Train for the Ministry
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my story. I am Michael Tutt and I am 55 years old and currently living in Dacula, a small city about 50 Km North East of Atlanta, Georgia in the United States. I was born in England in 1959 with congenital glaucoma and although surgeons operated and restored some sight to my right eye I have been blind in my left eye all my life. In 1992 the disease caught up with me and I lost my sight completely. However, God is the one who literally and spiritually heals the blind and causes them to see. Just so, he has healed me spiritually and given me a vision for salvation and discipleship in my local area. By His immense grace I will fulfil the calling given to me and, in His timing, my sight will be fully restored. That is the basis of my story.
I attended English boarding schools near Brighton and Coventry and seemed to excel academically. However, the combination of being forced to attend Chapel every Sunday, and an increasing scientific skepticism, drove me away from Christ and the ritualistic form of Christianity that seemed to pervade my education.
I took my undergraduate degree at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in Physics and Electronics and went on to gain a string of postgraduate qualifications including a Diploma in Management Studies, Masters’ degree in Intelligent Management Systems, Certificate in Adult Education, and another undergraduate degree in Social Science. Yet I account all this learning as nothing compared with the amazing grace of Christ who saved me in the Fall of 1986.
I was living in communal housing for people with limited or no vision in London, and some people who had befriended me, invited me to Kensington Temple Elim Pentecostal church. This was a genuinely astounding experience, the presence of God was palpable, like electricity in the atmosphere. The relaxed, non-ritualistic, worship made me feel comfortable in a church for the first time in my life. When the Senior Pastor, the late and blessed Wynne Lewis, preached the sermon it seemed like he was speaking directly to me. It went straight from his lips into my heart. I felt the burden of my sin: my turning my back on God, my critical spirit, and my scoffing at those who believed. With tears in my eyes I responded to His glorious call and accepted Christ as my personal savior. I was baptized by full immersion the following year.
I studied for the Diploma in Christian Ministry at the International Bible Institute of London but, as my sight affliction demonstrated, this was not the right time for me to enter the ministry. After losing my sight I was angry with God and couldn’t comprehend why a God of love should destroy MY dreams of an academic career and Christian ministry. It took me a few months to come to terms with being blind, to seek assistance to re-learn the living skills I needed to live independently, and to realize that God never promised me an easy road, that MY dreams and plans were immaterial compared with His much better plans to prosper me, and finally that I could trust Christ to lift me up in whatever state I found myself.
In 2003 I moved from England to Orange County California to marry Susan, after a long distance relationship conducted through the Internet, phone calls, and several transatlantic vacations. We lived there and worshipped at Saddleback Christian Center and then Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa until Susan retired from her work with Experian. Last year we relocated to our current home in Dacula where we have found a very supportive church family in Calvary Chapel of Gwinnett under the care of Pastor Mark Byrd. We are really just getting settled into our new church right now, but I fully hope and expect that Pastor Byrd will be able to make use of my natural and spiritual gifts in the service of Christ’s family.
I am a Pastor, that is not something that anyone can bestow on a person, it is the enormous grace of God, it is His calling on my life. One of the things that grieves my heart here is that although many profess to follow Christ, it is in a shallow, almost ritualistic way, as though by their works they might be perceived as holy. There is a pharisaical quality to their faith (faith that I believe is nonetheless genuine) that is immensely sorrowful to behold. Almost a “worship me with their lips but their hearts are far from me” (Matt 15:8) situation. Yet I sense a true spiritual hunger among many and believe they need help to know how to apply God’s word in their everyday lives.
My God-given vision is to form study groups where I can help people translate the eternal Word of God into a practical application to the issues and problems of living the Christian life, empower them with the Spirit, and provide practical counseling to fulfill whatever ministry God has called them to. This is the heart God has placed within me. Evangelism, equipping the saints, teaching the Word and prayer.
I also hope to use my long-term hobby of amateur radio to reach out to people from other countries with the gospel. I pray that God will use my communications skills to His glory.
I am blessed that Christian Leaders Institute has given me this opportunity to study God’s Word with mentors and friends who can guide me spiritually and help me grow in my relationship with Christ. The generous donations of supporters that have made it possible is an answer to prayer. I have been unemployed since coming to the United States and so a traditional Bible college is not an option. I am delighted that God has made a way for me to train for the ministry at Christian Leaders Institute. Thank you to all those who have made this possible.