Pastor Dean remembers the young man well. When he was 11, his father had murdered his mother, and he eventually ended up a ward of the state. Dean, a pastor in Cary at the time, met the young man, an N.C. State student, at a Christian café the church had established. Though reared around Catholicism, the young man lacked a born-again relationship with Christ.
“He was so inoculated with his religious beliefs, he seemed so distant to ever receiving the love relationship with Christ,” Dean remembers. Yet, for a year, he attended church, finally coming forward one Sunday, and asking to address the church. “He thanked them for creating an environment where it was safe for him to come face to face with Christ. And it made me very aware that sometimes we get in too much of a hurry to process information to people, and we need to let God do what God does best, which is to soften hard hearts and open closed minds.”
In many ways, that story captures Pastor Dean’s approach to outreach. God will do the work; our obligation is to have courage to respond, however He calls us to action. Pastor Dean’s mission is to help people find courage, something he knows a bit about. A high school dropout, Pastor Dean spent his youth in reform school and didn’t obtain his GED until he was 27. Since then, however, he’s earned a few degrees (master’s degrees in education, divinity and counseling, among them). It was no small feat to do so while supporting his wife and five children, often while working 50 hours and taking a full course load. So, when people feel they can’t, Dean reminds them that God can.
“I understand, because I struggled with my exhaustion and motivation. There were times at 2 a.m. when I wanted sleep when I was studying and wondered what I was doing. But it all came down to, ‘This is not my option. I’d said, ‘I will die to myself.’ There is a call to a direction, and passion demands that we respond. I feel tremendous compassion because I generally think people are doing the best they can. They just need the tools and encouragement and discipling to do better.”
Family: Married for over 40 years to Debra; 5 children and 14 grandchildren.
Hobbies: Sailing, motorcycles
Favorite scripture: Proverbs 11:30: “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”
Three words that best describe you: Verbal • Encourager • Compassionate
To the congregation: “There is no understating the power of Faith. If Jesus is Lord, then let Him handle the details of our lives that we cannot. Our calling is to spend time with Him and His Holy book and His people, to trust and obey under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It is my faith in our Lord that empowers me to serve here at Life. I believe Jesus loves all of you and has purposed a future for each of you that will give you sincere praise for Him that will last an eternity. It is a joy to serve with this community of believers.”