After God Says, “Go!”

Tim Dilena

I was between semesters at Baylor University, when Gary and David Wilkerson said to me, "Hey, you want to go to Detroit to be part of a church that Gary is starting?" It was the start of a two-month commitment to go to Detroit that literally changed my life.

Every week, a van would drop us off in the worst part of Detroit and leave us, so we would be there ministering. Then Gary came to me and said, "Every Thursday night, you're going to lead a Bible study in a prostitution hotel called Medtown Motel.”

Now you have to understand that I was born and raised in the church. My mother almost had me while singing soprano in the Christmas cantata at church. I was born a few days later on December 22nd, and I was raised in a Pentecostal church. I've been to every church camp. I've been in every youth group. I’ve never smoked in my life. I've never drank in my life. I've never been high in my life. I was a virgin until the day I got married. So I'm sitting there in this prostitution hotel, and I just felt, “I’ve got nothing.”

Well, what I thought was only going to be two months ended up being the next 30 years of my life. We bought a 900-seat XXX movie theater in another part of Detroit and started a church there. That first night sitting in the Medtown Motel, though, I had no idea how God was going to use me.

Maybe you’ve felt like God said, "Go," and now you're thinking to yourself, "What in the world is going on? God, did you come with me? Or are you still back at the burning bush?”

I love what Rick Warren said about moments like these: "The teacher is always silent when the test is given." When God is silent, there's a test that's happening. There are certain things we can only see about the nature and character of God when our situation is a mystery. There's something powerful that we begin to understand about God when he almost seems to be even absent. In the silence and the mystery, you can be at the very center of God's will.

After pastoring an inner-city congregation in Detroit for thirty years, Pastor Tim served at Brooklyn Tabernacle in NYC for five years and pastored in Lafayette, Louisiana, for five years. He became Senior Pastor of Times Square Church in May of 2020.