My name is Joseph Scott Parker, and I am grateful for the free professional ministry training at CLI. I am originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and today, I live in a small eastern town in Tennessee.
I completed my GED in 1977, the same year I would have graduated High School had I not dropped out to enter the US Army in 1976. After my tour of duty, I applied and was accepted to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. My major was in business administration and general management. Unfortunately, I discovered I was not ready (mature enough) to be a full-time student, so I returned to military service in the US Navy.
My Early Years
My father was an attorney, and my mother, a registered medical secretary. At one time, my father taught high school English, so education was stressed. My parents both hoped I would be a “professional,” Father wanted me to be an attorney like him. Mother wanted me to be a doctor. I have always had an interest in law, so that seemed to be more likely. However, I was a disinterested student.
When I was in Elementary School, my parents hired a tutor for me because I struggled in math, and probably all of my classes. That tutor was a Christian. He led me to Christ via the “Romans Road.” That summer of 1969, I gave my life to Jesus.
My parents divorced when I was ten years old but then remarried “for the kid” the following year. They divorced for the last time the next year, for “irreconcilable differences.” Due to the stresses of home life, that was the right decision for them.
Interest in Ministry
I have had an interest in ministry for many years, but this became a desire to fulfill over the last ten years. I have been all over the place spiritually, but I always come back to the Bible and Jesus.
During a time in Bible study, I suddenly realized, I doubted. I doubted Christianity as a whole; Jesus, God, just everything about it. And when that realization hit me, I started weeping. That was the Holy Spirit telling me that my doubts were valid, but the answers were in the Bible I was studying. That was the beginning of a lifelong study of the Bible, which eventually led me to the Christian Leaders Institute for some structure.
Heart Attack and Changes
In September of 2014, I had a heart attack that was so mild in action that I didn’t feel pain or anything that I had associated with a heart attack. I went to the local hospital; from there, I was taken by ambulance to their main hospital in downtown Chattanooga. Forty-five minutes later, I was in surgery. In the ambulance, I said a short prayer. “Lord, I trust you to see me through this if that is Your will. But in all things, Your will be done. Amen.”
As I said earlier, I received a basic understanding from a friend that was tutoring me. I knew God from that. However, I lived like ‘hell’ during my military days from 4/’76 to 10/’84. I’m not proud of that, but I have to be honest about my past being rough. The good thing is that I settled down, returned to college for training in computer maintenance, and almost completed the course. The heart attack knocked me out of that. But something HAD to change in my life. I knew where to find it with Christ and in the Bible.
Professional Ministry Training at CLI
I have studied the Bible for years. I am 62 now. What I am going to do in the future is in God’s hands. But I have my ministry: BOLD Faith Ministry, based on 2 Timothy 1:7. I hope to begin a home-based Bible study and possibly a web-based ministry, which may lead to a church-like setting. Currently, I hand out “GOT GOD?” business cards. On the back, it reads: “I AM,”; Watching, Listening, Waiting, HERE. Then I also include contact information. I don’t know if it has touched anyone yet, but I have been thanked many times. Alas, no one has, however, contacted me for prayer.
I live on Social Security Disability Income because I am a heart patient. My heart is inoperable, according to my original cardiologist, and I have diabetes. So, after paying rent, utilities, food, internet/cell phone, and medical bills my insurance doesn’t cover, I have a precious little leftover. Going from a sinner to a minister is only through God. Finding a way to accomplish guided and professional ministry training for free at CLI was God sent.
God Bless Christian Leaders Institute!