MY SALVATION EXPERIENCE AND CALLING -
At the age of nine I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I was baptized May 11th of 1969. My parents gave me, my first Bible that May.
I grew up in a Christian home and have been very active in church. I cannot remember a time when I did not sense God’s love for me! As a child God planted a calling to ministry in my heart. I had no idea what it would include, except that it might involve youth and pastoral care for others. I also had no idea how God would use a shy little boy to reach others. I was very fearful of talking to others -period, much less to strangers or to groups.
On a Sunday afternoon in the summer of 1973, my family took my brothers and me to a Billy Graham Crusade at Legion field in Birmingham. It was there that I heard and really understood about sin. Up until that point, I knew of God’s love but, I did not have a strong awareness of “my sin”. You see, I had not sinned “big” in my mind. I was a decent kid with not much to confess. But Dr. Graham said that all sin was the same! All of our sin is why Jesus went to the cross. He died for my sin. At the Dr. Graham’s invitation, I made my way down to the turf and rededicated my life to Jesus. Jesus’ forgiveness felt wonderful! It was such a powerful time with the Lord that I asked my pastor to re-baptize me. He did.
God from there begin to do more work with me through my high school and college years. While in college, God led me to camping ministry for 3 summers and to part-time youth ministry at Cahaba Heights United Methodist Church during my senior year. Upon college graduation in 1982, I started to work at BellSouth in the accounting department. I was a fulltime employee there until 1996. During that time, I helped my home church in Leeds as a volunteer teacher, youth minister, committee chairperson, and as an outreach chairperson.
In 1985 I met my wife to be Laurie, who is vivacious and on fire for the Lord. We were married in 1988, and God led us to Moody United Methodist. I became the part-time youth minister and Laurie helped me. We also worked in the music ministry and the outreach ministry for the church. It was at this church where God led me to prepare myself for full-time ministry for Him. God used a tragedy to call me full-time in the ministry. One of my former youths from my home church was murdered by 2 young men from Georgia. My wife and I mourned the loss for some time. My mourning turned to anger. I was angry at those boys. Then my anger turned to the adults in those boys lives who didn’t teach them what life is all about. I even became angry at the churches in the area for not evangelizing those boys. When my anger focus went to the church, God said that is you too! I realized that I had been doing a “fishbowl” kind of ministry instead of reaching the community or the “pond” in which I was sent. God focused the ministry for me outward. I began to really live for Jesus. I started preparing by going to classes, teaching, preaching, praying, studying, reaching out to the community, and saying “yes” to God all of the time.
After 8 years of serving the Lord at Moody, God led me out of the Methodist church and into the Baptist Church. Change began to be common place in my life. In 1996, we joined Bethel Baptist Church, started teaching Sunday School, working with youth, left BellSouth after 14 years, sold the house, rented a house for 10 months, built a house, begin ministry with First Priority (a multi denominational ministry), and started seminary at New Orleans Baptist Theological. We learned in that year that adjusting our lives to God means adjusting our culture, our time, our focus, our prayers, and our income. God has always provided, always been faithful, and most gracious. At First Priority God taught me to be an evangelist, speak to people in many cultures, and serve in a broader area the Lord I love! It was at First Priority that God began to teach me to pray and fast for His Will in my life. Life with Him is incredible! But there was more to learn and more to share.
July 4th, 1999, our marvelous God called me to be the pastor of a prayerful, God-fearing, and God-empowered church. I love what God has taught me about Himself the last 19 years at New Hope Baptist Church. I love the people of New Hope and their excitement of knowing and sharing Jesus. We are growing in the Lord together! Now there is even more to learn about Jesus, and more testimonies to share with those around us about His power and love!
Jesus will do great things in you as He has in me! Jesus is your answer! Jesus wants to know you and wants to give you direction. But you must first receive forgiveness for your sins. You must ask Him to be Lord of your life (Romans 10:9). If you want to know Jesus, please call the church office, or see our website on how to become a Christian. He wants to know you!
Bio Outline -
Paul has 20+ years of ministry experience in the areas of youth and evangelism. Before he answered the call at New Hope, he was a director/evangelist at First Priority Ministries of Alabama for 3 years. He taught over 150 churches of various denominations to evangelize their schools with Gospel of Jesus Christ by forming First Priority Clubs in the local schools. His last 2 years at First Priority was spent primarily in the inner city of Birmingham.
Paul also spent 3 summers working on the ministry program staff at Camp Sumatanga in Gallant, Al. He has also spent some of his ministry time serving God at the Alabama Youth Correctional Facilities, in Chalkville, Al., the Alabama Youth Services Division, on a volunteer basis (at that time it was a boys and girls correctional facility). After His college years, Paul was a volunteer Sunday School teacher, part-time youth minister, and committee leader in his home church for 8 years. After marrying Laurie in 1988, He became a bi-vocational youth pastor/associate pastor for 8 years at Moody United Methodist.
Paul is a Leeds High School in ’78 graduate, and from Birmingham Southern College in ‘82 with a BA degree in Accounting. After answering the call to full-time ministry in ‘96, he left his secular job at BellSouth after 14 years of service. He enrolled at the New Orleans Baptist Seminary received his Masters of Divinity Degree in 2003. Bethel Baptist Church, in Moody, Al., licensed Paul on March 1st, 1998, and ordained him on December 27th, 1998.
Paul and Laurie have 3 children. Seth graduated from the University of Mobile (’14), married Katie, and is on staff at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga. Anna has graduated college from the University of Mobile (’17), and is pursuing teaching in elementary education in Foley, Al. Luke is in college at the University of Alabama in Birmingham with a football scholarship and is majoring in kinesiology. Paul and Laurie are love their children and are very proud of how God is leading them in their communities!