The day was November 19, 1995. I was a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin. I was living in an all male dorm Moore Hill room 109. I was scheduled to attend church that morning but my mentor and big brother Donyall Dickey was not able to pick me up that day so I stayed in my dorm but was still wanting to connect with Jesus so I read the bible. I read Ephesians 5. It’s like the words were jumping off the pages and forming puzzles that my mind and spirit were putting together. The bible was making more and more sense.
Now to understand this moment, I must digress and explain my spiritual background and the context of my life at the time. I grew up as the son of Samuel and Carrie Tabor, a pastor in the Church of God in Christ, the largest African American denomination in the world. So my background was being a part of a small pentecostal local church serving as a children’s Sunday School teacher, singing in the choir and playing the drums. I grew up in Abilene, Texas a town of 100,000 people with the most churches per capita in the country and three Christian universities.
I had graduated from high school with seven academic scholarships (mostly local) and was ending my dream senior year of being student body president, speech team president, homecoming king and co-host to a children’s television show called, “Camp Waycoo”.
After completing my personal bible study on the morning of November 19, 1995, I went to Jester dormitory to each lunch and came back and watched the Dallas Cowboys beat the Oakland Raiders 34-21. I played Madden video game to continue the beat down and then prepared for Sunday evening service that night at the church I was attending called Praise Tabernacle now known at the R.O.C.K.. That night at church Elder Mark Floyd preached a sermon about spending time with God. He recommended that instead of going home to watch TV we go home and spend time with God. So I went back to my dorm room and started listening to Fred Hammond and Radical for Christ’s Inner Court CD.
As I listened to the CD I sensed that God was calling me to preach the gospel, not just as a lay person but as a called preacher / minister / reverend whatever your tradition calls it. I was reticent because having seen my brother and father both be ministers I knew how challenging it was and you couldn’t do it well or long without being called. So I told God I was scared, three times in a row. Finally I asked for confirmation and fell asleep. The next morning I called my mother and the first thing she said was, “God called you to preach last night.” She heard from God and she confirmed what I heard. That December my brother and I led a Christmas youth revival at my dad’s church and I began preaching the gospel. I went on to grow in spiritual leadership at UT by becoming chaplain of the choir my sophomore year, president of the choir my 3rd, 4th and 5th years and continued as a member of Gamma Phi Delta.
After graduation, I started a bible study on campus that was partnered with Praise Tabernacle and the next year we affiliated with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to launch Texas Gospel Fellowship, a ministry to black students at UT. During this time I wrote a resource that has continued to be developed and shared called, Prioritize for Your Purpose: Ordering Your Life to Be Extraordinary. We are hosting a workshop January 13th at the H.I.M. Center to share that content as people begin their year. After four years of severing with InterVarsity, I joined the staff of Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church as the Maturity and Ministry Pastor where I served for 4 years prior to planting the church I now pastor Full Life Community Church.
22 years ago, I was a zealous, passionate inexperienced boy who God called for his purposes to minister to the body of Christ. Today, I’ve had many maturing experiences that have allowed me grow as a person and a minister of the gospel. I am thankful that for over half my life I have been preaching the gospel in season and out of season as Paul describes in 2 Timothy 4:2. I have preached to children, students, adults young and older. I have preached in places from Colorado to Las Vegas to California. I have preached at chapel for the University of Texas football team and in local prisons. I served on missions trips in Kenya and Ethiopia, officiated weddings, dedicated babies and preached my own mom’s funeral.
All I can say after all these experiences is to say that God is faithful. He has allowed me to see thousands of people’s lives impacted for the kingdom of God and he has taught me so much about his heart for me and his world. I am more committed than ever to live out the gospel as a minister of the gospel knowing that he who began a good work in me in able to carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). I am thankful to all who have led me as pastors, ministry leaders and mentors and to all who have allowed me to lead them as their pastor, ministry leader or mentor. I am thankful to my parents to planted the seed of faith in me at a young age and to my wife April who has been by my side the entire way. Let’s do another 22 years of preaching the gospel of Jesus in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and utter most parts of the world.