You probably know the song, “Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places”. That song represented my life before I met Jesus in January 1978.
I can remember feeling this love deficit beginning at a very early age. I was born in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England on Christmas Day, 1959. My twin sister had entered the world 2 hours earlier. Mum said it was a surprise to both her and the doctors that she was having twins!
My childhood in England was one that, to this day, represented parents who loved me but spoke in a language I was not speaking. Their love for me was expressed in ‘doing’ while I was wanting them to love me through verbal and emotional expressions. This set me on a course to look for that love in companionship and when I found it I was determined to keep it. I wanted to marry the first girl I ever ‘dated’. I’m sure our parents would have objected since we were both in the first grade!
In August of 1969 my entire family immigrated to the United States and lived in Hampton, Virginia until I came to Elim Bible Institute in the fall of 1985.
The thing I was best known for throughout my growing up years was my ability to play the drums. Early on in high school I became a proficient drummer and during my teen years played in a reputable local jazz ensemble. Playing drums on the Tonight Show was my goal in life. I had the opportunity to perform in many places during those years including the Annual Hampton Roads Jazz Festival. My band was the opening act for artists such as Natalie Cole and J.J. Walker.
Looking for that love I so deeply desired was still the driving force behind all I accomplished… “If only Miss Right could see me, we would run off for a storybook ending.” In 1980 I finally manipulated my way into a marriage that was so unhealthy that it only lasted 18 months. The devastation of rejection and ultimately a divorce finally drove me to the true love that I had been seeking for so long. Though I had been born again 2 years earlier, I now began to experience God’s love and grace in a brand new way.
Playing drums was my evening job while I was a car mechanic during the day. During those difficult years of feeling alone and rejected, I was employed at the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN). My primary responsibility was working on their fleet of vehicles and maintaining Pat Robertson’s car. It was through this ministry that I became baptized in the Holy Spirit and finally felt the real love of Christ.
I was attending a men’s retreat hosted by Rock Church of Virginia Beach when the guest speaker, Paul Johansson, prophesied over me and confirmed my call to preach. This was when I decided to sell all I had and enroll in Elim Bible Institute. WOW! This was life changing! I knew I was in the right place at the right time.
It was in my junior year at EBI when I met my wife, Carol. We dated for about 18 months and then were married at Lima Baptist Church. On June 13, 2012 we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary! One of our greatest blessings is that all 3 of our children are sensing the call to full-time ministry.
Exactly one year after we were married we accepted the call to serve as pastors of the First Church of Christ in South Butler, NY, a denominational church of 35 that had reached out to Elim for pastors. We were preceded by Elim credential holders, former General Overseer, Elmer Frink and William Timmons. Since 1989 that little church of 35 has grown to over 350 and today is a thriving church that is a part of the Elim Fellowship Network of Churches. Carol and I have overseen the construction of 3 building projects totaling over $3 million. The church has remained completely debt-free throughout its history.
In 1993 I was asked to serve as Area Rep for the newly formed Syracuse area. I served in this capacity for 17 years and watched the area grow from 5 to 56 credential holders. In 2005 President Ron Burgio asked me to come to Elim Fellowship and take the part-time position of General Secretary. In 2015 it was my great honor to accept the position of President of EF and I now endeavor to serve our constituency as we continue to ‘strengthen the leader, to equip the church, to reach the world’.
Next to my love for my wife and family and serving as President at EF, I receive my greatest pleasure from using my gifts as a leader with hopes to bless and influence everyone I come in contact with so they might know and desire to reach their God-given purpose.
When I look over my life I am so grateful that God has chosen me to be a part of His great work. My lifelong favorite scripture is Ephesians 3:20-21. It is my prayer that the truth of this verse will impact others as much as it has impacted me:
Eph 3:20-21 NKJV Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.