Join Advent Next This week as we talk with Carlton Byrd on the call to ministry exploring the challenges as well as the rewards of what it means to work in the master's vineyard.
FULL TRANSCRIPT Dr. Carlton Byrd:
Carlton Byrd: My father is a pastor, retired Adventist pastor. And so I grew up where annually there was some form of public evangelism. So whether that was a prophecy class, the prophesy seminar, back in those days, a tent.
So tent evangelism, I grew up. That this is a part of who we are. So that was placed in my DNA, my mother's side, even, you know, evangelistic meetings, tent revivals. Yeah. So that's a part of who I am. So therefore, when I, you know, accepted the call from God for ministry, a major part of that was leading other people [00:02:00] to Christ.
And I praise God for that because I believe that, um. The Lord in every evangelistic initiative, other people aren't getting saved, but I'm getting saved all over again, and I believe he has me in his word because he is trying to save me. So for me, it's, it's who I am. It's who I am. So. That's the best way I can answer that.
Kendra Arsenault: You know, people who might feel discouraged in their local churches or somebody who's really on fire, but they're not really seeing the results that they think they should , what kind of encourage would you...
Carlton Byrd: Stay faithful. God rewards faithfulness and let, let me be clear. Let me just tell you a little story.
If I may. Um, I've told this before, but you know, everyone thinks Oh, Carlton Byrd. Hundreds, thousands being baptized. Let me tell you, when I first, uh, my first district. I was there at three church district in Southern Mississippi, Laurel, Mississippi. [00:03:00] Soso, Mississippi, Columbia, Mississippi, and I never will forget.
I conducted, I went to the Laurel church, three churches now, and the Laurel church had two members. I'm sorry. Okay. Two. Okay. You know what I'm saying? Come on. Kendra and Michelle , I'm talking about the three of us are the church. Uh, and at that time, you know, I was not married, uh, did my wife and I had not, you know, we weren't married, so I had no children.
You know, cause sometimes the pastor's family can Boost the attendance. Talking about two members and they were both over 65 years of age. I'm talking about One Sabbath I was preaching down South, worse than that. One of them lifted their hand down South. They'll lift up their hand finger. That's a way of respect saying I need to be excused.
One walked out. The other lifted up her hand. By five [00:04:00] minutes later she walked out and I'm still preaching. Oh no. To me, it's something that came back in a little later on. And so after church, after I finished preaching, I said, you know, let's have a business meeting here. I said, I need to understand why both of you walked out.
Did I say anything offensive? They're like, Oh no, pastor. We just had to go to the bathroom, you know? So we had to Institute a bathroom break. But anyway, we, we had. I had two members in that church. Okay. So everybody thinks Oh Carlton Byrd, breath of life, oakwood church. Two members. I cut the grass, painted walls. I was the janitor. I mean, okay.
Kendra Arsenault: You was the bus driver.
Carlton Byrd: So I said, we have to do some type of evangelism. So I said, Oh, these two ladies. I said, let me run a vacation Bible school. [00:05:00] And so we didn't have money, uh, because I returned My tithe and offering to that church because they needed it. And my offering pretty much kept everything. Yeah. So I said, ah, we're going to have a vacation Bible school. And so the pastor, we don't have any money and we're all, I said, don't worry about it. We're going to do it. And so I didn't have an evangelism budget, so I put my money in. I never forget, I put like $200 in for me back then.
And, uh, the conference. Director for Sabbath school of which vacation Bible school came under. I called him. I said, I need some help. Do you have anything? He said, I'll match what you've given. And so he said, me $200 so I had a budget, $400 for the vacation Bible school. So I made some flyers, and I'm not a graphic designer, but I made some flyers on my computer.
I printed them. The church didn't have a copy machine, so I [00:06:00] had to go to a Kinko's or copier and printed them. I found two young men, they may have been eight or nine, two boys in the neighborhood, and I said, listen, fellows. Here's some flyers. I want you to pass these out and pass these out and you come back to me.
I'll take you to McDonald's or I'll give you the money. I'll give you the money. That's what happened. I give you the money to go get a happy meal from McDonald's. They were excited, so I gave them the flyers to pass out. They came back to me. I gave them money for happy meal. They were excited. Opening night.
It was a Sunday evening. Opening night of Vacation Bible School, 53 children showed up. Oh my goodness. I was so excited. Those two ladies were like, pastor, what are we gonna do? We're gonna. I said, don't worry about it. I just need you to prepare the snacks. Right? And I'll do the rest. So I used to teach the songs.
Wow. Do The lesson, play kickball with them, 53 [00:07:00] kids all week long. So I said, listen, this is what we're going to do. For Sabbath. Instead of having regular church, we're going to have our vacation Bible school closing program because my goal was get all the kids there and have their parents come. Sure enough, we have vacation Bible school closed where I thought I was, you know that big church full of people.
You know the kids. I was all so excited. So all the parents came and I got all their addresses. So I say, man, this is good. Cause I said, I'm gonna conduct an evangelistic. Campaign. They said, pastor, what does that does that do with vacation Bible school. Now you're talking about an evangelist. I said, we can do it. We can do it.
Sure enough, we ran and conducted ev angelistic committee in that church with those two ladies. God blessed us. At the end of the evangelistic series, we baptized three people. Amen. Amen. So we are from two to five, praise God. Right, right, right, right. [00:08:00] So you went from two to five. So. Long story short, at the end of the year, the conference has an awards banquet for, you know, people who, you know, they give trophies and plaques away.
So the conference president gets up and he says, we now want to give the award for evangelism and we want to give the award to the past evangelists of the year of our conference. So I'm thinking I was going to be these people who baptize, you know, great numbers and whatnot. He's to say, says our pastor evangelist of the year is Carlton byrd. I'm like, what? Because he increased his membership by 150% praise God. Praise the Lord. You know? So I was excited, you know, got this plaque. I still have it to this day. Hey man. And so I'm saying a little becomes much when you place it in the master's hand. And back then it wasn't the 100 it wasn't the fifties it wasn't the a hundred and fifties it was three people.
But the Lord blessed and went from two to five and so [00:09:00] different ways, you know, from, for me to start it out, it wasn't just, I'm going to have this mean, it was vacation Bible school, right? And those ladies faith, it was rewarded. God rewards faithfulness. And so I said, you know, Lord you, if we're faithful in small things.