I grew up in Jacksonville, NC and heard the gospel at First Presbyterian Church there and also through Billy Graham’s ministry. In 1966 I made a clear commitment to Christ as Lord and Savior after months of mulling over the meaning of the Gospel in Scripture. Before the end of my high school years I made a commitment to missions after hearing Dr. Plummer Smith talk about his 44 years in the Belgian Congo.
I came under care of Wilmington Presbytery during my early college days while attending Montreat College. Before I finished my BA at King College in Bristol, Tenn.
I had decided to attend RTS in Jackson, MS after my summer service as a youth evangelist with PEF. Like many in that day I had struggles with doubt about the reliability of the Scriptures. I headed to RTS knowing that I held to the WCF and of course first and foremost to the infallibility of the Scriptures.
While at RTS I had two summer assistantships in ARP churches. The first was in Winter Haven Florida at Covenant ARP. The second was in Charlotte at Back Creek ARP. So after graduation I took a solo pastorate at Bethlehem ARP outside of Due West, SC.
My ministry was mostly preaching the word Sunday mornings and teaching the Scriptures on Sunday evenings. As my assistantships had taught me, I actively visited my congregation and neighbors. But being single and near the ARP Conference grounds I spent a lot of weeks as a camp counselor/teacher for the ARP.
In 1976 and 1977 I began to reconsider my commitment to missions. So I visited Pakistan for three weeks with preaching on Christmas day and New Years through an interpreter. After some struggle I admitted that I was willing to serve abroad. But then
Martha Jones returned from her two years of service in Taiwan and we renewed our friendship.
We married in the spring of 1978, and I took a call to the Covenant ARP in the late summer of 1978 as an Associate pastor to no one. It was a year before Leonard Bullock would come as Senior Pastor. During that time, I preached twice on most Sundays and carried on the role of visitation. After Pastor Bullock arrived I focused on Young Couples and for a time on the Youth ministry but I came with the understanding that I planned to go abroad.
Teaching and some preaching were the gifts I most exercised. While I don’t think I bored people, I did need to renew my preaching skills since I have been focused on small group outreach for many years.
The time with international ministry allowed me to focus on service and hospitality which I enjoyed. Also, the time overseas with ELIC has been a good training ground for improving my teaching skills. I have enjoyed the personal work with individual students and small groups.
I do have skills and gifts for preaching, teaching, and personal work. Also, I have motivation to promote the work of missions and outreach within the churches here at home.
There is much room for growth and improvement in my skills and exercise of gifts.