By Deloris Trujillo
On Sabbath afternoon, May 16, Nicholas Moore, the associate pastor at Clovis church, was ordained to the gospel ministry by Ramiro Cano, president, Ron Rasmussen, executive secretary, and Pierre Steenberg, ministerial director of the Central California Conference (CCC).
While that announcement alone is always a reason to rejoice and give praise to God, it does not begin to explain the miracle of this event. This is a story that illustrates “this treasure in earthen vessels.”
It was a virtual ordination—live-streamed on YouTube. Cano explained, “We have never done this before. The year 2020 will go down in history as a year that challenged our practices and traditions.” Because the coronavirus restrictions had not been lifted, the Clovis church building was empty of church members. During the prayer of ordination, the officiating ministers could only outstretch their hands from the required six-foot distance.
In spite of the necessary changes to the traditional service, it was decided to move ahead with Moore’s ordination because, as Cano noted, “the building may be closed, but the church is not.” Indeed, over 500 people viewed this unique ceremony.
Yet, the story of how this man became a pastor is even more remarkable. When you hear that his parents are just grateful that he is not in prison, you start to understand that his road to becoming a pastor was a miracle of God’s grace and mercy.
Moore readily admits to being a problem child with a number of scrapes with the law. He had no intention of being a Christian, much less a pastor. At 18, he joined the U.S. Air Force. Because of a need for an “attitude adjustment,” he had to go through basic training twice. Moore fell into a bad crowd while serving in Germany, but, providentially, he became interested in Bible research when he stumbled on an Amazing Facts broadcast on the only clear channel in the barracks. In a later visit to Rome, he saw that what he had been studying in the Bible was true. Pastor Rob Colón, now the pastor of the Sunnyvale church, baptized him in 2005 in Tacoma, Wash., while Moore was still in the service.
Still, he had no desire to be a pastor, and he received his B.A. in criminal justice from Eastern Washington University. However, one of his friends was studying to become a Navy chaplain, and this sparked Moore’s interest. He decided to go to Andrews University, where he received his M.Div. and enlisted in the Navy Reserves. However, none of the Armed Forces would allow him to become a chaplain until he had spent time as a pastor. His faith journey now began, because he had not been hired as a pastor in spite of his education.
Fortunately for him, and the church members in Clovis, Moore was hired as an associate pastor in 2016. Steenberg commented, “He has been a blessing to me and my family as we have worshipped together in Clovis.” Layla and Kayli, two sisters and members of the youth group, remarked, “Pastor Nick has made a positive impact on our lives. He is generous, funny, and loves God.”
Just before his ordination, Moore received a call from the Department of Veteran Affairs in Tennessee. In August, he will move to take their Chaplaincy Resident program. Meanwhile, he is working on fulfilling requirements for his D.Min., specializing in chaplaincy, at Andrews University. On track to finish before 2023, his dissertation topic is on training pastors to identify physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in their congregations.
This is the story of an unlikely pastor who challenged the Bible but ended up convincing himself. As he found out, “[God] chooses human beings, men compassed with infirmity, as instruments in the working out of His designs. The priceless treasure is placed in earthen vessels.… Through them His glory is to shine forth into the darkness of sin” (Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 330; emphasis added). May he go forth from Central, as is declared in Colossians 1:27, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”