About 8-9 years ago, I started watching The Gospel Truth broadcast by Andrew Wommack Ministries. The message of God’s unconditional love and grace radically changed my life. I had been born again about 30 years at that time, and never heard the gospel as truly “the too good to be true news” as I was hearing it on this program. I attended my first Gospel Truth Conference in Leesburg, VA several years later, and then another at Temple University in PA. In January, 2014 I had the privilege of attending the Men’s Advance with my father-in-law in Woodland Park, CO. Soon after, I became a member of ARMI (Association of Related Ministries International). I just couldn’t get enough of the Word! In 2016 the Lord lead me to enroll in Charis Bible College through the Continuing Education for Ministers program. I was so thankful for this program which allowed me to take the first two years of Charis Bible College off site. I graduated from the two-year program this past January, and immediately began hosting the first Charis Bible Studies in New Jersey, which is still going strong.
Soon after graduation, the Lord put it on my heart to start looking at my options for the third year program. Though there were campuses in Washington, DC, Baltimore and my beloved south Florida that had third year programs, it was Colorado that I was being attracted to. When I told my wife, she said, “Colorado? No way!” The fall was quickly approaching and it was decision time. The big question on my mind was “How?”. How does a 62 year-old pastor go back to college halfway across the country? How would I pay for it? How can I leave my family, my church, and the comfort of my own home? Which lead to a “where”…where would I live? I gave everything to God. I pretty much figured it may not be this year, maybe in 2019.
In July, my wife Natalie was praying one morning and the Lord made it very clear to her that I was going to Colorado, that this was “your place called there”. She promptly told me, and this time it was me who said, “No I’m not”. But I knew in my heart it was. I told several of my close ministry associates of my plans and they said it was a great opportunity and to go for it. When I was at the International Pastor’s and Ministers Conference later in the month, one of the pastors had heard what I was planning to do and said that the Lord told him to pay for my housing for the nine months that I am at school.
From that point forward, everything started happening – quickly. Because of the strong desire that I have to start a Charis Bible College in New Jersey, I submitted an application to enroll in the World Outreach Global Training School and was accepted. Within days of when my tuition was due, a dear friend called and said that they want to cover the full $5000. Praise God! Another friend said they wanted to cover the cost for me to travel home each month to see my family and church family. And another paid my expenses to travel to Colorado. God also supernaturally provided a beautiful condo at the base of Pike’s Peak, overlooking Garden of the Gods. As for our church and Charis Bible Studies, we found a simple way to Live Stream the messages from Colorado to New Jersey. Where God guides He provides!
At the beginning of August, I had the privilege of speaking with the Dean of Charis Bible College, Greg Mohr, who said something to me that set the tone for my entire journey. He said that I would need to find my “rhythm of grace”. I committed myself to honoring this special word from the Lord and look forward to seeing it supernaturally unfold.
Early Monday morning, August 27th I left New Jersey for an experience I would never forget. I took three days to drive over 1700 miles and met the wonderful owners of the condo and moved in. The next day, I attended Orientation, and the following Tuesday after Labor Day I attended my first classes. All I can say is “I’m living the dream”. I am in awe of what God has done, and is doing, and all that is yet to come. The courses I’m taking to prepare to have our own college are way outside my comfort zone, but God has brought me here for such a time as this. There’s no better place to be than in the center of God’s will. He is strengthening me for the journey before me and equipping me with all I need to excel, grow, stretch and overcome every obstacle through Christ.
It’s been a month since I left New Jersey for this over-the-top experience at Charis Bible College in Woodland Park, CO. My end goal is to start a Charis Bible College in New Jersey. Charis takes this very seriously, and so do I. They want you to be prepared, equipped, experienced, integral, well-founded and educated on the Charis way. What an honor. After I complete all the requirements, the final decision is still up to the Leadership and ultimately Brother Andrew. I have made it my highest priority to prove myself faithful for this daunting task. God has blessed me each step of the way. I am walking in the rhythms of grace, and it’s awesome! The photos below are from the Annual Minister’s Conference held this month. What a power packed week! Photos from left to right, 1) Dr. Barry Burns, the Coordinator of the Association of Related Ministries International (ARMI) and Van Smith of the Continuing Education for Ministers, 2) Bob Yandian, 3) Pastor Duane Sheriff, 5) Pastor Grant Thigpen, 6) Barry Bennett, and 7) Brother Andrew.