CERTIFICATE OF ORDINATION
We, the undersigned, hereby certify that
upon the recommendation and request of
the BEREA BAPTIST CHURCH at HIDDENITE, NORTH CAROLINA
which had full and sufficient opportunity for judging his gifts,
and after satisfactory examination by us in regard to his Christian experience,
call to the ministry, and views of Bible doctrine,
DAVID STEPHEN PARKS
was solemnly and publicly set apart and ordained to the work of
THE GOSPEL MINISTRY
by the authority and order of
the HILLCREST BAPTIST CHURCH at Winston-Salem, North Carolina
on the Twenty-seventh day of August, 1973.
(signed) E. W. Parks, Pastor
E. W. Parks, Pastor of Ordaining Church
Harry J. Simms, Moderator of Ordaining Council
L. Leroy Pack, Clerk of Ordaining Council
Herbert H. Wilson
Thomas D. Flynn
H. Rondell Rumburg
Charles C. Vogler
Brant H. Seacrest
T. B. Freeman (who preached the Pastoral Charge)
Donald S. Fortner
I. (Irvin) L. Wallace
B. (Bill) E. James, Jr.
[Note: of these 13 pastors who comprised this Ordaining Council, 10 are now with the Lord]
A host of the members and friends from Berea Baptist Church had driven the 50 or so miles to attend and participate in this service. They had called me to be their pastor a little over a month before, 4 July 1973, and had requested my ordination by my home church, Hillcrest Baptist Church. I was only 22 years old, and this was my first pastorate. They were and are a most gracious people, though most of them who were in attendance that night are also with our Lord. Those who are still living remain among my sweetest and dearest friends.
The service lasted over two hours. We convened that Monday evening around 7 pm as best I can remember.
Harry J. Simms was the Moderator of the Ordaining Council. He was a most influential man to all of us in our family. “Preacher” Simms was my immediate predecessor-pastor at Berea church. He was the one who had introduced me to them by inviting me on a number of occasions to preach in his absence. [I also have vivid memories of the first message I preached at Berea. It was from Psalm 11.1-7, God’s Immovable Foundations. That was 6.6.71. I’ll tell that story another day…] Preacher Simms was also my Dad’s primary mentor and friend from the beginning of his ministry. Shortly after the Lord saved my Dad, he became acquainted with Preacher Simms. They began to talk and study the Scriptures together regularly. Preacher Simms discipled Dad and taught him the doctrines of the Word of God. As a consequence, Dad confessed and identified with Baptist teachings. When Dad started conducting Sunday afternoon services in a small church building on Goldfloss Street [this was in Winston-Salem NC] that had been vacated when the former church relocated, he invited Preacher Simms over to preach in those services. After a few months, Preacher Simms told Dad that he needed to start preaching in his own services. He led in my Dad’s ordination also. That was around 1949 – 24 years before this time of my own ordination.
For my ordination service that night, they had set up a small table on the pulpit platform of Hillcrest Baptist Church. [This was in the small auditorium in the original building…it is now their fellowship hall.] It was barely big enough for the two of us – Preacher Simms and me – to sit around. Our faces were probably not three feet apart. Keep in mind that this was August 1973. The Nixon-era Watergate hearings had been televised for several weeks back during May-June. So as we took our places around this little table for my interrogation and examination, Preacher Simms looked at me and quipped, “Kind of feels like Watergate, doesn’t it?” But he also assured me that the purpose and spirit would be more kind than those hearings were. So for the next 1 ½ hours, he and the other members of the ordination council asked me questions about my salvation testimony, my call to preach the Gospel, my doctrinal beliefs, how I intended to shepherd and lead the flock of God, and my commitment to be faithful to Jesus Christ and the Word of God. It was a detailed and thorough examination.
T. B. Freeman delivered the Pastoral Charge. Brother Freeman also had been associated with our family and a part of my life for as far back as I could remember. He was originally from Bristol TN but had re-settled in Mims/Titusville FL where he also pastored. Brother Freeman was an evangelist and revivalist. He travelled extensively among churches in many states preaching revival and protracted meetings. He was a godly, humble, Spirit-filled man of God. More than anything else, T. B. Freeman was a man of fervent and passionate prayer. My Dad had invited him on numerous occasions to come to the churches he was pastoring and preach revival meetings. He was like another father-figure to me. I respected and admired him immensely. So I asked that he be invited to come and preach my Pastoral Charge to me. He would later invite me to come to the churches he pastored and preach in revival meetings.
And then, of course, my Dad. Dad had been my Father, my Pastor, and my primary teacher, trainer, and role model from the beginning of my life. Even before the Lord saved me and called me by His Grace to preach His Gospel, I still had always wanted to be a preacher … because Dad was a preacher, and I wanted to be like him. Dad delivered the final charge to me to be faithful to Christ and to give myself and my life totally to serve Him. My Dad had modeled that charge for me to emulate and imitate. He then presented me with my ordination Bible [which, of course, I still have right here…].
The other ten preachers on the ordination council were either preachers in the Hillcrest church or pastors of other churches with whom we fellowshipped. Looking back over those names, I had preached at some time or another in all of their churches. All of them were brothers in ministry who had encouraged and helped develop me, and I was blessed by God to have been influenced by them in so many ways.
I think back on that night and that service very often. That occasion – the purpose of it and the commitments I made – still grips me and convicts me. I hope and pray to God that I have been faithful to the stewardship that has been entrusted to me, and I want to continue to be faithful to Christ who called and appointed me to this ministry until my appointed end – and I stand before Him to give account.
It’s coming back to me again in power on this anniversary day.
And with whatever remaining life and time of service God may be pleased to grant me, I still commit to this charge:
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the Gospel of the Grace of God” ~Acts 20.24
WE LOVE YOU AND THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE WITH US. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES.
Margaret, thanks so much! And I assure you that the love is mutual. And, yes, God blessed us with so many sweet memories – and just remember, we’ll be remembering and rehearsing them forever!