By JUDY A. TOTTS
MEDINA â€” The Rev. Michael R. Wilson is no stranger to Second Baptist Church. Itâ€™s dejÃ© vu for the pastor, who served the church as youth pastor from June 1995 to September 1996. He will be installed as senior pastor of the church on April 5, succeeding the Rev. Russell W. Burden, who served as pastor for 30 years.
When he and his family left in 1996 due to a job promotion, he didnâ€™t think theyâ€™d be back. But God does work in mysterious and wonderful ways, and it was his wifeâ€™s quiet call from God that brought them back to Ohio.
Shortly after Geraldine Wilson shared that call with her husband as he was planning to retire from the U.S. Coast Guard after 30 years of service, they discovered the Rev. Russell W. Burden was planning to retire as pastor at Second Baptist.
â€œIt is a step of faith,â€ he said. â€œIt is beyond a step of faith. It is so real, and everything is falling into place.â€
Wilson, a 1977 graduate of Dobbins Vocational Technical Highschool in Philadelphia, joined the U.S. Coast Guard and pursued technical training in communications, communication security and many computer-related venues. He added to his technical expertise with an associate of applied science degree from Westwood College of Technology in Denver, Colo.
His Coast Guard career took him from his hometown of Philadelphia to Portsmouth, Va., New Orleans, Brunswick and Woodbridge, Va.
His walk of faith began in October 1985, when he gave his life to God and joined Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Portsmouth. He established the first audio/video ministry there and by March 1988 was ordained as a deacon.
â€œGod called me, and I had a yearning,â€ Wilson said, settling into his chair in the office at Second Baptist as he and Geraldine talked about coming to Medina. He served as a deacon at Mt. Calvary for about three years, with another year as chairman of the deaconsâ€™ board.
â€œThe Lord kept dealing with me,â€ he said, and after God healed him of a serious illness, he accepted his call to ministry and began studies.
Being in the Coast Guard has been a blessing, he said, enabling him to do ministry all over the country.
Wilson still works for the Coast Guard as an network assistant administrator, striking a balance with his ministerial duties.
Since coming to Second Baptist as senior pastor, he has developed the churchâ€™s new Web site (www.sbcme
dina.org) and wants to create programs that will draw young people into the church, including collaborating with Michelle Powellâ€™s â€œLetâ€™s Make a Differenceâ€ community summer program for youth.
â€œWe want to find what the needs of the community are and design programs to meet those needs, pray about them,â€ he said, adding, â€œPeople have to want to be part of the program. There should be ownership there.â€
Heâ€™s anxious to get started and reminds himself he has to step back sometimes and be patient.
â€œEach day he shows me something,â€ Wilson said. â€œItâ€™s like he says â€˜if I hurried and got you to where you needed to to be, youâ€™d have no work to do.â€
Wilson said a lot of people know about Second Baptist and a lot of people donâ€™t know. For the latter group, theyâ€™ve already started a campaign to draw attention to the church.
â€œWe are a church of new beginnings,â€ he said, spreading his arms wide. â€œOur theme for the year is â€˜Always Abounding in the Work of the Lordâ€™ (1Corinthians 15:58). If anyone hasnâ€™t come for awhile, for whatever reason, letâ€™s start over and get going â€” we have a lot of work to do. Weâ€™re gathering souls. Everyone is excited.
â€œWe were blessed with Pastor Burden. He built the foundation. Now itâ€™s time to build the house.â€
The Rev. Michael Wilson will be installed as senior pastor of Second Baptist Church of Medina at a service at 3 p.m. April 5.
The Rev. Jerry Darby, pastor of New Life Missionary Baptist Church of Alvin, Texas, will preside. The Rev. Russell W. Burden, retired pastor of the church, also will be present.
The church is located at 451 Bronson St., Medina. Call 330-722-0073 or visit www.sbcmedina.org for information.
Totts may be reached at 330-721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.