Pastor Starts A Mentor Center
When a pastor starts a mentor center in his community, he is raising up revival leaders. That is what Greg Kittredge desires to do at his church. Here is his full story…
I am the Lead Pastor at Carney Assembly of God church in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. I am 52 years old and have served in full-time pastoral ministry since 1987. For the first 8 years of ministry, I served as an Assistant Pastor at a church of 2,000 where my responsibilities included pastoral care, young adult and single adult ministry. I then moved on to plant a church in Columbia, Maryland which I pastored for 12 years and where I learned many lifelong lessons about trusting God and walking by faith. Then with the Lord’s leading I accepted the call to become the pastor at Carney Assembly of God, a church of around 100, in November, 2007. I share this because I am thankful that the Lord has allowed me to be part of a large “mega-church”, as well as start a church from nothing, and now to pastor an average-sized church.
I grew up in a Christian family and attended church from the time I was born. In my early teens God began to become more and more important in my life. I was somewhat shy and awkward and I think that is one of the things that drew me to seek out a closer relationship with the Lord. I developed an intense interest in God, the Bible, and the church. I would often spend extended periods of time praying and studying the Bible. In fact, I can remember specifically a period of time as a teenager when I would sense the Holy Spirit speaking to me at specific times to stop what I was doing and go spend time alone with God in prayer and Bible study. For some reason I learned to hear and respond to that “still small voice” of the Spirit. Not having many friends at that time, I developed a close friendship with God that thankfully has lasted and grown over the years by His grace even with many difficulties and challenges along the way. Although I have failed Him many times, He has never failed me. I have found that if you stick with God no matter what and walk humbly and with a repentant heart before Him that He will never give up on you and you will grow in your relationship with Him. If we don’t give up on God, He will never give up on us. If we continually come back to Him and persevere and re-commit ourselves to him, we will find that we will make progress step-by-step and we will come to find that nothing in the world is more desirable or satisfying than our relationship with God.
As a pastor, when I’m trying to help people I often try to encourage them by describing that there are times that the Christian life is a “two steps forward and one step back” kind of walk. In other words, none of us moves forward in our walk with God without setbacks, failures, and disappointments. That’s what “growing in grace” is all about. Grace is the opportunity God gives us to grow as a person and in our relationship with God– and that includes making mistakes and failing. We can however squander that opportunity and misuse God’s grace instead as a license to hold onto sinful patterns and to not change and grow. Unfortunately, that misses the whole point of being a Christian which is transformation—specifically God’s transformation of us into the image of His perfect Son so that more and more our lives bring glory to God.As I approached graduation from high school and was considering a career, it at first did not cross my mind to pursue full-time vocational ministry. Despite the fact that more and more I found myself serving in greater leadership roles in the church, I did not see myself as someone who was cut out for pastoral ministry. A few things began changing my mind. First, although I never sought leadership in the church, somehow I found myself being asked to serve in leadership positions. Secondly, others began to suggest to me that I “would make a good pastor” or something to the effect that God “had a call on my life.” Thirdly, my youth pastor at the time saw something in me that I did not see and encouraged me toward full-time ministry preparation as a possibility. Fourthly, internally I was feeling an increasing “burden” to surrender myself to God for full-time service in His Kingdom, although I remained reluctant to say “yes” to God. I remember the night kneeling at my bed that I finally made a tearful surrender to God’s calling on my life. I remember saying to the Lord that if He could use me I would make myself completely available to Him. To this day, I take the call of God very seriously. If it were not for the reality of God’s call on my life, there are many times over the last 28 years of ministry that I would have given up out of disappointment, frustration, hardship or despair. I believe it’s so important that we enter ministry knowing that God has called us and that we have not just called ourselves. For one thing, if I have called myself, then I can quit anytime I want to. But if God has called me, I must persevere because it is a matter of obedience. I answered the call of God reluctantly, and I have since come to believe that that is how anyone should enter the ministry God calls them to. After all, without Him we can do nothing. To enter the ministry presumptuously or for self-serving reasons often results in disaster and damage to the work of God. Instead, we answer the call of God reluctantly knowing that it is “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord.”
I have enrolled in CLI out of an interest to provide excellent ministry training for church workers and also for those who may be called to vocational ministry. It’s my desire to establish a mentor/study center at our church in cooperation with the dedicated people at CLI. Around 6 or 8 people from our church are now completing the “Getting Started” class and we plan on beginning New Testament Survey as our first class together on January 25th, 2016.