Thursday, January 18, 2007

Missional Tattoo 2! - Interview Pastor Cleetus

Several months ago one of my most popular posts was about Pastor Cleetus and his missional tattoos.

You can watch his appearance on Miami Ink:



I got a chance to interview Pastor Cleetus and here it is:

1. Tell us about your journey to Jesus.

- I grew up in a Christian home where my father was a pastor and my mother was an evangelist. It wasn't until 1995 at the age of 20 that I surrendered my life to Jesus. A close friend of mine died in a car wreck in 1994 and so I spent the next year trying my hardest to get away from the fact that I knew he was in hell. I did everything to get away from the reality of God and the judgment for my own sins. It didn't work. Everything I did drew me closer to God and closer to the fact that I was going to have to acknowledge the things I had done. In October of 1995 I told my wife (then girlfriend) of how I had finally decided that there was no God. It was probably the stupidest thing that I have ever said. That night after feeling very confident in myself, I had a dream where I died and could not get into heaven. Instead I began to fall into hell. When I woke up that next morning the presence of God was strong around me. He was everywhere. I began to become so convicted about my sins. I knew that I had lust in my heart which God considered adultery, that I had harbored hatred for people which God counts as murder, that I had been a liar and a terrible thief. But the final straw was the fact that I finally could see how much of an idolater I had become. I had put everything willfully before God. Especially music. It had become my life. So, that morning as I stood in the shower, I prayed the simplest prayer imaginable. I just said, "ok'. But that "ok" meant everything to me. It was my repentance prayer and my surrender prayer. I've never been the same since. Immediately God gave me a burden for the lost which has not left me to this day.

2. Tell us about your church.

- In 1999, while standing outside of a punk show, God told me to start Deliverance Bible Church. For some reason I said yes. Being a pastor was the one thing I never wanted to do. Now I can not imagine doing anything else. We started it to reach the scene and the social outcasts with the true Word of God and the message of the Cross. Our goal has been to stick to the scriptures and not our own desires. We place a strong emphasis on the presence of God in our daily lives, worship, evangelism, prayer, etc. We want what the apostles had, and more. Through the years God has transformed us over and over. No longer are we the "cool" church or the "scene" ministry, but now we are a church that wants to reach everybody. It's more about Jesus now and not about us. We still make tons of mistakes but I do believe that our hearts are after Him.

3. How has your tattoos enhanced your ministry?

- I think they have allowed me to spread the Gospel in a more bold way. I used to think that they gave me some hidden door to reaching people with tattoos or whatever. But you can reach any culture just with the Word. But the tattoos have done more for me as a person than anything. They have kept me accountable most of all. I told a preacher in South Texas one time, "You know, I can't walk into a strip club or hang out at a bar anymore because my tattoos tell on me." I like that. It makes me stay on my toes with outsiders and with the lost. It reminds me that this whole thing called life is not about me, but rather about Jesus.

4. How do you handle 'nay sayers' who are professing believers?

- Oh, I don't know. It doesn't really bother me anymore. Years ago the Lord taught me not to argue with people that just have an argument. It goes nowhere. When things like that arise, I try my best to love the person and to change the subject to things about God. It's not always easy, but it's the right thing to do. Fighting just causes more divisions in the Body of Christ. And who needs more of those?

5. What has the affect of being on Miami Ink been?

- Well, my neighbors like me now. They used to just talk about me and now they talk to me. Ha. Actually, it's been good. It gave me the chance to talk to a ton of people online about their souls. It was kind of funny though. Most people that contacted me assumed I was some liberal and laid back guy that wasn't concerned about things like righteousness, salvation, etc., etc. They basically thought I was just some "cool preacher" or something. I got to give the whole gospel to a lot of them. The great majority of them were not expecting the type of replies I gave them. But most of them thanked me and told me how they knew that they needed to get right with God. It was awesome. It was much more than I could have expected. God's good.

6. Can God use tattoos for His Kingdom work?

- God can use anything. We just have to make sure that what we assume He would like to use is really what He wants. We have to be in prayer about our decisions and we have to make sure we are putting God's desires above ours. We can't just rely on things like, "Well, I think God is cool with (fill in the blank)." We have to really seek His will for our lives and not just ride on what feels good or what someone else is doing.


Thanks Pastor Cleetus for sharing!

You can check out Pastor Cleetus at Deliverance Bible Church.

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2 comments:

Ari said...

that is so awesome!

John said...

I never met Pastor Cleetus, but back when I was just beginning to explore the whole emerging / missional thing, Deliverance Bible Church was one of the churches I visited. It was so real. While there were people of all ages there, most seemed to be young and a lot of them just would not have fit in a traditional church, but they were there worshiping and loving God.

It was a wonderful experience and thanks to Pastor Cleetus for being obedient to Jesus, because he is reaching people, very few other churches even want to touch or reach.

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