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  • Writer's pictureDarryl Bentley

FROM PRISON TO THE PULPIT: The Ordination of Pastor Justin Howard

One day, Justin Howard found himself sitting in prison for dealing drugs. In that moment, he never suspected that the Lord could or would use him to bring others to Christ. Yet, within the walls of prison, Justin met Pastor Keith Noll, and one evening in a lonely, dirty prison cell, Justin gave his heart to Christ. That commitment began a journey that not only compelled Justin to share his faith while behind bars but, upon his release from prison, also led him to become a Bible worker for his grandmother’s church in Ohio. Eventually, he sensed the need for deeper training in his work for the Lord, and Justin attended Mission College of Evangelism. After the training, Justin returned home, where he was asked to be the evangelism coordinator for his church, and he held his first series of public meetings.

Some time passed, and Justin returned to Mission College, where he was called to be the outreach and meeting coordinator. The Lord blessed his efforts there, and the door opened for Justin to serve in the Washington Conference as the Bible trainer and evangelism coordinator. In that role, he worked alongside churches to train lay members for service in evangelistic efforts and Bible work before and after the meetings. Justin’s success in ministry led him to accept a call to pastoral ministry in the Mountainview Conference, where he served for several years. Eventually, Pastor Howard caught the attention of the leadership team of the Carolina Conference, and he and his family accepted the call to pastor in Jacksonville, N.C. They served there until being called to his current assignment in Winston-Salem and Clemmons, N.C.

On the day of his ordination service, Pastor Howard was recommended for ordination to the gospel ministry by the same pastor who baptized him in prison many years ago. Elder Keith Noll, now retired, gave a rousing message and passionately described Pastor Howard’s love for the Lord and pastoral ministry. Following the prayer of ordination and laying on of hands, Elder Howard was officially welcomed into ministry by Carolina Conference President Leslie Louis. Elder Louis and Elder Haskell Williams placed the mantle of leadership upon Elder Howard.

Recognizing that ministry is a family affair, Mrs. Carole Louis affirmed and uplifted Ana Howard in her role as a faithful ministry spouse, and Isabella Howard, the Howard’s daughter, blessed the event by sharing special music on the violin. Pastor and Mrs. Howard have been faithful in their ministry, and the Conference leadership team counts it an honor to welcome them to the worldwide gospel ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

— Darryl Bentley, Associate Director, Ministerial Department

photo by Courtney Herod

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