A divine encounter: The Rev. Adrian Taylor Jr. had his first encounter with God at 17

Sunday, September 12, 2010
Adrian Taylor is the pastor of Lighthouse Breakthrough International Ministries in Cape Girardeau. (Kristin Eberts)

The Rev. Adrian Taylor Jr. of the Lighthouse International Ministries Church in Cape Girardeau had a unique experience when he was preparing for his senior year in high school. Most students his age would be focused on what college to attend or what their final year in school would be like, but Taylor was more focused on the assignment he had been given by God. Shortly after Taylor celebrated his 17th birthday, he said, God entered his room and gave him the first real encounter he ever had. It was then, Taylor said, that God told him he was going to preach, raise leaders and travel the world with the good news of Jesus Christ. Taylor has been obedient ever since.

How long have you been involved with a church? I have been involved with church all my life. My grandmother took me to church with her in St. Louis as early as I can remember. At age 8, my mother was born again, and I followed shortly behind her. We joined Abundant Life Fellowship Church in St. Louis, and there I served in nearly every capacity of ministry you can imagine.

How long have you been a member of your faith? I have been a faithful believer of Christ Jesus since I was 9 years old. Over 20 years now.

What education/background/studies did you go through to become a pastor? I have had various ministry and leadership training from different churches. I studied two years of speech communications at Southern Illinois University--Edwardsville. I hold a bachelor's degree in theology from Covenant Bible College and Seminary. I am currently finishing my master's in theology as well. Since I'm on a roll, I may as well complete a doctorate, too. Why not? However, more than anything, I have the calling of God. He chose me, graced me and anointed me for this great task. Before I ever had any formal education, I preached and traveled nationwide and globally sharing the gospel of Christ. The best training in the world, is to be called, led and obedient to the holy spirit. Education alone is not enough to lead God's people.

How many years have you served as a pastor? Well, many people know that I have a dual pastorate. I lead Lighthouse International Kingdom Embassy in Denver, as well as lighthouse here in Cape Girardeau. I travel each week between these locations. I founded the church in Denver seven years ago. I have been preaching since God spoke to me at 17. Altogether, I have 15 years of actual ministry experience and seven years as a pastor.

When did you become the pastor at Lighthouse? Lighthouse Breakthrough International Ministries officially began in January of 2010, but I came to Cape Girardeau as the pastor of Rhema Word. Dr. Green followed the Lord's direction to relocate, and he passed the baton to me on the first Sunday in October 2009. Since then, I made some decisions to reposition the church, and one of those was to start fresh with the establishment of Lighthouse at the start of the new year. Now, as we so affectionately say, "Lighthouse is the right house!"

Where are you from and when/why did you move to the area? I am originally from St. Louis, born and raised, so the Show Me State is my home. My wife, Lakenya, is from Pulaski, Ill. I started my commutes here in October 2009, but we officially set up our second residence in Cape Girardeau in May of this year.

Were you involved with your church before becoming the pastor? No. Dr. Green and I have been friends for years, so I did preach at Rhema Word a few times before the idea of me being the pastor here was ever initiated.

What do you think makes this church special? Every church is unique in some way. Maybe it's my own bias, but I just think Lighthouse is a real church. We aren't trying to be the church down the street or compete with anyone. When you come in the doors, we are going to love you, and we hope you love us. I don't pretend to be some great preacher. I am me. I wear suits, and I enjoy myself. Many of our members dress up. Others where casual clothing. Some are loud. Some are quieter. There are professionals, there are working class, and there are those from off the streets. We link together to love God and embrace all people with his great love.

What's your favorite verse? Now that is tough. I guess it would have to be Joshua 1:8 (KJV): "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." The verse is self-explanatory. If you diligently dedicate yourself to a disciplined life of study and obedience to God's word (the Bible), your life will become prosperous and successful, and God will be pleased you. It sums up the whole Bible in just one verse.

What program have you done with your church that you are proud of and why? I would have to say that I am excited about the campus ministry. I have been able to relate to so many college students this year. Lighthouse has a team that meets weekly on campus for Bible study. We hold a monthly service on campus, and many students have become an active part of lighthouse while they are in school. I enjoy helping young men and women make that transition into adulthood. It is a most crucial time for them, and if we can help some find their purpose and avoid some silly mistakes, they will skyrocket into successful living.

What events or occasions does your church have coming up? We are opening a satellite Bible college campus for Covenant Bible College and Seminary. Classes are every Monday night starting Monday. I am blessed to be able to assist others in furthering their knowledge in the word of God with a fully accredited, formal education.

What's your favorite day of the week and why? Wednesday is typically the day that I am with my wife and son, and we usually cook a big meal together, watch movies and enjoy being a family.

What's your favorite part of being a pastor? I love people. I'm going to get in trouble for saying this, but preaching is easy. A good preacher can preach about corn bread with no effort. The hard part is the part I love: dealing one-on-one and in small groups with people. I get so pumped up about getting to know God's people personally. Most of my members, in Denver and in Cape, have my cell phone number. I like giving people guidance, encouraging them to overcome challenges and standing with them as the believe God for miracles. To me, there is nothing greater. If I never preached again, it would not matter as long as I could connect with people.

What hobbies do you have? I love basketball. I used to play all the time. As short as I am, I used to be real good. I don't play as much, but I haven't forgotten how. I like watching basketball very much, college more so, but the pros are OK, too. I enjoy cooking. It is very peaceful to create in the kitchen. I love music, [but] not any kind of music. I love good worship and praise music of most genres. Anything that glorifies God, I love it. I collect Jordan basketball shoes. That's typically what I wear when I am dressed down. I like to shoot pool and go to the movies.

What else do you do besides serve as pastor? I try to focus very much on my wife and son. We spend as much time as we can together. Also, I am working on a few businesses, so hopefully you'll be writing some articles about my new businesses.

Do you have a prayer, psalm or verse you would like to give our readers for the day? We end every service at Lighthouse with this verse to remind us that no matter what God has done in our lives, there is no end to his favor, grace and power. Psalm 115:14 (KJV): "The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children."

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