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Posted: April 10, 2009 12:00 a.m.

A calling to ministry

New pastor of Zion Baptist Church draws on experience in various ministries

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A church home: The Rev. Michael Galdamez sits in the main sanctuary of Zion Baptist Church where he will give Easter services on Sunday.

In February, Zion Baptist Church welcomed their new senior pastor, the Rev. Michael Galdamez, a native of Kansas City, Mo. Ordained in 2001, Galdamez brings experience in a number of different ministries - Christian schools, missions, evangelism, work with internationals, men's Bible studies and men's ministries.

As Galdamez prepares for this Sunday's service, a remembrance of the third day after Jesus Christ's crucifixion, he encourages the community to understand what Easter means to God.

"Almost 2,000 years ago on a Friday, God the Son bore the world's sins in order to bring forgiveness to all who will trust in him," explained the pastor. "Three days later Jesus came up from the grave to demonstrate that his sacrifice was sufficient to deal with our sins. He rose to become the first to conquer death. We know that all who trust in Christ will also conquer death and be a part of the resurrection on the last day when God recreates the heavens and the earth."

A 1997 graduate of Columbia Bible College in S.C., with a Bachelor of Science in Bible and Bible teaching, Galdamez earned a Master of Divinity from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., in 2004 with a concentration on pastoral ministry and theology. He is now working on his dissertation to complete his doctoral degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a focus is Christian preaching with minors in systematic theology and Christian philosophy.

Galdamez met his wife, Amy, a South Carolina native, while attending Columbia Bible College, and they were married in 1997.

"One of my greatest passions is for the church to become a picture of the love of Christ so my three children will see this and love Christ and his church above all things," said Galdamez as he thought of Michael Jr., 10, Hudson, 9, and 8-month-old Hannah Kate. "My hope is for my children to see the reality of Christ in the lives of the members of Zion Baptist."

Galdamez first sensed the calling to full-time Christian ministry at age 17 when he participated in a two-month mission trip in Colombia, South America.

"At that time, I believed God was calling me to become an overseas missionary" he said as God touched his heart for the need of the gospel around the world. "The Lord used my college experience at Columbia Bible College to show me that I was gifted in teaching. It was not until seminary while serving as a youth pastor of a church that I realized that God had equipped me to preach and gave me a desire to shepherd a church."
Galdamez credits the prayers and interest his parents took in his spiritual development and the discipleship of his youth and senior pastor for leaving marks of God's grace on his life.
Prior to ZBC, Galdamez served as youth minister at Rockford Lane Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. His first pastorate was at Ghent Baptist, a historical church north of Louisville, which led to a senior pastor position at Clifton Heights Baptist Church.
Galdamez said his wife is amazingly supportive of his ministry and homeschools their sons.
"One of Amy's greatest strengths is the way the Lord uses her to strengthen me," he said. "She so often helps me with my cares and concerns. She is a straight shooter with much discernment. Even though Amy is straightforward, she is very humble and merciful toward others.
"She is a good listener and develops strong relationships with women. On top of all of her relational skills, Amy has a beautiful voice and sings solos at church. Zion was blessed to hear her this past Sunday night at our Lord's Supper service."
The pastor commented that he has already developed a close personal relationship with the associate pastors at ZBC and that they are working to bring all of the ministries in alignment with the gospel and with one another.
According to the pastor, ZBC is not actively involved in specific ministries to the diverse cultures in the area but have begun thinking of ways to reach their multicultural community, for example, by offering English as a Second Language classes.
"My hope is to see Zion become a picture of heaven with every tribe, tongue and nation worshiping the Lord as one body," said Galdamez quoting from Revelation 5:9-10. "Since the gospel is the power of God to break down every barrier, I want to see the race and cultural barrier to come down and for genuine brotherly love to shine forth from Zion Baptist."
For more information on ZBC located at 7037 Highway 212, Covington, call 770-786-6767 or e-mail zion@zbcga.org.


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