As time went by, I became a part of the Worship Team, I became a Deacon, I worked with the Youth, later I became an Elder in charge of the Men’s Ministry, the Prison Ministry, Assistant Minister, and others. However, The Father’s House was filled with nepotism. Nepotism is essentially favoring family and friends. It was that nepotism that ended up dividing and, later destroying that ministry. I was an elder when the Father’s House International went through that division. I wanted no part of it. I tried as a young elder to avoid such division, but one thing I know, when folks make up their minds it takes an act of God for them to change. It is harder in the Pentecostal world because, after all, everybody has the Spirit, God speaks to everybody… Right?
In the summer of 2005 God called me to pastor a church in North Carolina and sure enough, I adopted the same format; the same format I was sick of. It was all I knew! But this time I had the freedom to change things and, to an extent, I did. Every now and then I would show up on Sundays and tell the congregation “I can teach about many things, but today, somebody else have the message, not me.” People looked at me like I was crazy! But every time I did that, we enjoyed a dialogue; after all, we were a small church; it was easy to do so. I knew deep inside that the church was about participation, discussions, questions, answers and never a One-Man-Show. I just did not know how to articulate these things Biblically.
I attempted to do things different, our services, for example, started at 3:00 PM on Sundays, we ate together after church every Sunday and we played volleyball or soccer to promote true fellowship. We made sure we invited each other to our birthday’s celebrations; we were a part of each other’s lives. For the New year service, we did not just have a long service, NO!!! We had a party. I hired a Christian D.J. and encouraged the congregation to dance and celebrate. In the beginning, it was like pulling teeth, but they embrace it eventually. Again, we ate together, we celebrated the new year and, at 12:00 Midnight, as we received the New Year, I would stand up and give a prophetic word for the new year.
I remember feeling so good to be a pastor; I felt I was born for it. I had the freedom to do many of the things I wanted to do, after all, I was the Hispanic Pastor; nobody pay attention to us anyway. But my services were not just in Spanish, they were bilingual. As a matter of fact, about everything I did up to that point, including the Prison Ministry, was always bilingual. I was truly happy!
To be continued…