Testimony: Pat Rowland
Pastor of Locations & Development
I was blessed to have been raised by parents who found Jesus as adults and sought to raise their children with an influence of the church and Jesus. As long as I can remember our family was involved in the church and it greatly affected my life. I made a decision in my childhood to trust Jesus and ask him to forgive me. That decision was followed with baptism. However, it was in my adolescent years that I struggled with what it meant to have a heavenly father.
When I was five years old, my biological father passed away from cancer and a couple of years later my mother was introduced to the man that raised me as my father. It was his first and only marriage which immediately made him the father of three kids. I will forever be grateful to him for all he has done for our family as well as his commitment to Jesus.
In my teen years, I struggled with needing to know who I was and where I came from wanting to know more about my biological father. I had felt abandoned, but God showed me that it was a lie from the enemy. I was not fatherless because I had been blessed with three Dad’s. Psalm chapter 68 says God is a father to the fatherless and He is our Heavenly Father. As I was about to graduate from High School, I fully trusted my life to Christ and felt for the first time I had a relationship with Him. That decision also strengthened my relationship with my earthly father and brought peace of not actually knowing my biological father.
As I entered college, I sensed God was calling me into ministry even though I had no idea what that meant. I began taking classes at a local Christian College and eventually graduated with a degree in ministry. During those college years, my calling was shaped by mentors and my now wife. To this day, I believe my calling has never been to be a “Pastor” or to a position in the Church. My calling has been to the Gospel. I have been fortunate to serve as a Youth Pastor for 12 years, a Family Pastor for 8 years, and as an Executive Pastor for 3 years at churches in Indiana, Tennessee, and Michigan.
Paul writes to the Thessalonian Church, “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy”(1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, NIV). I want to live each day to be the glory and joy of my fathers and to return the same for my family and the church families I have been part of over the last 24 years. Like all of us, I am far from perfect and still have my struggles. I am grateful for fathers that have loved me through it all, and I pray that I can do the same.