Here is one more for today……
13. He must not be a new believer – I remember when I first became a Christian, soon after that experience I felt the call to go into full time ministry. Looking back at that I think it’s something that many feel when salvation comes in such a powerful way. I’ve seen it over and over again with so many men and women over the years. The key is to seek and find out if it’s God calling you or if your excitement and passion is moving you in that direction. I MUST SAY this……we are ALL called to ministry…our lives should be about Christ and where He leads us DAILY — so yes we are ALL ministers. With that said there is another calling that moves a man or woman into Pastoring, evangelist etc….a call to dedicate a life to Full Time service for the Lord.
When I was first saved I was on fire and ready to roll….felt strong the call of God to enter into full time ministry. I was part of the Assembly of God Church, this is the church where I found the Lord, I was plugged in with a couple of the pastor’s and was ready to make the move. I went to one of the pastor’s and talked to him about this, they had a school in the church. Trinity Bible College. I had another good friend that was going there and both the pastor and my friend said “GO GO GO” and so I enrolled in the school and paid the tuition, bought my books and started down the road that would end in full time ministry. (this was my dream)
After the first year and entering into the second year Diane and I decided to get married. I went to the pastor who I was pretty close with and asked if he would marry us, I was so excited! We met and he told me that he could not marry us because I was married before and was divorced, the church would not allow this. I was shaken a little and then figured, well I’ll ask an outside pastor to perform the ceremony and just use the church for the wedding, so I told him that and he said “Greg, you can’t even get married in this church” and it floored me. I walked away shocked and angry. After a few hours I realized that if they could not perform my wedding and if I couldn’t even be married within the walls of this church, I will never be ordained through this church!! I went to the pastor the next day to confirm that and it was true. I asked why are you even allowing me to be in YOUR SCHOOL when I will never be ordained, never be in ministry? He had no answer so I walked out that day never to return.
I ended up going back to a little church in Rio Linda, there the pastor took me under his wing and helped me along. Soon I decided to enroll in the Bible College offered through the district. This was through the church of the Nazarene. The pastor agreed and supported, the church board agreed and supported, now I had to go and apply to the school. I sent in my application and waited…..within a week or so my pastor called me and told me that they turned me down, I was not able to attend the school because of my past. I was pretty mad and upset and my pastor was too, he told me he was ready to resign over it and that just fueled my anger and resentment. The man who made the decision name was Walter Hubbard. I held a lot of anger toward him, saying he was a old man that was not ready for any change etc….(right here that shows my new believer status)
I have up and dove into work. We moved to the bay area and then to Chico. In Chico we ended up in a Nazarene church and made some good friends in that church and with the pastors. I was the youth pastor and was able to preach a couple times. Pastor Tom supported me even though I would never be able to attend school or be ordained. From Chico we moved back to the Bay area and ended up in a Nazarene Church in Fremont. A great little church where the pastor encouraged me to move forward in school and would help me get in. This was a different district so I applied and was ACCEPTED…….. so I started my journey in Bible College. Worked full time and went to school at night.
After a three years or so we moved to Tracy, by this time Dr Hubbard had retired and a new man was in charge, I was able to transfer my schooling to this district and continue. It took me over 9 years to finally graduate but I DID IT!! Entering into full time ministry before I even graduated!!
Soon after that I realized how immature I was as a Christian when I first started, I KNEW NOTHING except God called me….. Dr Hubbard had great insight and saw my lack of wisdom, knowledge and all the things needed to make a man ready for ministry. I realized he did me a GREAT FAVOR by not allowing me in so quickly……..I sought him our and asked for his forgiveness through my tears, I told him of my anger and words I have used against him…..he had NO IDEA but accepted my apology and forgave me…. we both wept and hugged that day. From that day forward he was one of my biggest supporters.
This is part of being in the body of Christ — the CHURCH! A pastor/elder/deacon must NOT be a NEW BELIEVER!! Why? Man I would have ruined more lives that helped when I was a new believer… We need to time to grow, understand the ways of the Lord, fall IN LOVE with the Lord, know the Word, understand prayer, fasting, tithing, service, love and people. Become mature in the Lord so we may lead other into maturity. And SO MUCH MORE!!!