by Harold Raymond
DUNDEE, MI – If you ever wondered how God calls people into a new ministry, here’s one example.
Late one Saturday, about 11:30 pm, our phone rang. It was one of the teenage girls who attended a Bible Study I taught. She was crying and it took me a minute to understand why. Her little country church was going to be without a Pastor the next morning because their sixth Pastor in four months had just quit.
I told her I would be praying for her church.
"You don't understand," she said, "I was thinking you would do a great job if you came and preached."
"No!” I said. “I’m too young, just a college kid.”
"No?" she said through a big sob. “Please!”
"Like I said, I'll be praying for you, but, well, I've never preached to adults before, just kids."
Through new tears, she said, "Oh, please help us. I don't know anyone else to call."
How could I say no? Especially when I finally prayed and said, "Lord!" I really meant, "Lord, who can I call to help them?" I didn’t hear any spoken answer from the Lord, but before I hung up, I told the girl I would be there in the morning . . . and the morning came quickly!
I barely had time to be nervous as I prayed, worked on a message, and tried to sleep. When the service started, three old men in the back pew kept talking, and ignoring everyone else. I was used to working with kids, so naturally I asked the three men if they would listen with everyone else. Little did I know that they were the three life-time Deacons who ran the church.
My words caused one man that I met later to tell me what his first thought was when I asked the Deacons to pay attention. "That will be our seventh pastor in four months! They might even stop the service and kick him out right now."
But they didn't, and I made it through a pre-printed order-of-worship, complete with the prayers typed out in their bulletin. I read their prayers, but prayed my own words afterwards.
When the service finally ended, I was expecting the three Deacons to meet me before I stepped down from the pulpit, but the Deacons couldn't get past the three old Grannies heading up the aisle toward me, all three of them shaking their pointing fingers at me.
I was looking for a back door and quick escape, but the first Granny surprised me. "It's about time someone prayed in this church!" she shouted. The other two Grannies echoed her, "We want you to be our Pastor."
This wasn't just a surprise. I was in total shock! In one year, I would graduate from college to become a high school teacher, and I had never even considered being a pastor. I figured the only way to escape was to stall them by telling them I would pray about it, and hoping they would change their minds. But, yes, I promised to return the next Sunday because I knew it would be impossible to get someone for them on such short notice.
The scary part was, even the three Deacons asked me to come back. How about you? Has God ever surprised you, and called you to new service to Him when you weren’t expecting it? There’s a simple solution to these fears. Trust Jesus and step out in faith.
"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ.”
2 Corinthians 2:14
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Harold Raymond serves as Pastor of Dundee Baptist Church in Southeastern Baptist Association. God is still using him in the Pastorate 49 years after the miracle that happened in this article.