Church Planting Dream

Church Planting Dream: Ordination Story

My Church Planting Dream

My name is Nikolaos Zervas, and I have a church planting dream. I live in New Jersey. I am married to my beautiful, godly wife, Dawn, for 20 years now. On January 24, 1970, I was born in Velvendos, Greece. My parents, older brother, and I migrated to the United States from Greece when I was five years old. We grew up Greek Orthodox. I believed in Jesus but didn’t know Him. I heard that if you were good, you went to heaven, and if you were bad, you went to hell.

God Intervened to Save Me

In my late teens through my late twenties, I got in with the wrong crowd and started partying hard. Drinking, drugs, fornication, and fighting were regular for me. I am not proud to say that at 26 years old, I started training to be in the Greek mafia. I had a bag full of guns, was ready to bring over my first shipment of heroin, and commit my first murder. But, the Lord intervened just in time!

My wife, who was my fiancé at the time, asked me to go to her church. I decided to go, and it was history from there. I accepted the Lord that same hour. Amen! The next day, I went to the person who was training me for the mafia and asked him if it was too late to get out. He replied, “If you want to get out; it’s now or never.” I gladly handed over all the guns, etc., which was worth over $100,000, and never looked back. Instead, I looked up to Christ for what He did for me. Thank you, Jesus!

At the age of 33, I felt the calling to become a pastor, but I ran away like Jonah. The consequences were unpleasant until I submitted to God’s will. I was financially broke, torn down, ready to give up on life. It was as if there was a black cloud over my family and me. Finally, after five years, I submitted to God’s call. So, at the age of 38, I started studying the word of God on my own. At 44, I began Salt Lake Baptist Bible College. I was very close to attaining my associate’s degree, but now I found the Christian Leaders Institute. So, I wish to continue my education with CLI.

Ministry Journey

My ministry journey that God has blessed me with: I was the Royal Rangers leader for my church in 2011. At the same church, my wife and I were asked to become the Sunday school teachers, which we were, from 2012 to 2014, and also having Bible studies at our home until 2016. We then bought a house an hour away. God has truly blessed us with a wonderful pastor; who is my mentor, and a great new church family. I have now become the youth pastor for about 30 to 40 kids ages ranging from 12 to 18 years old, and we have church services at our home once a month.

My calling is to be a pastor and as it says in II Timothy 2:15, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” I cannot wait until God blesses me with my church, but it is in His timing.

New Work Ministry

It is incredible what the Lord is doing in my life. Being faithful to God; like the church of Philadelphia, the Lord has blessed me with a work ministry. I am the youth/associate pastor at our church. I am preaching at a pastor’s platform every two to three months, where 10 to 15 pastors unite at a church. We take turns preaching, praising, and worshiping the Lord for about four hours. Such a powerful, Holy Spirit-filled time! Truly a blessing!

Then, the Lord expanded my work ministry. People now ask me to come to their homes and speak to their kids, ages ranging from 15 to 20 years old. One of these kids, who is 20 years old, (I call him my Timothy), was touched by the Lord in a great way. I have been discipling him for the last year. Now, he has started taking classes at CLI to further his knowledge and walk with Christ. Amen!

Church Planting Dream and Ordination

The Lord is going to bless me with a church, (please pray), and I am very excited about it. However, I know everything is in His timing with my church planting dream. Please pray for me, and my family as the enemy has been attacking us in various ways. But, thankfully, we stay strong in the Lord, for He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. Amen!

CLI is equipping me for what God is using me to do. I am so grateful for CLI and the excellent education that they are providing. I truly love this school! Henry Reyenga, Dr. Feddes, and the rest of the professors are full of wisdom and the love of teaching God’s word, for which I am truly grateful.

The Deacon minister ordination with Christian Leaders Alliance is a big blessing. It will give me additional credibility and opportunity. Thank You from the bottom of my heart! May God bless you, your families, your school, and your ministries.

Henry Reyenga
Author: Henry Reyenga

Henry Reyenga is president of Christian Leaders Institute and Christian Leaders Alliance.