This post has been over a month in the making. The subject, however and the manifestation of what God has done has been at work for much longer.
On October 13th, myself and three others were ordained and installed as associate pastors at the Body of Christ Church. It was the culmination of what began as a ministry journey immediately after the passing of my grandfather. My mother and my aunt asked myself and two of my cousins to eulogize my grandfather at his funeral. In my reflection on what he meant to me, my thoughts were immediately drawn to the great joy that emanated from his personality. He always had a funny story and many times when he shared them, he was greeted with a chorus of uproarious laughter; much of it was his own. As I delivered my remembrances of him, this was my focus. I spoke from this foundation, but I added scriptural references which brought perspective into how he became the man that I had the pleasure of knowing. To me, it was the most natural thing to do.
As the weekend progressed, several people commented on how I should “accept my calling.” “Uhhhhh, okaayyy???? What calling,” I asked? To preach the gospel, of course. I believe I laughed the first two or three times I heard it. After awhile I couldn’t dismiss it as people being polite or simply speaking with edifying language. That night I prayed and asked God, “So is there something to this?” The answer was simply, “Yes.” I really didn’t know what to say or think in that moment.
As I was still processing that decision, I knew I had to present this and submit myself to someone for godly counsel and leadership (1 Timothy 3). So I went back to BCC. You read that right. This is after several
weeks months years of not regularly attending church anywhere. I found myself in the position of the prodigal. I specifically remember something Pastor Toran shared with me that day as I recounted the events of the previous weekend to him: “If you have believe God has called you to minister here, God has obviously determined that we are in need of a minister.” I knew I wouldn’t be given some title or necessarily assigned a position, but from that day Pastor Toran has never ceased to call me anything other than Minister Lawrence.
I have had
several many opportunities to prove if I was faithful to that calling. What I specifically remember is early on in the process God calling me faithful. Even as I am writing this I’m fighting back the tears, because if you looked at the evidence of my life I was anything but that. God spoke to me and about me in a way that made me want to honor and devote myself to His calling. He spoke something about me that I really didn’t believe, yet as I followed after Christ I found it to be true.
The truth of God’s revelation
Over the last few years, God has opened some doors for me to grow into the fullness of his ministry plan for me. I recall being glad that God had not told me on that initial day some nine years ago that I would become a pastor. I probably would have laugh and rejected the whole thing that moment. What he has done, however is to allow me the room to grow into the man who is writing this post today. Some time a few years ago, I felt the Holy Spirit reveal to me that I would become a pastor. At that time, and even as I look back on it, it all makes sense. God has given me a heart for people, that for much of my life I didn’t have. He has allowed me to share the tremendous joys as well as the excruciating pains of walking alongside people in their life’s journey. Any time I have shared praying with someone, leading them in bible study, ministering to them in hospitals, comforting them at funerals, smiling joyously as children were born, degrees were attained, and so on has been eternally impactful and worthwhile. I consider it a privilege to have been, and to continue to be able to 1treat people like royalty, 2dia konia – go through the dust, 3meet the need, and 4serve.
Me and Dad
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I tend to shun the spotlight. I would be much happier doing what I do from behind the scenes without the glare of public recognition. There are times, though when I relish the honor and recognition of that public approval. My father was able to be present as I and Jeremy Bolles, Anthony Jones, and Holly Thompson were ordained as Pastors of the Body of Christ Church. Because of some delay (on my part) in informing my father of when the service was going to take place, I wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to be present. My mother had let me know she was not going to be able to come, but sent her love and shared how proud of me she was. As I spoke with my dad and let him know the details of my procrastination in getting him the news, he simply told me “This is a huge event, and I am going to be there.” To have my dad there in my presence was a tremendous honor and I was grateful to have him there to share in the recognition of what God had done. I found myself playing to an audience of one.
One of the things that has taken some getting used to is hearing people call me Pastor Lawrence. The first few times people said it, I would laugh. In a way it felt too big. I recognized it as true, because God revealed it to me privately before it was ever announced publicly. It’s still taking some time to become accustomed to it. Joyce Meyer shares something in the post below (about the 16:50 mark), that gives me comfort about where I am and even more importantly who I am. To all who have shared in the joy of this occasion, to those whose prayers have kept me focused, and to those whom I have the joy of serving. I say, Thank You!
– Lawrence, Big L, Lawrencie-poo, Law, Loco, L Boogie, Pastor Lawrence