Good day, my name is HB Charles Jr. I’m the pastor and teacher of the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Let me take a moment to tell you about my call to ministry.
I grew up in a preacher’s home and as a result, at a very early age, God worked in my life to cause me to trust Christ and love the church. I trusted Christ as a boy and was baptized at eleven years old. Immediately as a boy, I sensed a call to preach. In fact, I’ve had no desire, no intention, and no ambition to do anything in my life but preach the gospel of Jesus Christ since the Lord gripped me as a boy. I preached my first sermon at the age of eleven years old. Although, I would not recommend this. It is just my biography. And under the careful supervision of my father, the ministers, and the men of the church, I began preaching literally as a boy. My father was a respected pastor in the city and there were men who wanted to pay back his kindness and did so by giving me opportunities to preach in youth events. Thus, I had quite a few opportunities to minister the word at a very early age that really confirmed the calling on my life.
Then in God’s providence, I grew up with asthma. Even though I loved sports, loved the outside, and loved being active, it seemed like if I walked out the door, I was a few steps away without my inhaler. It really forced me into a world indoors, which coerced me into a world of books that drove me to one book, The Bible. By the time I was in my mid-teens, I was preaching pretty faithfully and regularly, I should say, almost weekly. Then, the Lord took my father home at the age of 16, and at the age of 17, the Lord called me to pastor, succeeding my father at the church. He had served for 40 years there. Again, I don’t recommend it. It is just my testimony. And I was surrounded by godly men and women that were also praying men and women, who believed there was a calling on my life and literally told me they would not let me fail.
I did some study along the way, but I was learning in the study week from week and surrounded by godly encouraging people. I served that church in Los Angeles for 18 years until the Lord, in 2008, called me to the church in Jacksonville where I currently serve. Amazingly, as I just share this with you, the passion to preach the burden of the call and the joy of ministering the truth are just as strong as those early days. I’m grateful for the Lord’s faithfulness over these years, and I pray he gives me many more years to preach the gospel.
I am H.B. Charles Jr. And this has been my calling story.