It has now been over two years since Pastor Derson completed seminary and returned to Victory Bible Church.
After his ordination as lead pastor in February 2020, COVID-19 quickly brought the ministry he envisioned to a halt. “They taught me everything in seminary except how to be a pastor in a pandemic,” he recounted. “The hardest part is the church closed one month after I started. I couldn’t meet with people. That was very difficult.”
Pastor Derson is thankful that church has since reopened and people have slowly returned over the last year. “People were disconnected from God, church, everyone. It took time to reconnect. Now it’s better.”
Get to know Pastor Derson by reading his Q&A below.
Q. At what moment did you realize you were called to ministry, and why as a pastor?
In 2010 I was very convicted by the call of God on my life, especially after all the leaders in our church quit. At that time there wasn’t even one pastor who stayed to take charge. God showed me clearly the need for me to step up, but naturally I am a very shy person. Even though I always felt a fire in my heart to preach the Word, I was always scared. But I didn’t want to be like Jonas and run from God. I started to teach Sunday school and after that I preached at a Wednesday service because there usually weren’t too many people. After that I started to preach on Sundays. In 2015 I thought, if I’m going to lead people better in the Word, I must study it. I decided to go to seminary for 4 years. In 2020 I was ordained as the pastor of the church. It’s been almost two years and someday I plan to get my masters in systematic theology.
Q. What do you think are your top 3 responsibilities as a pastor? What have been a few highlights of your ministry so far at VBC?
Leadership, preaching/teaching, and making disciples.
My highlights have been training up 10 leaders, building a team of intercessors, and starting a kids choir.
Q. What Christian leaders/pastors do you read, listen to, or follow? Favorite theologian?
I watch Allen Parr on YouTube and read Alfred Kuen. Wayne Grudem is my favorite theologian. I love the way he explains the Christian doctrine in his systematic theology book.
Q. What does your personal devotional time look like?
My favorite time to have devotions is in the morning. I continuously read the Bible from start to finish. At night my wife and I pray.
Q. Can you share an example of how you have handled a tragic situation that has directly affected members of your congregation?
When coronavirus started, it was so unexpected, especially as it came one month after I was ordained as the pastor of the church. All of the church doors were closed and we didn’t have a way to meet together. I had to come up with a strategy, which was promoting the family as a “little church in prayer.” Every night people met as families to worship, and every day I wrote a devotion to send them so they could stay in the Word.
Q. Where do you see the most need for personal growth as a pastor?
I would like to know the Word of God more and deeper.
Q. How do you balance the needs of your family with those of a congregation? What does your wife think about being a pastor’s wife?
I put everything in the budget and on the calendar. She thinks of it as a great responsibility, to help me by praying and to be a counselor for young girls in the church.
Q. What is it like being a pastor in the area where you grew up? Do you think that makes ministry more difficult or easier?
For nearly two years my experience has been that it’s easier for me because people already had respect for me. I know well the way people think, I know their needs. That allows me to know how to preach and how to represent Christ.
Q. How have you seen God’s faithfulness in your own life?
After the death of my mom and dad, my family didn’t have enough to take care of my needs or pay for school. In 2005 I came to live in JiHM’s home, where I never had any cares again, not for clothes, or for food, or for school.
Q. Can you share one story of an individual impacted by the ministry of Victory Bible Church?
At the beginning of this year, Naydine began attending VBC. She had visited lots of churches in the area, but liked how we worshipped so she kept coming back. Naydine did not grow up in a Christian family and believed in nothing. On her fifth Sunday at VBC, she felt touched as I was preaching and tears started to flow from her eyes. After church she came and found me and prayed to become a follower of Christ.
Naydine has two young children with two different dads, both of which have abandoned them. She has lots of difficulties in life. Right now she doesn’t know how she will send them to school, her house is broken down and she doesn’t know what to do. When she told us about all of this, she was sobbing. With the little means of the church, we’ve supported her to pay for a house. When I asked her what she used to do to make a living, she responded that she did anything to pay for the house and take care of the kids, but now she can’t do those things because she’s a believer. When I asked her what she meant, she said “I’m ashamed to talk about it, and I want to forget it. I’ve decided to not return to the same things even if I’m suffering, because now I have peace, I have joy. For now I’m just searching for work so I can take care of my children. Even if I suffer, I won’t turn back.”