I am very excited to share with you the interview that I conducted Pastor Devin Ward. Pastor Devin is the pastor of First Baptist Church Inwood, where I am currently serving as the pastoral intern. Pastor Devin has been a pastor for many years and has been extremely helpful to me as I pursue the ministry. He was gracious enough to share some insights into his ministry and now I am sharing them with you.
Tell me about your call to pastoral ministry.
I was saved at the age of 15 which brought about great changes in my life. I began to grow and involved myself faithfully in the work of the church where I was led to the Lord. This was very satisfying and led to greater involvement in ministry, primarily through the direction of our church’s Associate Pastor.
As I neared graduation from high school, I began to pray more and more about the direction God wanted me to go in my life. Though I did not feel worthy of being a preacher, I did begin to sense God’s call on my life. The timing was such that God helped me to see that He wanted me to pursue studies that would be beneficial to the ministry to which I believed God was calling me. I yielded my life to the ministry publicly in the summer of 1971 and soon thereafter enrolled to pursue a degree in Theology at Texas Baptist Institute and Seminary in Henderson, Texas.
What type of preparation did you have for the ministry?
Initially, I made myself available to give devotionals, preach messages (Rescue Mission, etc.), teach S.S. lessons, take part in church outreach efforts and any other thing I could do through my home church at the time. I also received some pastoral instruction (a form of mentorship) from my first pastor which I saw as invaluable at the time.
When God’s calling on my life became clearer, I began receiving Seminary training (full-time and later part time after having taken on my first pastorate, amounting to six years of studies) at Texas Baptist Institute and Seminary, Henderson, Texas. I eventually received a Bachelor’s degree in Theology, completed work for Masters but did not write thesis due to extenuating circumstances at the time.
How many pastorates have you had and how did you know when it was time to move from one pastorate to another?
I have had four pastorates, ranging from 19 months to 22+ years.
It seems to me that there were different things that caused me to be aware of the
need to change pastorates. At no time was I forced to leave any pastorate but I sensed that God was working in different stages of my life to accomplish different things. The strongest knowledge of God’s leadership in my life came with my moving to my third pastorate which was the planting of a new church in the greater metropolitan area of Houston, Texas. The most difficult move was to my present pastorate because of the love I had for the people where I planted a new church. It was so difficult to leave them but felt that they needed fresh leadership. I look back at that move now, however, and see God’s hand directing me.
Which pastoral responsibility do you enjoy the most? Why?
Preaching and the study which accompanies it. God places within men called to preach His Word a desire (passion) to proclaim the good news of Jesus in particular and the whole counsel of God, in general. Prayer and preaching of the Word are clearly to be the two most important things in the life of a God-called pastor.
There is a lot more that Pastor Devin had to share with me about his ministry. I will post more of the interview in the next series of posts.