I practically grew up in church. The son of a Southern Baptist Pastor, I began helping with ministry from a young age whether it was running the sound board, volunteering as a teacher in VBS, serving as the worship minister for our church or mowing the church lawn every week with my brothers. I was privileged to participate in many ministry opportunities (along with my 7 siblings) and serving became a defining aspect of my life. This period of growing up in the household of a pastor who homeschooled his children, taught me many valuable lessons that impacted me deeply. Sometimes I was able to see firsthand the difficulties of a pastor who is called to ministry and it was these difficulties that my family went through that played an important part of God’s calling upon my life.
When I was 14, I vividly remember lying in bed at night and feeling God impress upon me “Nathan, I want you to become a pastor”. Remember those difficulties I told you my family went through? Well, all those came flooding through my mind; The financial difficulties we had experienced, disagreements with unsupportive church members, and strains my dad had experienced with church staff members. I began envisioning my ministry experiencing those same difficulties and so I told God, “No, I don’t want to do that! Tell me to do anything else, anywhere else and I will do it. But don’t call me to be a pastor.” God didn’t let up on this calling and night after night I remember lying in bed wrestling with God over this and feeling a sense of guilt that I was not following God’s direction. I began telling God “Lord, send me as a missionary to China, Africa, Mexico, wherever! Just don’t ask me to become a pastor!”
Three years later I went to our annual youth Church Camp and was able to serve as a counselor in the weekly services that were held where hundreds each night would come forward to either give their lives to Christ or rededicate themselves to the Lord. In our training, they told us that if we as counselors felt God moving on our heart to make a decision, then we should come forward as well and turn our camp wristbands inside out to indicate that we were the ones making the decision that night. That week I remember specifically dedicating myself to seeking the Lord and wanting to know Him more intimately. It wasn’t many nights into our week long camp, that I remember feeling the “pull” of the Holy Spirit on my heart to fully and completely surrender myself to Him and follow in obedience to the call to ministry. Needless to say, I went forward and followed the instructions given to us during the training. Talk about a burden lifted! The freedom I experienced in surrender to the Lord was a tremendous blessing I was excited!
The next step in God’s preparing me as a pastor began with serving local churches in an intermediate preaching role. Churches in the area would need someone to fill in for their teaching pastor for a Sunday or two while he was on vacation or perhaps they were looking for a new pastor and someone needed to fill the pulpit until they could. Then I had the privilege of preaching at a small country church for over a year. Ministering to this congregation during this time was a challenging but pivotal time in my life as God used this to help me more intimately understand the dynamics of congregational care and how to preach the Gospel of Christ expositorily and clearly.
I moved in 2010 to San Antonio to work for an educational company and it was here that I found a church home focused on discipleship and serious about raising up the next generation of Christian leaders and pastors. LWF Pastors mentored and discipled me for 6 years with the later 4 of those 6 years being focused, intentional discipleship for becoming a future pastor. In 2016, I was asked by the pastors to pray about coming on staff as a pastor of Living Water Fellowship. And as you can guess, God said yes. Serving this congregation in an ever-increasing way since 2016 has been a tremendous source of joy and blessing! As I have told many people who have asked me about this, there is nothing so wonderful as knowing you are right in the center of God’s will.
I would be amiss to leave out the fact that God graciously blessed me with my bride Bailey who I met in the same year I moved here and married in 2012. Since that time God has blessed us with (at the time of this writing) 4 kids who we love and enjoy immensely. God has been very faithful to guide both of us in the area of Christian Leadership and I consider it an honor to serve alongside my bride and my fellow Pastors and their wives.
I praise the Lord for His guidance and direction even in some of my most stubborn moments. Thank the Lord for His mercy and grace every step of the way. I look forward to what God is going to do through the ministry of LWF!
For the glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom,