I had the privilege of growing up in a Christian home. My mom and dad were just great Jesus people. My dad was a public high school teacher and football coach. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, but they both loved the Lord tremendously and they loved each other. They really modeled a healthy Christianity. As a result, we were always friends with our pastors at the churches we attended. I was in the homes of our pastors and they were in our home, regularly. When missionaries would come to town, my parents would sometimes have them over to dinner. There were other para-church people that my parents connected with, and we would always be close friends with them. They would support them financially and otherwise. So, I grew up with a very positive view of ministry, but I never wanted to be in ministry vocationally. It never even crossed my mind. I always wanted to be an attorney. I want to be involved in politics. I wanted to be in the military.
When I got out of high school, I had the privilege of attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. My goal was to attend West Point to have a military career and then venture into politics; similar to Dwight Eisenhower. I know that it was probably a pretty big dream, but for a kid from South Florida, who knows. When I arrived at West Point, they found out that I had cancer. Naturally, all of the things that I had planned on doing, playing sports at West Point, going to West Point to receive a military career, all got derailed for the next year or two. I was involved in chemotherapy, surgery, and all those kinds of things. Graciously, God allowed me to be healed from cancer and to be completely restored. However, I wasn’t able to stay in the military at West Point. Thus, I attended Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida, and ended up volunteering at my church in the middle school ministry. While I was there, I was planning on going to law school. But it was there that they let me teach the Bible for the first time.
So, I taught this Bible lesson. Now, I know this sounds sacrilegious and I would never do this, but I I taught this lesson about Rehab. As I taught to these middle-school kids, I could see them leaning in, although, I’m sure I did a horrible job with the test, and I was just teaching from some youth ministry book. But for the first time, I got to open the word of God and teach it to somebody else, and I’m so glad that somebody cared enough about me to give me that incredible responsibility. On that night, I thought, wow, this was really amazing because I was teaching the Bible and these young people were listening and learning. Well, then I had other opportunities to teach the Bible and the church gave me other opportunities to have other ministry responsibilities. By the time I was a senior in college, I really decided that I wanted to go into ministry. Now, I had heard about people being called and their stories always sounded amazing. They had all these dreams, visions, and voices… I didn’t have any of that. I just wanted to go into ministry because I thought it sounded like an incredibly effective way to invest my life. So, I went met with my pastor and I said, “Pastor, I haven’t seen any dreams, visions, or voices, but I really want to go into ministry. I’m not sure if I’m getting called. I think I’m just volunteering.” Then he read first Timothy 3:1 and said, “Look, if any man desires the work of an overseer, it’s a good work he desires to do. The desire to go into ministry is actually the first qualification Saint Paul lists in his letter to Timothy.” I said, “Wow, that’s me.” I’ve at least got that qualification.
Then, I made preparations to enroll in seminary and from there, attended seminary, and then went into ministry. Initially, I served in Student Ministry and thought I would do Student Ministry for life. The reason that I was inspired to do student ministry was I thought the best thing in the world to do for a ministry was to put a group of kids in a van and go on a mission trip. To observe the relationships that were built, the conversations that we had, the incredible things that we saw God do, watching people get saved, and watching lives be transformed. Wow. To see those young people just light up when they could experience the power of God for themselves. Well, time passes and things have changed. Now, I’m the lead pastor of a large, multi-site church in South Florida. And I’m kind of a long way from putting twelve kids in a van and going on a mission trip. However, I’ll tell you this. The best time I’ve ever had in ministry was twelve kids in a van experiencing the power of God. And the way that I’ve tried to think about my call and maintain my call always goes back to 1 Timothy 3:1 if you desire the work of an overseer, it’s a good work you desire to do. I want to keep the same kind of wonder, excitement, and sense of adventure that I had as a young twenty-something-year-old, taking kids on a mission trip.
My name is Jimmy Scroggins. This is my call story.