When God first set before me an open door to lead a church, I said no. He spoke to me often about that open door, but I had my career with the Ottawa police. Giving that up would mean losing money, my government pension, my coworkers’ respect, and the security of all these things.
One day, I glanced out a window and saw three or four sparrows pecking away at the snow. God spoke again, “I care and provide for them. Do you not believe that I will care all the more for you?”
That decision to take over leading the church was still not easy. People thought I was crazy. My father said to me, “When there’s no food to feed your family and no milk in the fridge for your kids, don’t come to me. I won’t help you. What you’re doing is foolish.” That was a bitter pill to swallow. Two of my fellow Christian police officers were quite vocal about their opposition. They questioned my Christian responsibilities to my wife and three children. “You’re going to bring your family into hardship.”
One day, I walked out of the elevator and came face-to-face with an officer in uniform. I knew him just well enough to know he was not a believer. He reached out and hugged me. No one hugs in the French-Canadian Ontario-Quebec National Capital Region in public! He stepped back and looked at me through misty eyes and said, “I don’t agree with what you believe, but you’ve got guts, man. I respect that.”
As he got on the elevator and went his way, I stood there for a moment, realizing the first encouragement I had received to step out in faith came from a nonbeliever.
I was well aware that there appeared to be a cliff on the other side of my open door. I wasn’t blind. I knew that God would need to sustain me. I felt like Peter stepping out of the boat. There was nothing in the natural to support me. From the moment I stepped out of the boat, though, the journey God put before me was amazing to behold.
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26, KNJV).
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. In May of 2020 he transitioned into a continuing role as General Overseer of Times Square Church, Inc.