Blog 67 Charles Kirby
I HAVE A STORY TO TELL...A LIFETIME OF PREACHING
I have been notified by the Florida Nazarene District Superintendent, Larry Dennis, because of my plans to be the preaching interim pastor of Restoration Fellowship Church in Lakeland that my ordination credential will be revoked.
I met all requirements to be an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene and was ordained at the altar of Little Rock, Arkansas First Nazarene Church by General Superintendent D.I. Vanderpool on September 13, 1963, at the South Arkansas District Assembly before a great crowd. I can still feel his holy hands on my head asking if I would be faithful in preaching God’s Word without fear or favor. With Bess by my side, with tear stained eyes, I said I would, and also keep myself above reproach.
When I retired after 56 years as a pastor in May of 2017, I did not retire as an ordained preacher of the Gospel of my Lord. The preaching flame has been burning in my heart since I was a young boy preaching in a make-believe church in the barn at my old home place. It will not go out until God calls me home!
I began my preaching ministry in my first year of college after God healed my stuttering, stammering tongue. At the altar of College Hill Nazarene Church in Nashville I told God I would surrender to His call for me to be a preacher of the Gospel if He would heal my stuttering. It was a miraculous healing, and almost immediately launched me into a preaching ministry. I began to get calls to preach revivals on the weekends. I would leave the college campus on Fridays in my 1954 green and white Ford, and travel across the Southeast to preach Friday night through Sunday night, returning to the campus usually early on Monday mornings for an 8:00 a.m. class. God really blessed me tremendously during this time with great victories in all of these churches. I even went back to most of these churches a second and third time. It really was an exciting time in my life! It was a fact, God was honoring my obedience to His call to preach His Holy Word! After Bess and I married, we continued in revivals until we began our pastoral ministry in a home mission church with three people.
In June of 1972 I was a featured speaker at the General Nazarene Sunday School Convention with thousands attending in Miami Beach. At that time Bess and I were serving as pastors of Tidewater Central Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The church had grown to become the 10th largest Sunday School in the Nazarene denomination. Roy Henley, from the Department of Church Schools in Kansas City, interviewed me concerning our growth. The providential exposure to thousands of Nazarenes from across the country and Canada opened a brand new door of preaching opportunities for me that ran into 2007. That is 35 years of preaching in conferences and camp meetings while maintaining my pastoral ministry and preaching on Sundays in my local church. I have just today, Wednesday July 11, 2018, reviewed my schedule and counted 45 states and districts where I was a featured preacher during those years. It included other denominations like Wesleyan, Churches of Christ in Christian Union, Missionary Demonination and a week's tour of Western Canada, along with a special Central Canada convention. I have not counted any revivals I held during these years, just conventions and camp meetings.
It goes without saying, God has blessed me abundantly and beyond my greatest expectations as a preacher of the Gospel of my Lord. I am so thankful for every opportunity He has given to a stuttering and stammering Tennessee country boy. Every morning God wakes me up He reminds me He is not finished with me yet. So I will continue to preach His Word at every opportunity until He calls me home!!!!!!!
With a thankful heart!
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