I was born in 1946 in a small town in Northwestern Indiana. My mother and father had both lost spouses from their first marriages. Both were older, my father 54 and my mother 38 when I was born. Dad brought eight children into the marriage, six boys and two girls, and my mother brought three children into the marriage, two boys and one girl. All of my mother and father’s children had their own families by the time my brother and I came along. I never saw my father go to church, read the Bible or heard him speak of Christ.
Was my father saved? I do not know the answer to that question, but my guess would be no. He was not a bad man. He was a hard worker and for the most part, a good father and husband. My mother did not go to church when my father was alive. I suspect that was mainly my father’s doings, not hers. After my father passed, she began taking my brother and me to church when she could. Being a single mother with two small boys made it difficult to make a living. Therefore, she worked two jobs most of the time.
The year was 1957, and my father had been sick for several months. He got worse and my mother took him to the hospital where he died a short time later. He was buried on my 11th birthday, August 20, 1957. I was not sure how to take my father’s death. Sounds weird, but no one had talked to me about death, either before or after my father’s passing. September that year was very emotional for me. I remember sitting by myself for hours trying to figure out why I felt the way I did. One evening, while sitting by myself, I remember hearing “I am your father now.” To this day, I do not know if it was a voice I actually heard or a thought. Either way, I did not know what to make of it.
The next day my sister, who lived close by with her family, came by to tell my mother, her church was having a revival and asked her to go. God always arrives on time! That evening I heard the things I had needed to hear ever since my father had died. During the altar call, I found myself halfway down the aisle before I knew where it, but I did know why I was there. I surrendered to Christ that evening and was baptized the next night.
As I got older, I grow away from the Lord and became someone I am not very proud of being. I did go to church some during those years and was involved a little, but it was all for show. I would have to say that my wife had lots to do with me finally finding Christ again. I was about 50 before I realized how far I had slipped away from God. At that point, I rededicate my life to Christ and have worked at improving my relationship with Christ ever since. Am I where I need to be, no, but I continue to try to live my life more like Christ every day the Lord gives me.
Since rededicating my life, I have had several men who have been great influences in my spiritual development. The first of these men was Tal Hughes. Tal was the Sunday school Director. Tal put me to work for the Lord, doing little things in the church. He would talk to me about first one thing and then another, but the conversation always got around to Christ. I smoked at that time and would drink an occasional beer. Tal would talk to me, never saying a thing, and if I brought it up, he would say that between the Lord and me. Today I do not have either habit. I could see Christ in that man and I hope that someone someday will say that about me. The second man is Price Chapman. Price is our Minister of Music and noticed that I had some singing ability. He has mentored me ever since, and today I have my own music ministry, and it has become one of the biggest blessings of my life.
The spiritual community that has shaped my faith and growth in Christ would definitely be my church. My church has been extremely lucky to have a Pastor who believes that if he cannot show it to you in the Bible; it is not coming from his mouth in the pulpit. You need the Word of God to grow spiritually, just as a child needs food to grow; we need the word of God to grow. Besides the great preaching of God’s word, we have several Bibles studies each year. These are wonderful opportunities to grow spiritually and I try to take attend as many as possible.
My strengths are organization and procedural writing. Through my church, I have had opportunities to use both. I have been the Sunday School Director for about four years and have, been able to identify and write selection criteria for deciding on Sunday school materials, with the help of our Sunday School Planning Team. We have also written Sunday school leader job descriptions. They are something we never had before. I believe people want to know and have a right to know what is expected and what the job entails when you ask them to serve in a position.
My gift from God is my singing. I can use it to glorify the Lord by singing in the church choir and from time to time sing special music for a service. I also have a singing ministry. I love to sing, my wife and I go around to Nursing homes and retirement villages where I sing and we fellowship with the residents.
I believe that my calling is to serve God through my singing ministry. I hope to continue to grow that ministry as I am able.
My mission statement is to continue to serve the Lord through the singing ministry also to serve in whatever other opportunities He puts before me. I want to continue to grow in Christ. My vision statement is that I hope to grow the ministry so that I can do it full time.
I hope to grow in grace by finishing this Master’s Degree and serving God’s people in my church. I hope to grow in holiness by practicing seeing the best in all people. I will be open to every opportunity to serve, after all, if I am to become like Jesus, I must first be a servant.