree of separation between the pastor and the congregation, I have concluded that it was erroneous. As one of the flock, I am able to lead from the grace I’ve experienced from the very ones I have been called to lead.
May through August 2007 – Associate Pastor (Youth & Music), Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, Tecumseh, Oklahoma
While working full-time for a season for a landscape company, this dear church where my father serves as pastor invited me to come and step slowly back into ministry in a safe and encouraging environment. I was not with them long, but hold this season and those folks very dearly in my memory.
October 2003 to March 2007 – Pastor, Landmark Baptist Church, Perry, Oklahoma
I served as the last pastor of a young but troubled church. Having come in as the seventh pastor in just nine years, there were some fractures I still do not completely understand. After several months of interim, that church was unable to find a pastor and about a year and half later closed its doors. Still, in that time we licensed three men to preach, helped re-launch a struggling church plant, and, in a sense, the church kind of died in childbirth. My three and half years there had some great moments and victories, but left some significant scars. I was finally released by the Spirit to resign in March 2007, approximately one month after the diagnosis of a severe depression. I learned many things in that season, but the greatest is how much I needed to be able to lean on the people I served as I want them to lean on me.
May 1999 to October 2003 – Pastor, Hinton Missionary Baptist Church, Hinton, Oklahoma
I stepped into this role as my first full-time ministry position and the very first as a pastor. This very small church was full of very kind and consistent people who seemed to want the church to be steady and consistent. There is so much about that time that I look back now and see that we were a poor match. My particular strengths and gifts were not very suited to the kind of pastorate that was desired and/or needed by the church. My wife and I had our last child during that time, but we also experienced some very, very challenging things regarding her health. God was faithful as always, but it was a challenging season. Still I am so grateful for the patience of the people there as I tried to figure out how to be a pastor.
August, 1998 to May 1999 – Pulpit Supply in Central Oklahoma
Having recently surrendered to vocational/pastoral ministry and committed to participate in a cooperative seminary program in Oklahoma City, I had accepted a teaching position in the Wellston Public Schools in Wellston, Oklahoma. During that one year, I was preaching somewhere about every other weekend. I was able to get some experience and help some area churches. This was a season of great encouragement and growth. It was my last year as a band director, but it was by far my best and most successful. It was the time of transition out of the classroom into the pulpit.
September 1997 to August 1998 – Music Minister (Volunteer) and Adult Bible Teacher, First Baptist Church, Wetumka, Oklahoma
My family and I resided in Wetumka, Oklahoma, for two years while I taught in the Wetumka Public Schools as Director of Bands. For this period of time we were active in the First Baptist Church there helping with youth activities, camps, Bible school, and other opportunities. After the first year there I was asked to teach an adult Bible study (Sunday school) class and soon after was asked to lead the music ministry (on a volunteer basis). It was approximately halfway through our time in Wetumka that I finally recognized and surrendered to God’s call to preaching and pastoral ministry. I learned so very much in our short time there and was mentored greatly by our pastor, Rev. Tom Lonas. Tom was very gifted administratively and was instrumental in showing me that there could be so much more organization and function in a local church than I had ever witnessed. While we do not maintain a great number of relationships from that stop on our journey, our lives took a significant turn in the little town of Wetumka.
January 1993 to July 1996 – Youth Minister (Part-Time), First Baptist Church, Okeene, Oklahoma
Having begun my teaching career in the fall of 1992 in a very small (approx. 1300 people) town of Okeene, Oklahoma, we quickly settled into the First Baptist Church. We were there just a few months before the pastor was called to another ministry position. I was approached to take a part-time position in leading the youth ministry that had been handled by the pastor. By that summer I was asked to take the lead of the music ministry as well (voluntary). We had only one son when we cam to this tiny town and moved away four years later with three kids and a foster child. There were so very many lessons, so many frustrations, so many ministry firsts, but all of them taught me a great deal about how to do and how not to do ministry.
August 1988 to July 1992
During this season I was a full-time student at Oklahoma Baptist University. For most of those four years I worked at Pizza Hut as a delivery driver (and later supervisor). I averaged 25 hours per week for the first year and a half and increased to 40-45 hours per week the last two years of undergraduate study. I completed my Bachelor of Music Education in May of 1992. I assisted in a new church plant in Tecumseh, Oklahoma, by leading music (volunteer basis) for about one and a half years.
August 1985 to August 1988
While attending Prague High School in Prague, Oklahoma, I was asked to lead the music ministry of the Garden Grove Missionary Baptist Church in rural Pottawatomie County. My father served as pastor there, but it was the aging gentleman that had led the music for many years that asked me to put my talents to work in serving the church in this way. It was sometimes rewarding and often frustrating role to fill.