DALLAS (BP) -- Floyd Woodard was 25 years old when he felt God calling him into a life of ministry nearly six decades ago. Married just five years, Woodard was teaching a Sunday School class when he was approached about becoming a preacher.
"I knew the Lord was dealing with me and so finally I came to the place that I decided I would answer the call, that God called me to preach," Floyd said. "I started pastoring back in 1955 in a church that had us preach two Sundays a month. They paid us $15 a Sunday. We drove about 55 miles one way to get there."
When a church in Forsyth, Mont., offered $150 a month in the mid-'60s, Woodard readily accepted the call. He fondly remembered talking to a church member about receiving a weekly check. "When I talked to him and asked him about giving me a check every week, he said, 'Well, there are five Sundays in some months,' and I said, 'We have to eat that Sunday, too!'"
At times, it was difficult for Woodard and his wife Ivey to make ends meet on the small salary he received, but God was always faithful.
"There were several times," Ivey recalled, "when I would go to the grocery store and I'd spend my last dollar for milk, and I didn't know where the next dollar was coming from, but it always came."
Over the years, the Woodards were not afraid of hard work and often took additional jobs to make ends meet. "We did some work for different people," Floyd said, "like in the sugar beet fields and helping cut corn in the silage and stuff like that occasionally.
"I did a little carpenter work to help supplement our income. Roofed a few houses," he said, chuckling at the memory.
As with many small churches, food from members' gardens or farms also was part of the "pay" received by most preachers. For the Woodards, the meat served at the dinner table could be of an unusual variety. "When we first moved to Eureka (Mont.), a man from Great Falls had killed a deer," Ivey recounted. "He didn't need it, so he gave us that deer.