I was born in the small southern city of Easley, South Carolina. Some of my earliest memories of childhood surround Christ, the Church and the Bible. I made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior at age 9 and was baptized shortly thereafter. As I began to grow into my teenage years it was apparent that I had no heart for Christ, His Word, and the concerns of His Church. My heart was filled with sin and my life was directed toward worldly pursuits. At age 14, through the influence of some young people who befriended me, I got involved in the youth group of the church. It was then that I guess you could say, I "rededicated my life" to the Lord.
A few months later I surrendered to what I considered at the time to be a call to the Christian ministry. I almost immediately began to have opportunities to preach in various churches. Yet, not long afterwards, I began to have doubts about the genuineness of my conversion. In the fall of my senior year of high school the struggle over my soul's salvation reached its peak. The Lord brought me into a season of deep conviction of my sin and lost condition. I cannot point to the day or the hour, but at some point between the fall of my senior year of High School (1992) and the first part of the New Year (1993), I was brought out of death into life and found myself in the blessed state of being united to Christ by faith. I still wrestled and struggled with assurance for a time, but the more I read the scriptures and communed with Him in prayer the more His Spirit granted me the confidence that I had been born again.
In the fall of 1995, as I was serving on staff at a SBC church, I began to come to Reformed convictions and eventually resigned my position. I began attending Covenant Reformed Baptist Church, which at that time was located in Central, SC (now in Easley). I became a member in June 0f 1996. In November 2005 I was installed as a non-vocational elder at CRBC. In December 2007, Grace Immanuel Reformed Baptist Church called me to serve as a full-time pastor. I continue to serve GIRBC along with 4 other elders.
I cannot say enough good things about my experience with RBS. The depth of teaching gave me a greater hunger to know God’s truth. However, it is not just the depth of scriptural knowledge imparted to me that I appreciate about RBS. The church based approach of having scripturally qualified men as instructors that are actively engaged in the “real stuff” of everyday ministry is priceless. That insured that the teaching came from men who developed their lectures in the context of pursuing their own sanctification in the not-always-so glorious context of ministering to the multifaceted needs of Christ’s sheep. Therefore, what I was taught incorporated penetrating application. E.M. Bounds once wrote something to the effect, “Churches are looking for better methods. God is looking for better men.” I do not remember every word of every lecture. I did not retain it all. All of the lectures of RBS are not yet in final form. That is OK, because perhaps the greatest benefit I received from RBS is having spent hundreds of hours under the molding influence of men that demonstrate in their teaching that not only do they know and love the bible, they also know and love the Author.
I would appreciate prayers as I am currently considering furthering my education and looking into possible options.
Pastor Jeff Johnson, MDiv
Grace Immanuel Reformed Baptist Church