It seemed I couldn’t get enough of serving God in the context of the local church. After God turned my heart toward Grace Baptist I joined the church, got baptized, began showing up for everything they offered, made plans to work in AWANA ministry and was seeking more. Sometime that summer God began to burden my heart about a teaching ministry of some sort. I didn’t know Christian protocol and didn’t think I should ask anyone since I was the new kid on the block and the most immature Christian in the building. Many of those folks had been serving the Lord longer than I had been living. Even the ones my age had been saved for 12, 15 or more years. I was a novice to say the least.
I wanted to teach or sub or do something. I didn’t know about qualifications, abilities, gift-mixes or even if there was a slot. I think it would be accurate to say that I wanted to do anything. I was there for visitation as well as shoveling dirt at the new Fellowship Hall they were building. I was available, bring it on.
Since I was uninformed about protocol regarding how they set-up their teachers for the coming Fall classes I decided I wouldn’t say anything to anyone about my desire. I decided I would pray and if God wanted me to help in some way in the Sunday school classes then he would make that known to the leadership of the church. It probably wasn’t two or three weeks after that when Gerald, the pastor, asked if I could meet him for lunch. We were at a Burger King on Highway 74, the main drag in Monroe. We ate, talked about various things and then out of nowhere he asked if I wanted to teach during the coming Sunday school year. I could have fallen out of my chair. I was simultaneously terrified and exhilarated. I wanted to, but I was afraid and I was also fearful in that this is the first thing that I really remember where God seemed to be actively working. I didn’t tell a soul and now I was being asked. It was really odd.
I said, “Yes” and off I went. I served in an Assistant type role and my first lesson was the first chapter of Luke. I’ll never forget it. It took me the entire week to prepare for that lesson. I didn’t know much of anything about my Bible. I knew less of Luke and had no training in teaching. This was my very first time. I’ll probably never forget some of the things I learned from that lesson. I have taught hundreds of times since then. I barely remember anything that I have taught since then, but I remember that lesson. It was the first, it was fun, God was kind.
A trajectory was set. There was a taste of something placed on my tongue that I have never forgotten. My life was about to change forever, again.