A Words of Faith story by Pastor CJ Cousins
I was a very reluctant recruit. My journey of faith in Christ and His call on my life was one of denying the obvious. Jesus made it evident that He had a special plan for my life from an early age, especially through a dream and a near death experience He miraculously spared me from. As a child I was occasionally found preaching to stuffed animals. This would come as no surprise to my mother, who was a singing evangelist, whom I often accompanied as she sang in evangelistic meetings domestically and internationally. Therefore I developed not only a love for singing and music, but a deep passion for Jesus and the Seventh-day Adventist message. As a youth and young adult I was very active in ministry; singing, youth ministry, preaching and public campus ministry.
It was while I was in college that Jesus placed a deep sense of calling on my heart. This was affirmed by several individuals who observed me in ministry. However I wrote off this calling since I was studying Business Administration, which I was being groomed for since high school in a special business program. I was enamored with the apparent prestigious life of the corporate world. I also wrote off this calling since I didn’t think pastors made much money and so I eventually started working at the bank. While witnessing to a co-worker at the bank, again the deep sense that I should be a pastor came over me, but again I ran from this calling and started doing my master's in Human Resource Management and becoming a recruiter for an international recruiting firm.
I ultimately found myself with a fairly large home and on my way to climbing the corporate ladder, when God dramatically pulled me out of my career. This was the biggest test in my journey of faith. While attempting to get back into my career, the Holy Spirit began to place a burden for souls on my heart, so I reasoned that I would start a ministry, called Living For Him, instead of going into pastoral ministry as a “half yes to the call of God.” However, the Lord mysteriously kept the door closed to all my attempts to returning to my career while subsequently enlarging everything I was doing in ministry. Preaching increased, bible studies became regular, small groups became a way of life and some people where baptized. The affirmation of church members and several pastors began to increase until the conference I served in was about to make me a lay pastor and church planter, when the call of God got louder than ever before! And after three years of wrestling with God and several providential events, I finally surrendered to the compelling, yet loving call of my Savior to go to the seminary and become a pastor.
Once surrendered to this call I had such a sense of peace and joy as I looked forward to the vision of ministry that Christ had given me. And I am happy to testify that not only has the vision been realized since coming to the Potomac Conference, but it is enlarging in ways that I could not have dreamed of myself. I am serving as an associate pastor at Restoration Praise Center SDA Church, a vibrant congregation full of young adults and young families. I oversee 24 small groups called Grow Groups and am the online pastor for our online campus, RPCtv. The Lord has used me to teach a baptismal Bible study class and to conduct several baptisms. I have had the opportunity to preach several times, not only in my local congregation, but also at other churches in the DMV area. I am seeing lives changed by the gospel, while my own is concurrently being transformed. I am humbled and honored that Jesus has called me to the pastoral ministry and am fully dependent on Him buy faith for what He wants to accomplish through me. I encourage you, when Jesus calls, do not delay. Just humbly respond in faith and say,“Yes Lord.”
Author bio: Claypole S. Cousins Jr., also known as “CJ," is simply a man who is in love with Jesus. His passion is to live, preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and equip “disciples making disciples”.
He is married to the lovely Deedre Nicole Cousins, who is a wonderful support and partner in ministry. Together God has blessed them with beautiful baby boy, Thomas Alexander Cousins.
He majored in Human Resource Management from at Florida International University and received a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. He also has a Master's of Human Resource Management from Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University.
He has a Master 's of Divinity degree with an emphasis in Church Growth and Evangelism from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. He has served as Intern Pastor at One Place and Graduate Assistant for grow Groups at Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University.
CJ currently serves as Associate Pastor at Restoration Praise Center in Bowie, Md. He is the pastor for Grow Groups and RPCtv. He is passionate about sharing God’s love as seen through the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the context of Revelation 14:6-12.