Dear RFP family,
I am thankful that I was raised in a Christian home. My “fundamentalist” journey began when I was 8 years old. My family started attending a church that held Dr. Jack Hyles in such high regard. My parents captained a bus route. My sister and I followed around every weekend late into the afternoons and most of the day on Sunday on those buses. Getting to share the gospel with these kids and their families was not the problem, but we did miss valuable time with each other as a result. When I was 13, I felt the call on my life for ministry. There was pressure because some many of my friends were “preacher boys”. The pastor would walk into the auditorium; you would think the President of the United States just walked. Teenagers cutting backflips across the front for the MOG. I fell hook, line, and sinker into it. After the Pastor made some crude comments from the pulpit and some questionable decisions, we left the church and started attending another one. At the time, our family was worn out from the years of giving and giving into our previous church. I began high school and starting a job, but I was still attending church faithfully. I would walk in the church and act like I should but when I got to work and school, I was a different person. A friend of mine made a decision to follow Christ and answered the call of ministry, and we became even closer friends. In 2003, just 3 months after my high school situation, I attended a Sword of the Lord conference. At that conference that Friday morning, I gave my life back to the Lord and answered the call to full-time ministry. I attended Crown College. I met my wife there, but after her graduation I did not return due to some issues with finishing my degree. I finished with an online school, and I started a job in finance. I began helping in my home church, and I eventually started attending another church helping with youth & music. I attended meetings constantly and began to get to know local pastors but never got on staff at any IFB church. My grandfather was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, and he passed away a little more than a year after his diagnosis. I had already began noticing things in my life that I was not pleased with. My attitude towards even the Christian school and church that my wife was working at because they didn’t hold to KJVO. One of the last things my grandfather told me before he passed was to be who I am and be who God wants me to be. A few months later after his passing, my wife and I began praying about leaving our current church to start down that road of recovering. We were welcomed with open arms to the very church that I criticized for many years. For five years, I grew under the ministry of that church, and God used them to prepare me for where I am now. In June 2019, God opened a door for me to become an Associate Pastor in South Carolina. My family and I could not be happier with where God has us. My question and discouragement for so many years was, “God, why are you allowing me to work a secular job and working on staff at a church?”. I look back now and I’m so thankful that God protected us from those situations. He knew what He was doing, and He opened the right door at the perfect time for where He wanted me to be. My story is not full of things that were hidden by the IFB churches I was a part of, but I felt a loneliness from those friends in ministry when the decision to leave a life of legalism, standards, and traditions was the hardest thing I have went through. I am so thankful for RFP this past year. It has helped on this road of recovery because I so much get myself hooked to that chain of legalism sometimes. With God’s grace and the help of friends that I met at the Idea Summit, the road of recovery is going to get me even more where God wants me to be.