The waters of baptism washed over me as I stood before the congregation I would serve, with my friend at my side and my father at the pulpit. It is a day I will never forget. The flood of memories overwhelm me like the feeling of the warm water. I remember the gift of a study Bible, the people that laid hands on me to pray over me as I began this journey, the feeling of being loved. On March 9, 2004, I was baptized by my friend Lynn Taylor and Ordained as a Baptist Minister, a service led by my father, Jerry Mitchell.
There have been many days that I have questioned the calling, wondering if I heard incorrectly. I have tried to do other things in the ministry. I have felt like Job as I have walked away from the pulpit and thought that this was not for me. But there have been many more days that I have been overwhelmed by God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness. He has allowed me to walk with people in their journeys of celebration and grief. I have sat at the table with people I now consider family.
LaGrange First Missionary has always and will always hold a very special place in my heart and in the heart of my wife and children. They took a chance on me when they could have chosen otherwise. They loved me and accepted me and welcomed me into their lives. They gave me grace when I messed up and walked with me through my own struggles. I am forever grateful to God for giving me the privilege of serving this congregation…for I saw God in more ways that I can count as a result.
I am grateful that God continued to be patient with me as I took a sabbatical. I needed the time to breathe but that was difficult for my family. I needed to be ministered to, but it is difficult to let go. God worked through all of that in amazing ways. He gave me the opportunity to complete a Master of Divinity degree at a school that taught me to think critically and love fiercely. Campbell Divinity School was the right choice for me and I knew it from the first day I stepped on campus. It was a place of learning and healing.
I am grateful for Northeast FWB for allowing me to serve as an Interim. It was a beautiful experience that gave me the chance to celebrate Advent and Christmas with a congregation that was welcoming and kind to this traveler.
Today, I serve at Trinity Missionary Baptist. Beginning as Interim, my intention was to remain interim. God had other plans. Four years ago, I accepted the interim position. In July, I will have been the Pastor at Trinity for four years. God directed and I did my best to be obedient. I was hesitant, not because of Trinity but because of Brad. I love with my everything but that doesn’t always reflect in the ways I serve. I wasn’t sure I had enough to give Trinity. I can say that Trinity has also been kind and gracious to me. They have given me the opportunity to pursue my Doctor of Ministry degree. They have supported the ways that I have felt God leading. They have loved me despite me. Together, we have become better. I pray God continues to work in it all.
As I write this, I am overwhelmed by the opportunity to serve God as a minister. I cannot believe he chose to use me, but I am grateful he did. I pray that I can continue to serve as he would have me to serve. I pray that I will love as he teaches me to love. I pray I can show others what it means to follow, no matter the cost. I pray I can be his hands and feet. 15 years later, I say…”Lead on, God…Lead on.”