In my teens, I experienced a year of depression. God used that to shape me for the ministry. I experienced God in a deep way as I dove into His word and met with my father, a Baptist Pastor, for prayer and support.
It was during this time that our hearts were being joined together. My father was kicked out of the Baptist Church because of his new beliefs about the Holy Spirit and his charismatic expressions. I was impressed by his grace and courage as he pioneered a new church. (Which is now Riverside Church) He often included me in ministry opportunities that helped pull me out of my depression.
After graduating from college and being newly married to my wife Bonnie, I felt a calling on my life for the ministry. After asking my dad for advice, he said….
- I could go to seminary or…
- Follow the New Testament model of discipleship where he would mentor me in the ministry.
We chose the later and I began meeting with my dad regularly.
- He taught me the “how to’s” of ministry
- He gave me different responsibilities in the church
- Most importantly, we would pray together…for hours!
(Our hearts were bonded during that time)
- He never promised me a position
- He would always quote Proverbs 18:16 “A gift makes way for a man”.
He taught me the leadership principles of Jesus that says, Luke 16:10 “Faithful with little, faithful with much”….Luke 16:12 ”Faithful with another man’s things, faithful with your own”.
I decided to faithfully serve and honor my father’s vision for the church.
Over time, he handed the church over to me as he was launched into trans-local ministry.
The key to this working well was…
- Our mutual honor and respect for each other
- Clear communication with key groups of people in our church.
When he stepped aside, he allowed my wife and I to build the church with our own vision and unique gifts.
- We didn’t always agree, but he supported us one hundred percent.
- He is now 95 years old and sits in the front row on Sundays, as my biggest fan.
- I still consult with him on a regular basis and always let him know that I am standing on his shoulders.
Paul Booko, Lead Pastor, Riverside Church, Three Rivers, MI