Pastor Zachary Payne, of the Racine District (WISEN), is scheduled to be ordained to the gospel ministry on the second Sabbath of camp meeting, June 22, 2019, in Pioneer Pavilion at 2:30 pm. The speaker for this service is Jonathan Fetrick, pastor of the Wisconsin Academy Church. All are invited to share in this special time with the Payne family. Below is Pastor Payne’s personal testimony .
I was born in Apopka, Florida, and at the time my parents were not interested in God or church. But over time, and especially after my brother was born, my parents felt God calling them to give Him another chance and they started to seek out a church. When I was four years old, after lots of searching, they were baptized into the Forest Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church, where I began my faith journey.
When I was nine, we moved to Indiana and began attending the Glendale Seventh-day Adventist Church in Indianapolis. It was there that I got involved in Pathfinders and became a junior deacon. I studied with and was eventually baptized by Pastor Frank Haynes. It was also in Indiana, during my junior year of high school, that I started to doubt my faith in God and, in my mind, decided I was done with religion altogether. But God had other plans and He sent Pastor Charlie Thompson with an invite to work at Camp Timber Ridge, where I met Jesus and my life was changed. It was after this summer that, despite my initial disinterest in professional ministry, God called me to be a minister of the Gospel.
I took turns embracing and running from my calling throughout my college years, but I eventually earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from Southern Adventist University. After a short tenure as part-time youth pastor and day camp director at the Apison Seventh-day Adventist Church in Tennessee, I was called to Green Bay to serve as their full-time youth pastor alongside Pastor Bill Ochs. It was also during my time in Green Bay that I met my beautiful wife, Allison-the love of my life and my wonderful partner in ministry.
After a couple of years in Green Bay, Allison and I moved to Michigan so that I could attend Andrews University Theological Seminary and earn a Master’s of Divinity degree. Our first child, Arthur Michael, was also born during our time at Andrews University. While at the Seminary, I continued working part-time with the Green Bay church district, worked with a social media ministry for Millennials–the Haystack, and developed a love for researching in the areas of Adventist History and Sociology.
Since our time at Andrews University, I have had the privilege to serve as the senior pastor of Wisconsin’s Southeastern Network of Seventh-day Adventist Churches (WISEN) in Racine and Kenosha counties. Our second child, Eleanor Ruth, was born during my time here, and Allison and I are expecting our third child this coming October. It’s been a wonderful experience working with the churches in Southeast Wisconsin and I feel that it has grown me by leaps and bounds in many ways.
Looking back on my journey thus far, it’s amazing to see what God has done in my life. At 30, I have spent almost half of my life responding to God’s calling, and I can tell you that the times I embrace it are the times I really see the power of His Spirit working in my life. It is my hope to always follow His calling to the best of my ability, and I would encourage anyone to do the same.
Ordination to me is a confirmation that when the Lord said, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us,” my answer was like Isaiah’s, “Here I am, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8) But that call and my response is nothing new. I’ve been at this for a while. It all started cutting weeds at a summer camp in 2005, and eventually (by God’s grace) I find myself as the senior pastor of a district of churches. The point being, we don’t answer the call to be recognized. We answer because the God of the universe wants to include us in His plans to seek and save the lost. He is calling you, as you read this right now. How do you respond?
Pastor Zachary Payne