Since I was a child, I have been told by many that there was a “calling” on my life. Without knowing what was meant by a “calling,” I received the message with a blasé attitude. But when I became a man, it was evident that this “calling” was from God; to preach the Gospel.
Like most, I “ran” in complete denial; filled with opposition. Eventually, I surrendered and accepted His “calling” to preach. As a result of a personal and intimate relationship with God, there was a greater “calling” that was revealed unto me.
In March 2010, I accepted this greater “calling” by raising my head towards heaven; and in total submission, I spoke with a loud voice, “God, I will do your will.” In faith, I accepted this “calling,” without the benefit of knowing the details of His will. During the ensuing months, my spirit became filled with an overwhelming zeal; an even greater passion to serve and help others.
At the time, I was an Associate Minister under Rev. Dr. Bartholomew Banks, Sr., at St. John Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, in Tampa, Florida. I was in a comfort zone, with the mind-set of being a willing vessel; always ready to assist my pastor; by any sacrifice necessary.
In August 2010, on a quiet morning, the Holy Spirit awakened me at approximately 3:00 a.m. and directed me to send a text to Dr. Banks; informing him that I would be taking a sabbatical effective immediately, to obtain clarity for my role and purpose. Dr. Banks responded in humility, shared with me a scripture and emphasized that he would always be available to assist me.
Honestly, at that moment, I was troubled and confused. I felt that I was needed at my church and I was an invaluable asset to my pastor. But the Holy Spirit reminded me that my thoughts were not His thoughts.
So I began a wilderness journey and upon receiving my subsequent pay check, I asked the Holy Spirit where should I tithe? I didn’t receive an immediate answer but soon thereafter, the Holy Spirit directed me to open a bank account and to tithe to the bank account faithfully. Without knowing or questioning the reason for the bank account, I did so in obedience and after sharing the aforementioned with my wife, she voluntarily began to tithe to the bank account as well.
In September 2010, the Holy Spirit directed me to go, observe and study various ministries within the area. While in the midst of a worship service, the Holy Spirit shared with me that my role and purpose was to pastor and I had been chosen to start a church. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed and dismayed.
In November 2010, the Holy Spirit deposited L.I.F.E. into my spirit. Through prayer and fasting, the Holy Spirit explained that my role and purpose was to teach and preach the Gospel, with simplicity, for the sole purpose of making people’s lives better. The Holy Spirit also explained that the foundation for a better L.I.F.E. is via the Gospel; Living in Integrity, Faith & Excellency.
In February 2011, while pondering on L.I.F.E. and wondering if it was the name of the church, I had an impromptu conversation with a pastor and he wanted to know if I was interested in acquiring the pews that were currently in his church. This baffled me because he did not know that God had chosen me to start a church and logically, my thoughts were – what was I going to do with the pews; particularly when I didn’t have a location or the fundamentals in place to establish a church?
Nevertheless, upon examining the pews, I immediately noticed that the color was green; the biblical symbol of natural growth and life. Since I was wise enough to know that I wasn’t in control, I graciously informed the pastor that I wanted and needed the pews.
In April 2011, while watching television with my family, I noticed a painting on the wall of the televised show that displayed the word LIFE in bold letters. With DVR technology, I pressed rewind on the remote control and subsequently pressed pause. And there it was, under the word LIFE, was an extended hand. The Holy Spirit immediately instructed me to place the Holy Bible on the hand. And it became so, the logo for the church.
In May 2011, while in Atlanta, I was riding the ATL SkyTrain to the airport, after dropping off a rental car. For months, I had been praying for an empowering name for the church; a rhema name that would convey the core essence and purpose for the church. The Holy Spirit gave me L.I.F.E. but nothing else. As such, I concocted numerous combinations for the name of the church and needless to say, none resonated in my spirit. But, upon exiting the ATL SkyTrain station, I noticed a van; and on the side of the van, my spirit gravitated to the word, “Greater.” As I continued walking, the Holy Spirit whispered, “That’s the name.” And it became so, Greater L.I.F.E. Christian Church.
During the following weeks, by God’s grace, I began to settle into a new home, after experiencing three years of frustration and setbacks. Like most people that were victims of the housing crisis, my finances were adversely impacted with the sell and purchase of a house. Nevertheless, I continued to tithe to the bank account faithfully. Be not mistaken, Satan was extremely busy; trying to convince me that starting a church according to the instructions set forth by the Holy Spirit was a ridiculous idea.
In July 2011, while pressing forward, I prayed for guidance on offsetting the expenses for the start of the church. The experts and literature recommend that if you want to be successful in starting a church, you should not move into a building until you have a minimum of ten financially committed families.
In August 2011, the Holy Spirit answered my prayer and instructed me to start the church, in a building, with NO financially committed families and to offset the expenses from the tithe, in the bank account. The Holy Spirit explained that there will be no founding members; no person shall take any credit and it is only by favor that I was chosen to be the pastor.
In September 2011, after embracing the aforementioned revelation, I sought guidance for financial compensation. Within a few days, the Holy Spirit advised that the church will operate in integrity, with full disclosure; making all income and expenditures known to the people. Each employee shall be compensated at market value but as for me, I shall receive a salary of $1.00 per Sunday, for two years and/or until He appoints Elders that will say otherwise.
Suffice it to say, Satan intervened by casting doubt and trying to convince me that it was impossible; logically and financially. But as I counted the cost, the results confirmed; “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
In January 2012, in obedience and faith, I secured a building and commenced with purchasing equipment.
And, in the fullness of time, it became so…