Just before Jesus ascended back to heaven, he told his Church in Acts 1:8 that “ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” He told them that it is their job to be a witness. A witness is defined as someone who can give a firsthand account of something seen, heard, or experienced.
Notice that by definition, a witness speaks of someone who can give a “first hand account” of something. That tells me one thing: in order to be a witness you do not need to memorize the Roman’s Road or any other plan, all you have to do is just tell others what Jesus has done for you. With that thought in mind, I want to take the opportunity to tell our readers what Jesus did for me.
I was born on March 5, 1982 in Inverness, Florida. My parents, Donald and Donna Goodman, were faithful members of Solid Rock Baptist Church in Homosassa, FL. Mom was the church pianist and Dad was the Sunday School Superintendent. On top of this, mom and dad sang in a southern gospel quartet . What did all of this mean? It meant that we were in church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday Night, Revival nights, Camp meetings, Bible conferences, Missions Conferences, and any other time the church doors were open.
Although my parents were religious, they realized at our church’s camp meeting in 1988 that they had a profession without possession and accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. Around this same time, I was attending the New Testament Christian School in Floral City, FL. One morning my kindergarten teacher, Mrs Evans, was teaching about how Christ had died for our sins, was buried, and then rose again the third day so that we might have eternal life. At the conclusion of the lesson she told us how we too could have eternal life. There as a 6-year-old boy, I prayed and trusted Christ as my Saviour.
One of my greatest fears growing up was water and as a result I did not tell my parents about this out of fear that they would make me get baptized. The idea of being put under the water by someone else scared me greatly. All of this changed the summer of 1994. While attending church camp at the Florida Baptist Encampment in Groveland, FL, I fell under conviction regarding the issue of my baptism. The next Sunday I walked the aisle of the Bible Baptist Church in Crystal River, FL and presented myself for baptism. The next week I was baptized by my pastor, Pastor Tom Reaves Sr. Oh what a burden was lifted off of my shoulders that day.
The summer of 1996 changed my life forever. Our church youth group went on an 8 day mission trip to help Missionary Clark Allen in Ponce, Puerto Rico. We flew back home on a Friday, washed clothes on Saturday, re-packed our suite cases on Sunday, and left for church camp on Monday. Little did I realize this church camp would impact me so strongly.
The camp that we attended was the Venture of Faith Camp in Valdosta, GA. The two speakers for that week were Pastor David McCoy of McDonough, GA and Evangelist Phil Kidd of Amory, MS. Both men preached all week on the will of God for your life. On Tuesday, June 18, I surrendered to the will of God for my life. The next night, Bro Kidd preached on “What will it take for God to get your attention?” and that night God made his specific will known to me and I surrendered to the call to preach.
Two years later, I began dating a young lady from the Hope Children’s Home in Tampa, FL. She was the only young lady that I ever dated and has now been my wife for nearly 12 years. Upon graduation from high school, I attended Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, FL. As a result of backsliding I dropped out of school for several years before eventually returning college at Landmark Baptist College in Haines City, FL.
While at Landmark, I was presented with the opportunity to work at the Assistant Pastor of the Cleveland Heights Baptist Church in Lakeland, FL. It was there that I met one of the greatest men of God that I have ever had the privilege of knowing, Dr Don Shughart. Dr Shughart was a great mentor to me but most importantly he was my friend. He treated me like his own son and taught me how to pastor one of the Lord’s Churches. Sadly, Dr Shughart went home to be with the Lord on Friday, October 28, 2005. This left a huge void in my life. A void that if I can be completely honest with our readers, has never been filled by anyone else.
My first opportunity to Pastor came in 2008 at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Myrtle Creek, OR. I was there one year before feeling led to come and be the Pastor here at First Missionary Baptist Church. When I came here three years ago, I was wondering what kind of church I would find. Now I can tell you what kind of church I found. I found a church solid in its doctrine, secure it its direction, and sold out in its devotion. I found a church that was hungry, hopeful, healthy and happy. I found a people who were ready, willing, and able to go where God wanted to take them. I found a great church, made up of great people, serving a great God.
I believe that the First Missionary Baptist Church is a great church and I invite you to come be a part of what God is doing in our Church.