Foundations

Foundations are the structures we build the rest of our buildings upon.  As it relates to this article, what are the beginnings, the experiences, the life happenings that our local ministers have lived through that led them to be pastors or priests?  Finding out what those foundations are for the ministers of our community is the focus of this series of articles.

 

By Dale Fillmore

First Church of the Nazarene, Okmulgee

 

Dennis Taylor

“There is a mystery to the movement of God in a call to the ministry,” says Dennis Taylor.  Dennis is the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Okmulgee.  His call to the ministry is an example of that mystery of God’s Holy Spirit moving on the heart of an individual.

Dennis grew up in southeastern Oklahoma in a little town called Caney.  His family always attended church. His parents were committed Christians.  His dad was a deacon.  However, that doesn’t mean that Dennis just naturally became a pastor.  On the contrary, at 14-15 years of age, Dennis was making plans with his dad to farm together for his future.  That is what he loved doing.  That is what he wanted to do.

It was at that same time that Dennis began to sense God’s calling on his life.  Dennis struggled with that.  It wasn’t a matter of trying to discern God’s will.  Dennis knew what God was calling him to – the ministry.  It was just that, Dennis didn’t want to be a pastor, he wanted to farm.

Dennis fought that call all summer.  He was dedicated to God.  He was involved in the church.  So, he tried to compromise with God.  “Lord, I’ll be a good worker and leader in the church.  I’ll do whatever You want me to do, just not be a pastor,” he said.  The problem is, you don’t compromise with God.  Finally, at the commencement program of Vacation Bible School, Dennis unconditionally surrendered to God.  “I’ll go wherever You want.  I’ll do whatever You want”, he said to God.  “It was life changing to do that,” he continued.

Dennis started preaching immediately.  Though his parents never pushed him toward the ministry, they were delighted with his call.  Dennis was only 15 years old at the time.  He couldn’t drive to the towns that were asking him to come and preach, so his parents took time off to drive him.

That way of life continued in college.  As a freshman, Dennis was asked to preach at a church in another community.  The next week, they asked him to come again.  That process continued for months until the church finally asked him to be their pastor.  Dennis was only 19 years old and a sophomore in college.  He continued as their pastor through college and seminary.

For 12 years Dennis pastored a church plant in Moore, OK.  In the 1980’s he returned to school and received his doctorate in Theology.  This August will make 25 years that he has pastored the church here in Okmulgee.  

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