From prison to the pulpit

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 1, 2004

AHOSKIE – Dave Thompson doesn’t deny that his life was once in shambles. He spent time in prison and felt the demons in the form of alcohol and drug addiction.

But Thompson was fortunate in the fact that he received a second chance. He thanks to good Lord above for showing him the good and straight path, allowing him to put his life back together.

Now, Thompson, using his testimony of a torrid past, is showing others the glory of God and the path to righteousness.

Dave Thompson Ministries began in earnest in January of this year. Prior to that time, Thompson had been performing ministry work on a part-time basis.

&uot;My past is what motivates me in my ministry,&uot; said Thompson, a New Bern native. &uot;God turned my life around. I show others where I’ve been and where I’m at now. It’s my desire to show others the glory of God through me. The same God that did this to me is the same God that will do this for those who need a life-changing experience.&uot;

The path Thompson took to freedom from drugs and alcohol began with his association with Potter’s Wheel Ministry in Mt. Olive.

&uot;Potter’s Wheel is a Christ-centered solution for those addicted to drugs and alcohol,&uot; said Thompson. &uot;It was there that my life changed. I learned there is hope for the hopeless.&uot;

That change came in the formation of Dave Thompson Ministries – an evangelistic outreach program that provides testimonials to any type of church services – youth groups, revivals, worship service, etc.

&uot;I’m clean and sober through the blood of Christ,&uot; he stressed. &uot;I’m now helping others as I was blessed enough to receive help. I will preach the word wherever the folks may be.&uot;

One of those places is very familiar territory to Thompson – prison. Educated through the TAN (Transition Aftercare Network), Thompson now has the credentials he needs to go into the state’s prison system to share his testimony. To date, he has met with inmates in Pasquotank, Tyrrell, Halifax and Northampton counties and is preparing to go into the Fountain Prison for Women in Rocky Mount.

&uot;I can relate to what they are experiencing behind bars because I’ve been there myself,&uot; stated Thompson. &uot;I want to get the message across that God loves them, no matter their crime. They need to get themselves right with the Lord and not become a part of a growing number of inmates that, once released, are returned to prison for other crimes.&uot;

Thompson said that statistics revealed that of prisoner releases, 80 percent will be back behind bars within 18 months.

&uot;And that’s a conservative number,&uot; he said.

Calling his effort &uot;a working ministry,&uot; Thompson stated his was a work still in progress.

&uot;We get up every day and go about the duties of running a ministry,&uot; he noted. &uot;There’s much work to be done.&uot;

Another aspect of Thompson’s spiritual rebirth is his involvement in &uot;Gateway to Heaven.&uot;

&uot;Gateway is similar to the Potter’s Wheel where, using the word of Christ, we offer help to those addicted to drugs and alcohol,&uot; he said. &uot;Gateway is being formed in Bertie County and headed by Kevin Copeland. Kevin, who like me is a graduate of Potter’s Wheel, has asked me to serve as his program director.&uot;

If he wasn’t busy enough, Thompson is also enrolled in seminary school on a part-time basis, thanks to an extension service offered through the Baptist Association. Upon completion, he will have earned an Associate’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry.

Meanwhile, he is seeking to obtain his minister’s license through Higher Ground Pentecostal Holiness Church of Ahoskie where he is a member. Rev. Danny Harris is the pastor at Higher Ground.

&uot;The Lord does work in mysterious ways,&uot; exclaimed Thompson. &uot;I grew-up with Danny in New Bern. My mother was his teacher in Sunday School and now we’re back together here in Ahoskie.&uot;

Thompson will draw from the strength and encouragement offered by people such as Rev. Harris and others when he launches his first official crusade on March 8-10 at the old C.S. Brown School gym in Winton (now the home of the Shipyard Commuters Club). Nightly services begin at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on Dave Thompson Ministries, call either 345-3887 or 287-6154.