My mother did not have anyone to guide her so she started attending the Congregational Church in town. She was faithful until the pastor taught something that went against the Bible and that was the last service she attended there. My Aunt Cheryl then told my mother about a Baptist Church in Medford, Ma. that she had heard about so my mother began attending New England Baptist Church.
I did not start attending with my mother right away. My mother and sister went for a few weeks without my brother and I or my father. After they were baptized in 1982 my brother and I started going with them to church, I was four years old at the time.
When I was old enough I went for testing at New England Christian Academy. I started when I was five in the ABC Learning to Read class taught by Mrs. Baxter. It was later that same year that I heard a message in church about hell. I remember being very scared and asking my mom about it. She took the Bible and showed me the verses that she had read with my sister and I knelt down in our living room and prayed for Jesus to forgive my sin and save me.
My home life was solid. My father was home every night, my mother started teaching in the school when I was 6. She took very good care of our home and we were in church every time the doors were open. My mother went soul winning with the ladies and bus calling on Saturdays. We went every summer to the Boston Common to the tent meeting and passed out tracts. Even though I had all this good in my life I was a stubborn rebellious child. I truly believe that I probably got more spankings in my years at New England Christian Academy than any other student.
Pastor Michael made it mandatory for every boy, at the age of nine, to write a sermon and preach at the Massachusetts Association of Christian Schools competition. We did that every year until I left the school when I was 16. I look back and it strikes me that even though the preaching and studying of God’s Word did affect my heart I would purposely bury it and push it down deep. I thought that to surrender to God would mean I would never have any fun.
God called me to preach at a teen activity at Greater Rhode Island Baptist Temple when I was 13 years old. Later that year I started to hang out with the wrong crowd. I got into more and more trouble with my “friends” in the world. I made a conscious decision that summer that I was going to turn my back on church and have fun. I got into a lot of trouble after that and a good portion of the trouble had to do with the police.
At the age of 15 I was given a choice to stay at the school and get a spanking for fighting with my brother or leave. My brother left, but at that time I chose to stay. I lasted one more year at the Academy. When I was 16 I walked out, I felt so free, so liberated. I didn’t realize that I had just sold myself as a slave into the bondage of sin. I sold myself, not for gold or riches or fame. I sold myself for nothing more than a good time.
It would be six years before I would think of my sin again. Six years of sin. All the fun had turned to drudgery; good time friends had turned out to be just that, and now the good times were over for me. I recall sitting in a chair in my room, addicted to all kinds of things when I finally felt the weight of my sin as if it were chains hanging off of me, tying me up and weighing me down. I realized that I was a child of the King, eating the husks of the world. I was coming to the end of the sin road and I didn’t know how to get back on the road I should have never left.
My mother came to me one Wednesday and asked me to drive her to church in Woburn, Ma. While I was there I met the pastor that God was going to use to change my course and bring me back to Him. Pastor Pledger took an interest in me. He brought me to a conference in New Jersey where I heard Bob Grey preach. I was brought low during that message; I ended up at the altar crying like a baby. I went back home with a seed in my heart, however, I went right back to the pig slop.
Pastor Pledger had offered me a place to stay if I wanted to get away from the world but I did not take it at first. It was about a month later that I went for a walk late at night thinking it all through. While I was walking through a park I met Jesus. Not face to face, I did not see a light or feel an earthquake. There was no sudden wind or anything spooky. I realized who He was; it was like meeting someone for the first time yet having known about them all your life. I cried for a long time that night in that field. The next day I called Pastor Pledger.
I got involved as soon as I could in church. I went Soul winning, worked on a bus route, taught Sunday School and did just about anything anyone told or asked me to do. Spiritually I was still a child and I had a lot to learn about being a Christian, about being a man and about God. (I still have a lot to learn) I am so glad for the patience of God and the help he has sent along the way.
I met my future wife Dawn, at Anchor Baptist Church. We got married on August 4th, 2001. Our family has grown since then. We have had 2 children, Emilie and Michael.
In 2005 we ended up in Nashua, NH at Heritage Baptist Church. During the next three years God used us to start a Soul winning program, King’s Kids Thursday night program, teach Sunday School classes, run a bus route and I had the privilege of being the Sunday School Superintendent as well as doing anything else our pastor needed us to do. I enrolled in Southern Indiana Baptist College and took 4 years to complete my studies for my Associates in Theology. In April of 2009 my pastor asked me to start a Christian school. Heritage Baptist Academy was founded in September of that year.
In 2013 I met Pastor Barnes. That year I brought the teenagers from the Academy to New England Baptist Teen camp. I left camp with a new fire burning in my heart to get closer to God and to be a better servant. I did not know at the time the work that God would do in my heart preparing our family to leave Heritage and come to State Line Baptist Church to serve under Pastor Barnes.
In October of 2015 I heard Bob Grey preach again at Gospel Baptist in Manchester NH. This time there was no mistaking what God was telling me He wanted me to do. God had called me to the Pastorate. I was reluctant to tell anyone, mostly because I was happy. I wanted to move to Portsmouth and just be the Teen class teacher. That is all I wanted to do, I did not want to be full time in the ministry again. I told pastor I knew what God wanted but I did not want to tell him what it was. I just asked him to pray about it and I would pray about it as well. In the meantime we started a Bible Study in Hudson NH that meets on Tuesday nights. I thought maybe this would be good enough.
In early spring 2016 we were at the Men’s conference in Conn and Pastor Bish said something in the invitation that hit me between the eyes. He said, “Some of you, God has called you to pastor and you have not told your pastor, what are you waiting for? You need to go to your pastor right now and tell him.” So I did. I got up and went over to my pastor and told him. We prayed together and he told me I needed to finish Bible College first. I enrolled in college a week later. I completed my studies in May of 2016. I was ordained in July of 2017.
Gate Way Baptist Church was founded on August 12, 2018.