Imagine being so shy and so introverted you'd rather fail your college speech class than speak in front of a crowd.
Picture further being gripped with a fear of public speaking and then being called into the pastorate. Now, you're walking in the shoes Larry Hubbard wore as a young man.
These days, Larry has three decades of ministry under his belt, including more than 17 at his current church, Riverside Baptist in the Denham Springs-Watson community just outside Baton Rouge. Now he speaks confidently and with passion. But it wasn't always like that for the Natchitoches, Louisiana, native, who did, in fact, choose to fail a speech class in college before answering God's call to preach.
It scared me to death because I was so shy. I couldn't stand up in front of a group of people and talk. So, whenever Christ started dealing with me about preaching, I said, "God, I'm only going to ask you this one time because I'm scared to death. But if you truly want me to be a pastor, I will be glad to do that."
Once he surrendered to God's call, Larry describes a "weight" lifted from his shoulders, he experienced God's direction and a new boldness. He started speaking at a local nursing home and has never looked back.
As soon as I shared with my pastor that I believed God had called me to ministry, I have always had an opportunity to preach. I can't remember in 30 years a time when I didn't have somewhere to share God's Word with a group of people.
Another factor in Larry's growth as a believer and as a pastor has been his relationship with Leavell College and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. While he attended a local college for a while, he admits that he was much more interested in his role on the golf team than in getting an education. But as he began to think about handling the Word of God and began to pastor his first congregation in Fort Jessup, Louisiana, he knew he needed a theological education.
He began studying at another school, but it proved to be an awkward fit. That's when he learned about Leavell College. And, after earning his undergraduate degree, he went on to earn a master of divinity from NOBTS. In New Orleans, his experiences with professors who cared about God's Word and lived out the Great Commission made a tremendous impact.
It's a Herculean task to stand up to preach every week. For most of my ministry, I have preached Sunday morning and Sunday night. I would teach on Wednesday night and occasionally teach a Sunday school class. It's an awesome responsibility, and Leavell College and NOBTS really gave me the skill set to be able to do that.
While in New Orleans, Larry learned how to develop reliable sermons and the administrative skills needed to lead a congregation. And he is quick to acknowledge the important role donors provide in the process. When you choose to give generously, new generations of students are being equipped with a quality theological education, and you get to be a part of something bigger than yourself, something with kingdom implications.
Ministry is challenging. For every 20 men who begin the pastorate, one retires. It's not that people get in the ministry who weren't called. I believe it's more that people go in unprepared. They are not ready to deal with the day-to-day stress of ministry. When God calls someone, He certainly gifts them. But all of us also need to be able to grow in grace and knowledge. We need that kind of environment.
For Larry Hubbard and so many others, Leavell College and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has fostered spiritual and practical growth for its students. And your regular gifts to the Providence Fund allow us to pursue our calling to prepare servants to walk with Christ, proclaim His truth, and fulfill His mission.
With every dollar you invest, you play an active role in equipping new generations of church leaders who will share the gospel around the world. That's why we are encouraging to renew your giving to NOBTS and Leavell College or, if you have never given, to start today.
Thank you in advance for your prayers and for your generous support of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College. We know you have choices when it comes to stewardship, and we appreciate your willingness to partner with us.
May God richly bless you as you give, as you pray, and as you serve Him each day.
P.S. Join NOBTS & Leavell College to prepare servants for the Kingdom today! Make your gift by the "donate" button at the top of this webpage. Thank you for giving!