My Sunday & God’s Strength
A few months ago, I ran across a letter I had written to Dec. Cephus Clifton in February of 2011. A few weeks prior, I received a unanimous call to serve as Mt. Salem Baptist Church of Victoria’s 10th Pastor in their 139-Year history as a local congregation. In essence, my letter said, “I can’t do this!” I went on to express that what Mt. Salem needed, I could not realistically fulfill. I conveyed my gratitude to him and the entire congregation for considering me, and placing their vote of confidence in my serving as their spiritual leader; and that I would be praying for them in the days, weeks and months to follow. The context of my letter entailed my assessment of all of the hurt, difficulty and challenge that the congregation had experienced. In light of their journey, I overwhelmingly sensed that I was inadequate as their next shepherd. Moreover, all of the challenges in Mt. Salem made me come to appreciate what my congregation back at home had going for itself. I began to second-guess myself. I began to have a change of heart. I began to think God made a misstep. So I wrote the letter.
I never sent the letter!
For the record, I am glad that I did not send the letter.
Fast-Forward five and a half years later. I’m sitting in the restroom of my hotel on a Saturday night, crying. In the morning I would stand and tell the people I had fallen in love with as Pastor, that I had been called to serve as the next Pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. Further, that I believed it was God’s will for me to go.
On Sunday morning…I tried my best to make my way through my continuing exposition of Psalm 23. To be completely honest, I’m not clear on what I said in the message. To make matters worse, my distractions caused me to leave my notes and manuscript of my sermon at home. Because I had already informed those who were at Bible Study on Wednesday of my call; and that I had not officially accepted, but was praying…the crowd was more somber than usual. Mt. Salem is not an overly-boisterous crowd; and so the silence could have been anything at all. But I think both them and I were awaiting the announcement of my decision. No one in the room, except D’Ani, knew what my decision would be.
After church, we had a ‘church meeting.’ I told them that I believed God was speaking; and instructing me to serve as the Pastor of Shiloh. Again…I cannot recall what I said after that. What I saw were the faces of the people I had come to know and love. I saw the faces of young people I had baptized, counseled, comforted and even rebuked. I saw their tears. It took everything in me not to cry. Since I had already cried and had my moments the day before, I was able to make it through. Eventually, I led us in a word of prayer (I think); and then that was it.
And there it is. And there I was. Obedient to God; broken before His people…. The people I felt I couldn’t lead 5 years before, I didn’t want to leave.
For five years, God has taught me how to love and experience the love from a congregation through Mt. Salem. He has shown me what forgiveness, healing and transformation looks like. I have seen a group of people who were hurting love me and my family in a way I had never seen before. And I will always have a special place in my heart for Mt. Salem. I’ve concluded…God makes no missteps! He knows what He is doing; and He knows where He wants us. How Shiloh even came up is clearly God’s ordered steps… I’ll share that another time. But, to be sure, God knows what He is doing!
Over the next thirty (30) days, my family and I will make the transition from Houston-Victoria to North Texas. While I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life and ministry; and the people of Shiloh await us…my heart still lingers for the people of Mt. Salem. In turn, God has prepared my heart for the people of Shiloh; as He is also preparing the heart of my successor for the people of Mt. Salem. For this I am humbled and grateful. Please keep my family, Mt. Salem and the Shiloh Church in your prayers. God is faithful!
Congratulations on your new assignment brother! I’m praying for you, your family, the Mt. Salem family and the Shiloh family!
Congratulations Pastor Pullam on your new work.
Acts 20:28 – Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
You and your family are in our prayers!
Kelvin & Cassandra Washington
Well said my son. And having “been there and done that” I can totally relate to every feeling and emotion you expressed. Over 30 years ago I had to stand before the loving congregation of the Minnehulla Baptist Church of Goliad, Texas and announce to them that after much prayer I had been lead and directed by God to accept the call to pastor the Saint John First Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. Man! I will never forget that day. It was literally one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. You were, I believe, around 7 years old and from what you have shared with me you remember the crying and the tears. I loved the church and people there, I truly did. To say that I was totally happy there would be an understatement. But God said GO! I really didn’t want to go but God said GO. So through my hurt and tears and pain I went. And, yes my Son, God knows what He is doing. Over the years God has revealed many things.
So, I rejoice and cry with you and Salem and Shiloh. God is in control and He is going to see that everything works out. I love you all and will be lifting all of you in sincere and fervent prayer.
God has and will give you strength. As a son of Shiloh, a reader of your blog, and and a person who knew Joe Pullum, I know God has great plans for you. Shiloh needs you for such a time as this. And God makes no mistakes in calls. May God bless you next 37 plus years there.
I completely DITTO what your Father, Pastor William L. Pullam said. I was in the yoke with him 100% and LOVED the people of the Minnehula Church dearly. The day of crying on our last Sunday there, I was in the choir and could not remove myself from my seat as members came to me and said their goodbyes. But, it was not our decision to leave, it was absolutely God’s order to GO. I could not see the love from one church family to another to equal each other. But, now looking back, I love our present congregation just as much, but you NEVER forget your FIRST love. It has a spot in the heart that is ingrained forever. I have a sadness of my own concerning your new assignment. I too became a deeper part of the Mt. Salem Church family, and I am in pain with them and for them. I feel a pulling away that you and your family being further away in miles. My only consolation is that you have once before spent four years in that area, and was much younger then. God is Good and He is Faithful! I pray the transition is a pleasant one for the children with less family involvement on a regular basis that they are accustomed to. That this experience makes for a deeper love and appreciation of one another. Shiloh is getting a precious jewel of a Pastor and First Family. You are truly called of God, and practice what you preach. An awesome down to earth, humble spirit, lover of people with a great sense of humor. You are serious about ministry and leading God’s people. A NO nonsense guy in Character. I am proud of you and D’Ani as a working team. God bless you both as you press forward. My sincere prayers for the Mt. Salem family that the Pastor God has prepared for them will come to light, and fulfill his duty. My prayers for your family and Shiloh as well. With much Love, Momma
My husband and I recently got married and have been searching for a church home to attend as a new family (we were members of different churches/denominations) In search of a church home, we stumbled upon your sermons on YouTube and I prayed that God touched the heart of Shiloh to choose you to serve as their new pastor. It is extremely hard to find pastors/teachers who teach sound doctrine and the unwavering word of God. As one of the pastors I listen to, Pastor John Macarthur, states we’re living in a time of “Charismatic Chaos”. There are young people like my husband and I who study the word and are in search of a church home. We will definitely visit Shiloh in the near future.
I pray the God continues to bless you and your family during this transition.
Blessings to you!!! Do you all live in DFW area?
Thank you! Yes we’re in the DFW area (Far North Dallas).
Awesome. Would love to meet you guys. Our first Sunday at Shiloh will be the last Sunday of this month!!!
I spoke with my husband and we’ll be there!
Praying that you and your family have a great first Sunday!