My journey began in January 1956, in a small town known as Trion, which is a Cotton Mill town in north Georgia. At my birth, my dad was 20 and my mother 16. They tried to make it in Trion, but felt God leading them to move to Chicago, Illinois soon after my birth. In Chicago we lived on the North side just off Lake Shore Drive. Dad had several jobs, finally settling with Harper Steel.
We began to attend a little Baptist Mission, The Bible Baptist Church, which was hard to get to; you had to enter through a back alley and then go upstairs over a Pool Hall and Bar. The church met in what once was a Dance Hall. While attending Bible Baptist, the Lord called my Dad to preach. The church ordained him, as he and the pastor felt led to begin another mission on Clark Street, just a few blocks from the Cubs, Wrigley Field. This mission, “At Calvary Baptist Church” did have a ground floor entrance. It was placed in the storefront of an apartment building. They worked hard to clean up the building, and were able to get pews, two pianos, a pipe organ, doors, wall paneling and an altar from a Catholic church, which was being torn down to build a new building on the other South side of Chicago. At that Catholic altar in, a Baptist Mission is where I met the Lord as my Savior, on a Sunday morning at the age of twelve.
When I was in the sixth grade, during the Christmas break, we moved back to Trion, because of my Dad’s health. There I found things to be much tougher than I thought, because now in the South, I was a Yankee in a small town in Georgia, at the age when children are very cruel. A couple of years later, Dad began to pastor again as he worked in the cotton mill. He became the pastor of a congregation of about thirty-five people who called themselves the Wayside Baptist Church.
There at the age of fifteen they allowed me the opportunity to begin growing in the Lord. I began to teach a Sunday school class of people older than myself, and lead the Adult Choir and sing in a trio.
There in the pastorium I would spend many nights listening to a man, which went by the name of Happy Howard on WDOD-FM out of Chattanooga, Tennessee, play Southern Gospel music. You could tell he really enjoyed what he was doing.
One evening my Dad came in from a meeting that he had attended, at an elementary school where Governor Lester Maddox, the governor at that time of Georgia, had spoken. I heard my Dad repeat part of Governor Maddox speech that stuck with me. He said, “Set your goals so high you know you can’t reach them. Then, work toward those goals, giving God the glory for all that was accomplished.” At the age of fifteen I aspired to become a DJ on WDOD, playing gospel music and witnessing. I then began to work toward that goal, learning all I could by reading and going to our local radio station and bugging them to death with questions. Before I turned sixteen I had passed the FCC Licensing Test, (which was a lot more difficult then, than it is today). I went to WDOD, which laughed and told me that I had to have experience before they would hire me. I could not understand how I would get experience if they didn’t hire me. This really confused me. I continued high school and working at the Piggly Wiggly until I got a job at WRIP AM-FM-TV in Rossville, Georgia. That was an accomplishment for a boy of seventeen. Just after I finished high school WDOD did call, offered me a job, which I accepted. While working at WDOD, if you can call it work, (because, man, I was happy), I could witness for Christ, get paid for it, talk to thousands of people and they couldn’t talk back. At that same time the Lord also used me as a Sunday school teacher and Youth Choir Director at the Ridge Crest Baptist Church in Rossville, Georgia, where I married the girl of my dreams, Judy. The Lord was so good to me.
A year after we got married, Judy was expecting our first son. WDOD decided there was more money in rock-and-roll than in Gospel music. Needless to say, I left, went back to Trion and to work at the Piggly Wiggly and later Red Food. I dabbled in this and that trying to reestablish myself and trying to get my own radio station, landing at WSAF in Summerville Georgia working with a great friend. During that time the Lord used us, at the Mt. View Baptist Church in Trion, Georgia as Sunday school teachers, Adult and Youth Choir Director for three Years. The Lord then called us to serve at the Ridgeway Baptist Church in Lafayette, Georgia, as Youth Director, and Children’s Church Director. While at Ridgeway I got into my own publishing company, which I lost my shirt in. It was at Ridgeway, during the Watch Night Service of 1980, while singing a solo that I surrendered to follow the Lord as He had called me to preach. I had fought this calling for over four years, but there that night, I confessed to the Lord that I was not a preacher and could never preach but would allow Him to preach through me. I confessed it that night, not only to the Lord but also to that congregation. The Lord then began to open doors immediately.
After several years of preaching throughout the north Georgia aria, the Fellowship Baptist Church in Trion asked me to fill their pulpit, and then later called me to be their pastor. I had asked the Lord not to allow them to call me, but He did. You see, with Fellowship Baptist Church, though an older church, they only had four active members. With my wife and boys we doubled the congregation when we joined them. A church that should have closed its doors years ago according to the world, began to grow and so did I. Our one deacon, three members, my wife and the Lord helped work the ministry of this church as I worked two jobs, sometimes three and try to be a pastor. The Lord blessed and in a little over a year we had as many as forty for church and five active Sunday School Classes. Again God was so good. While at Fellowship I met Dr. Larry Draper, who was at that time pastor of the West Rome Baptist church in Rome, Georgia. He became a mentor as he led West Rome to pay for much of my seminary work at Luther Rice Seminary in Lithonia, Georgia.
Quickly, to bring you up to date, Judy and I now not only have three boys, but also ten grandchildren and one great grandson. I have been the Pastor of four churches in Georgia and two in the Panhandle of Florida. All which were churches that ran less than a hundred in Sunday school and were located in rural areas, but churches that God had ordained to minister to their communities, and which God tremendously blessed as we strived to lead them to be Great Commission Churches.
The Lord gave me the book “Church Go To Hell! Please?” when I served as pastor of Springhead Baptist Church in Adel Georgia and lead me to self-publish in 2008. I feel the reason the Lord has burdened me so deeply with this book, is because the average church has become unfocused. We have come to the conclusion that “big” is where God is working. We have forgotten that ninety percent of God’s churches across America have less than one-hundred people in worship in their average Sunday morning services and that most of their pastors also work to support themselves. What we don’t realize is that these men and these churches have the greatest advantage of reaching their community for Christ than anyone else. My burden is for the congregations around the world, and their pastors, that as they get a glimpse of Hell, they will see the lostness of their friends, they then will begin to turn the world up-side down for Christ.
September 9, 2014 while in prayer, God gave me the vision and the burden for “RV Church Life”, a church designated to minister to and reaching the one point three million full-time RV’ers in North America. Through the years churches have designed outreach programs to reach particular sections, and people groups. In the past you had “High Church”, “Rural Church” and “Country Church” and in the past decade we have extended it to “Cowboy Church”, “Motorcycle Church” and Satellite and Home churches that God is using to reach and minister to unreached people groups in our country, many operating just as the early church operated. With that thought God gave me this burden for the Church on the move, “RV Church Life”, the church that goes with you as you go, spreading the love and salvation of Christ throughout North America. The focus of RV Church Life and Gladiator Church is on preaching, teaching and making disciples for Christ, one person at a time, meeting in small groups in RV Camp grounds, rallies and events throughout North America and staying connected through this website, as the Lord blesses others to spread His Word (The Gospel) with us, by using these messages in their small groups where they are.
Baptizing at St Andrews State Park, Panama City Beach Fl
In the 4 years involved in this mission I have baptized 6, Been involved in three others being baptized, encouraging them to get in a local church and become disciples for our Lord, Jesus Christ