FIRST-PERSON: My call
TAYLORS, S.C. (BP)--In a recent conversation, a dear brother from Tennessee told me of his son’s surrender to the ministry. He also stated that his son read my articles in Baptist Press. To be honest, I was shocked that a young man would read my articles. However, he encouraged me to continue writing words of encouragement so that young ministers might receive the guidance and counsel that they need. As a part of that discussion, he asked that I share a little more about my call to ministry.
To be honest, my spiritual pilgrimage is somewhat different than others might have been. Let me explain.
I was raised in a very humble series of neighborhoods in Greensboro, N.C. My father worked in a foundry in a blue collar position which paid little. My mother worked as a seamstress and waitress from time to time. Our home was a home with many challenges.
As we were newcomers to the Greensboro area, a couple who went to a small Baptist church began to invite us to Sunday School and church. At first, my older sister and I began to attend. It was in that church that I sensed the power of God. At age four, I attended a Vacation Bible School there. At the graduation ceremony (which churches had in those days), I made public that some day I would be a Baptist preacher. Yes, I know that that was young. Also, I’m well aware of the fact that I had not yet given my life to Christ in salvation. As I said, my call is a little different than most. However, that is what happened to me.
I continue to find the church to be a place of security, peace and love. In spite of the difficulties of my life at that time, I knew that God had a special plan for me. I knew that He loved me and He wanted me to be His child. Having found a ride to church on Sunday evening, I gave my life to Christ as a young boy. Shortly thereafter, I was baptized by Pastor Edwin Smithwick. He is now retired and lives in Florida. I began to grow in Christ. It was not long before my brother, and other members of my family, came to Christ and were baptized, as well.
As I grew in the Lord, one thing that I loved to do was to see people come to Christ. Somehow I found a way to be a part of a soul-winning team which included older men. Although I was too frightened to speak at the time, I enjoyed watching the presentation of the Gospel to lost men and women. I shall never forget those experiences! I saw people pray to receive Christ and knew that is perhaps one of the most important responsibilities of every believer.
God truly has blessed my life. I certainly do not deserve to be His servant, or even to be His child. Beyond that, I know I did not deserve to be a pastor nor president of the Southern Baptist Convention. I am a recipient of the grace of God. I truly mean that.
Please know that God has a special plan for you, as well. His plan may not be the same plan that He had for me. However, I am convinced that God can use all of us, if we are open to His call and ready to be used by Him for whatever He might wish.
Thank you for listening to a small portion of my life story.
Frank Page is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C. Visit his website at www.sbc.net/PresidentsPage.