Birthing of the Ministry

The Lord revealed to me that he wanted me to Pastor, about 2 years prior to it actually happening. I knew that starting a ministry would be much different from attending a large established church. Oftentimes, I would think back to the days when I used drugs and struggled with addictions, and how Jesus stepped in and delivered me. I thought about how on numerous occasions he spared my life, especially from a drug overdose. The Lord had kept back the hand of the enemy, because he had a purpose and a plan for my life. However, the enemy wasn’t willing to just allow me to reach my destiny or fulfill my purpose in God. At that time I was serving as a Youth Leader, yet I knew that God was calling me to a greater vocation.

My burden for the Pastorate became stronger. After, a period of intense prayer, fasting and seeking God I realized that in order for me to get what God had for me I would have to leave the comforts of my home church. I would have to stretch out on faith and go out and begin the work the Lord wanted me to do.

I began to look for locations to hold services in Northern Virginia and Montgomery County MD. I contacted schools, recreation centers and congregations of different persuasions to see if I could use their facilities. There were no vacancies anywhere. I made a call to a YMCA in Northern VA, and they gave me their web-site to check for vacancies at other locations. The only location that was available was a newly built YMCA located in Southeast Washington DC. I thought to myself. Folks are scared of Southeast, Washington, DC. I even wondered if I should wait a while before continuing my search for a building. However, I set up a time when I could meet with the director of the YMCA. Once we met I knew then, that this was definitely “God’s perfect timing” for my decision to go out. An agreement was reached between the director of the YMCA and myself that allowed for full access to the facility. At our disposal are separate classrooms for Sunday school. We have a Morning Worship Service in a location that accommodates approximately 90-100 people. We also have a Wednesday Bible Study and the opportunity for Saturday and Sunday night fellowships. The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich and he addeth no sorrow with it… Proverbs 10:22

Several great men of God inspired my heart and desire for Pastoring. These men have deposited so much into my life. It was under the leadership of Bishop C.L. Long of Scripture Cathedral (Washington, DC), where I received the gift of the Holy Ghost at a young age. During the peak of my addiction the power of God met me at New Birth Holiness Church (Suitland, MD.) The late Elder John Sistrunk was the pastor that showed me so much love and caused me to understand what a “shepherd’s heart” was. It was at the Way of the Cross Church, (NE Wash. DC under the tutelage of Bishop Alphonzo D. Brooks, where the Lord called me to the ministry and I was ordained as an Elder. Bishop Brooks allowed me the opportunity to exercise my gifts, and to work in various leadership capacities which prepared me for leading God’s people. I was appointed over the Singles Ministry, and later became the Youth for Christ President. My wife was given the duty of choir director for the YFC Mass Choir where she also received an invaluable lesson in leadership. Bishop Walter Thompson, Asst. Pastor of the Way of the Cross Church trained me in the ministry of visitation. Bishop Thompson would take me along with him on visits to the hospitals, nursing homes and homes of the saints that had lost loved ones. Bishop Thompson drilled into me the importance of the Visitation ministry. Dr. Ronald Frazier, Pastor of Christ Church in Cheverly, MD who was formerly the Dean of the Apostolic Christian College spent endless hours answering many questions that I had as a student. Apostle Floyd E. Nelson, Pastor of Lively Stone Church, Landover, MD has through his teaching, counseling and instructions made a rich deposit into my life.

On October 5, 2003 was the first service for Sanctuary of Praise. I started the service with the 5 members, my family. First Lady, LaRon Howard, Andra (11), Ronai (10), Anthony (7) and Robyn (4). I was blessed to have over 90 people attend the opening service. The title to my first message was “Are You Ready for the War?” II Corinthians 10:3-5. At the end of the service I extended the hand of fellowship, and was overjoyed to have 19 people join the ministry. The Lord has continued to bless Sanctuary of Praise. We are growing in numbers, but most of all we are growing in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.