Changed by God’s Power
“You will face some difficulties, challenges, disappointments, and failures if you keep living. However, a good man falls seven times and still arises because God is with us, in us, and God is on our side. It’s called life, so don’t let the devil beat you up because you’re going through a challenge. You will come out victorious on the other side.”
~Bishop Kenneth Fuller
In a recent episode of It’s Called Life, Bishop Kenneth Fuller dialogued with Pastors Derrick and Octavia Roberts of Atlanta, Georgia’s Open Wings Ministry. The discussion was so rich that we wanted to highlight special nuggets of wisdom in critical areas where many ministry leaders struggle. We often minister to people just like ourselves, but the body of Christ needs to minister to everyone and meet people where they are. The Roberts have a unique way of impacting ministry and transparently sharing their own personal stories.
How They Started: The Roberts’ Story of Grace
Pastor Derrick: When I met my wife, I didn’t know much about the church. I remember going to church, but I didn’t grow up in church. My wife introduced me to God. We came from the streets and used to sell drugs. I used to go to church high and sit on the front row with dope in my pocket. My wife asked me to go to church with her on Father’s Day Sunday of 2003 and signed me up to volunteer to work the cameras. I said, “Okay, I’ll go, but I’m gonna roll a blunt. I’m gonna smoke a blunt before I go to church and, I’ll smoke one when I get home.” I wasn’t going to church that day planning on giving my life to God. I was going because she asked me. I was working the camera, felt the power of God, and just started crying. My wife came, placed her hand on my stomach, and started praying for me. That same day, I stopped drinking, cussing, smoking, clubbing, everything. It all happened in one day, so nobody could tell me that the power of God is not real. I was a dope boy who grew up in College Park and was introduced to the streets at a young age. However, I was born-again “for real, for real” at the age of 23 and I’ve been on the straight and narrow ever since.
Pastor Octavia: Yes, it was amazing for us because I turned my husband onto the streets, and I also taught him how to tithe. Although I was a drug dealer, I just loved Jesus. I loved God and loved to go to church. Somehow, I felt like paying my tithes would keep the police off of me. I thought, “This money is dirty anyway, so let me go ahead and give it to God’s people, and let them do whatever they’re gonna do with it.” Derrick and I did not understand then what we understand now. Back then, we were sowing towards our deliverance and ministry. We felt that the folks at the church we were attending were mean to us, so when God said, “Y’all supposed to be pastors,” we said, “Absolutely not!” We didn’t want anything to do with church folks and started going to World Changers to hide. We wanted to be somewhere where nobody knew us and where no one could expose the gift of God that was on the inside of us. We basically wanted “hell insurance,” to live an abundant life, and to create a different inheritance for our kids. I think God leading us to World Changers was a huge setup. Here we are today preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, daring to go into the same trenches in which we used to sell drugs talking about Jesus and the kingdom of God. We have found that just because a package is not traditional or is packed differently doesn’t mean it doesn’t have power.
The Roberts credit Pastor Creflo Dollar for ministering to two drug dealers in the back row and forever changing their lives. He drilled the Word of God inside them, teaching them faith and grace. Pastor Taffi taught them how to speak, talk, and walk in the Word with authority and boldness. Bishop Fuller even encouraged them to ultimately become part of CDMA.
Come back next month to hear about how God transformed the Roberts into a dynamic ministry couple that has led hundreds of souls into His kingdom. Part two will also explore “keeping it real” and remaining authentic to who God has called you to be as a ministry leader. See you next month!