As the timeless hymn indicates, time is filled with swift transition. I've also come to understand that the presence of God through moments of change makes the journey one that can produce endless benefits.
One of the most horrific moments in my life occurred when I had to close the doors of a church I founded in April of 2011. It wasn't a decision I thought I'd ever had to face. By December of 2015, Church resources became few, debt overwhelmed us, and membership declined. I knew that I was called to preach, but started to question whether I had was called to pastor. Four years have passed since that time, and the burden to pastor still weighs very heavily upon me. I tried everything I can to run from it; because of insecurity. However, it has become increasingly apparent that the call and passion to pastor is something that I cannot escape. The realization that I cannot escape this calling has redefined my professional goals. Retrospectively, I believed the cause for my initial lack of success as a pastor was part-time ministry. That wasn't the reason. Other pastors are not full-time, yet effectively lead their congregations. I know pastors who are also entrepreneurs and educators; while pastoring. I currently run a business and radio station. I'm competent at running both of them due to my education and experience. I now understand the trinity of my career: pastoring, entrepreneurship, and radio broadcasting. God has called me to lead in ministry, media, and the marketplace. Even though I've sometimes presented as a roadblock to my destiny, God spoke to me! He said: "the church that closed was just an experience and wake-up call." At that divine declaration, my heart burned to lead God's people again. I'm now able to rise above the mental depression I suffered after closing the church, and am steadily regaining my confidence. I masked pain for three and a half years. I've healed and understood the value within that experience, which has led me to apply for seminary. I lacked education from an accredited theological school that could have helped me make better decisions as to how to lead God's people effectively. At this point in my life, training will make my pastoral experience stronger and benefit those God will choose me to serve. I know I've been called to preach, and I now know with emphasis that God has called me to pastoral ministry. Last year, I returned to pastoral ministry as an associate working with youth and young Adults at the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church. The experience underscored my realization that having a heart for God's people never left me. The depression I suffered turned me against the pastoral ministry, but it found me again. God reminded me: "it never left." It's now apparent that pastoral ministry is a part of my journey in life. I excel and find joy in the gifts listed in Romans 12. In addition to the gifts previously mentioned, God has blessed me with the gift of prophesying, serving, encouraging, teaching, giving, and leading. Despite all that I've experienced, it's evident that God has called me to ministry. Like many, I questioned God, but He sent the right affirmation. A local pastor told me, "I understand where you are right now, but don't unpack. God has not abandoned your pastoral ministry." It blew my mind. Later, I received an unexpected call from a layperson. On that call, the person shared a dream that highlighted my return to pastoral ministry; while doing significant work within our community. I'm grateful God has affirmed His using me in the hearts and minds of other people. Most importantly, He confirmed it to me. With high expectations, I prayerfully look forward to this journey of earning a Doctorate in ministry at the United Theological Seminary.