London Pastor Baptises His Prodigal Son
4th October 2018
In Pastor Goddard's ministry as a pastor and evangelist serving in a number of countries such as Tanzania, Kenya and within the North and South England Conferences, none could rival the euphoria and highs of his ministry than having the honour and privilege to baptise his own son Dean, at age 38.
Pastor Vince Goddard now pastoring at the Holloway church, would be the first to admit and share openly that Dean was a challenging child, whose life could easily parallel that of the Lost Son in Luke 15, who left home to venture on his own path. Perhaps Dean may have even led a more destructive life. Dean was only 13 when he was convicted of joyriding and caught shoplifting. His life spiralled into a slippery slope for further indulgences which later involved injecting heroin, smoking cannabis and excessive consumption of alcohol causing his mood and mental state to deteriorate. Dean was treated in 2007, aged 27, when he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia influenced through his past history of substance abuse which resulted in self-neglecting hygiene and eventually led to thoughts of suicide. Pastor Goddard would admit in much grief and despair that his son lived a self-destructive lifestyle.
However, in 2018 things began to change for Dean. The power of a praying father prevails much and with Joyce Goddard his stepmother, they never ceased to place before the Lord the desires of their heart for their wayward, but deeply loved son.
Pastor Goddard explained that near the end of April this year, Dean came home saying he was tired of his chaotic life and wanted to change. It was a non-Christian friend from Leicester who told him to go back to how he was brought up. And herein lies a true parallel to the Prodigal Son in the parable told by Jesus. Dean 'came to himself' ‒ a realisation that could only be initiated through God's mercy and grace that is applied to all.
Pastor Goddard received his son with the love and support reminiscent of the Father in the dramatic parable. And each day through guidance and providing a place for spiritual direction Dean eventually accompanied his father to Holloway church.
It was there that the members knowing a little of his past, rallied around him in love and overwhelming unconditional acceptance. It was during this time that Dean was able to heal. He gave up the drugs and smoking. Pastor Goddard continues, "he handed me his bank credit card saying he didn't need money as he would be tempted to waste it on drink. I assured him he would have plenty of savings as a result. Which is what is happening now. Next to follow was the drinking…he reduced to cider and eventually won the battle."
Dean was baptised on Sabbath 8 September by his father and pastor. It was a highly emotional affair as Pastor Goddard failed to fight back the tears in the baptismal pool having known the long journey his son had taken, the anguish, heartache and pain the family went through; now here his son was in the pool next to him. Indeed, the tears flowed, but these were tears of joy.
Prior to his baptism Dean gave his testimony along with the other four candidates. It was a poignant moment hearing him speak convincingly of how God had intervened in his life to bring change. He spoke from personal experience the working of the Holy Spirit to take him out of the 'pig pen' of sin and clean him up and give him a new start.
Dean is still on a journey of spiritual growth, but he has made the first steps and at long last he has found peace in his soul and joy in his heart. As with the other candidates baptised that day, let us remember Dean in our prayers who has now 'found a new life' walking with Christ on a new spiritual journey.