In the weeks that followed that sudden invitation to preach at a church in Brady, I had numerous other invitations and before the end of the year I was asked to be the guest speaker in a revival.  I spoke at churches in Comanche County, Brown County, and Coleman County in the first few months after I had made my decision to pursue a call to ministry.  One of the first churches that I preached at was a strong rural church in Comanche county.  In a bible study group I challenged one of the deacons before his class in regards to a highly judgmental statement that he made.  He did not take it well.  I remember thinking that ministry would often involve difficult confrontations.  What an understatement that was!  I was invited back the next week.  On that visit one of the leaders walked me to the car and told me that they would love for me to be their pastor but because I was single they did not think it wise to invite me.  They had quite a group of teenage girls in the church.  Since I had already been in a heated discussion with another leader, I thought it best not to reply that I was engaged.  I was invited back to speak for a third week, however, and this time Shannon went with me.  We spent the afternoon at a home where the gift of hospitality was nowhere to be found.  A youth from the church took us on a tour and gave us a clear view of just how difficult serving there could be.  By days end, Shannon needed therapy to prepare her for the challenges of ministry that lay in our future.  I was never more glad not to be invited back.

After numerous times speaking at churches in a fifty mile radius of Howard Payne, I was asked to be the guest evangelist at the Immanuel Baptist Church in Talpa, a church that would become our first pastorate.  The pastor was retired and living in Bangs.  He commuted to Talpa in Coleman County to serve the church.  He happened to be the pastor who had baptized me as a boy of eight, T. F. Collier.  This would be his last pastorate, and as it turned out it would be my first.  He also was pastor to the church I now serve in Georgetown, Crestview Baptist Church, in her early years.  He is one of only six pastors who have served Crestview in her fifty years of existence.  I often look at his picture on our wall and think of the blessing he was in my life.  We had a very good revival and several people mentioned that when the pastor retired they would be in touch with me.  I was excited about this for several reasons.  The church sat very near to a high school and junior high in a consolidated school district.  It had sixty members and a building that was above average for country churches.  The town was small, but at least it was a town.  I knew that there would be an opportunity to learn about personal evangelism there.  Most very young pastors could not hope to get an opportunity as good as this would be.  God’s call would be confirmed once again.

Dan Wooldridge

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