Pastor Michael Thomas of Love & Faith

by Tonya Dixon | September 11th, 2012
Pastor Michael Thomas

Pastor Michael Thomas (Photo by Howard Gaither)

Michael, the Lord said to tell you one day you will pastor a very large church.” It was a statement made that would be forever in grained in Michael Thomas’ memory. At the tender age of nine years old his church mother had prophetically spoken over his life. It wasn’t something he didn’t already know. He sensed at a young age that the hand of God was upon his life. However, it was at that moment that the reality and inevitability of what the matriarch had spoken would for certain be Thomas’ destiny.

Many years later the Mt. Gilead, NC native found himself a US Airman based in San Antonio Texas. Over the years he remained a servant of God but until that point in time the prophetic word he received as a young boy seemed as distant as the miles he had traveled and the years in between. Thomas got connected with a small but growing ministry. The Air Force taught him how to survive in life. The church fed him what was necessary to survive for eternal life.

He began to flourish as did the church ministry. He faithfully served when there were only 60 or 70 members and when the ministry grew to over 1,000 members. He was elevated in leadership yet he willingly served under leadership. Thomas was so willing and so content that he almost hesitated when he heard the voice of the Lord tell him it was time for change. God wanted him to move back to North Carolina. He knew it was the beginnings of prophecy fulfilled, yet it still wasn’t necessarily what he wanted to do.

“I never wanted to come back to NC, but it was divine intervention,” says Thomas. “I went on a fast and God told me to move back to North Carolina and start a church from the ground up. He told me to go to Greensboro and he even gave me the name of the church.”

The vision came in 1982 yet it would be five years before Thomas left for North Carolina and four more years before he officially started Love and Faith Christian Fellowship and become a pastor of one of Greensboro’s largest and fastest growing congregations.

The young pastor knew the most important thing to recognize and maintain was the timing of God. “I’ve discovered whenever God gives you the vision it’s never the time to move on it,” he says. He explains the importance of knowing when to move. “Habakkuk 2 says to write the vision and wait because it is for an appointed time. God had to develop me and prepare me for the vision and the vision had to be prepared for me.” Thomas also says God revealed some things in his life that had to be dealt with before he pastored.

Accordingly, he sought God’s guidance and he officially began his life as a pastor on the first Sunday in 1991. He gave it his all. The first service he shepherded was held in his own home to a congregation of three, including Thomas, his wife and daughter, both of whom he pays homage to because he knows he would not be able to do what he does in ministry without their love and support. The humility that many admire in Pastor Thomas is a direct reflection of the churches very humble and meager beginnings. The difficulties the church initially faced laid the ground work for a ministry built on complete trust in God.

“It was very difficult in the beginning and for several years. I believe God never starts you out at the top. Even as the church slowly grew struggles still remained,” he says. “We struggled financially. We struggled with everything you could think of for a church.”

Nevertheless, he remained vigilant and committed to the vision God gave him, understanding current situations never represent future promises. Pastor Thomas and Love and Faith Christian Fellowship remained consistent and faithful and steadily grew. The church eventually moved out of the Thomas home into a hotel. From there, they moved into a storefront. Ultimately, the local church expanded enough to necessitate a larger more encompassing facility. Consequently, in 1999 Love and Faith broke ground on a new sprawling church campus. The ministry saw such significant and swift growth because Thomas was and always will be dedicated to teaching the Word of God; to building a foundation on the Word of God; and developing strong leaders who can help others. He says it’s just like a family. Brothers and sisters helping brothers and sisters in service to God.

Today the church has over 3,000 members and many more that attend on a regular basis. Although people have come and gone the vitality and growth of the church continues to increase by the grace of God. Pastor Thomas remains resolute in the fact that he has the job of preaching the Word to people, but it’s up to God who comes and who goes.

“I think in churches we become despondent when people leave but people will come and go,” he says. “But I understand you don’t belong to Pastor Thomas. You don’t belong to Love and Faith. You belong to God and God has the right to move anybody, anytime. I believe success is when God says I’m pleased with you. That’s what I call success.” It appears God is pleased with Pastor Thomas and the Love and Faith church body. It is obvious His hand is mighty upon the ministry. Members are enthused and appreciate the “love” and the “fellowship” they experience. The ministry has been so favored by God a second location has been established in Kernersville to accommodate members in other areas of the triad. They are “one church in two locations.” Thomas is humbled by the enormous job God has entrusted him to do and the souls to feed.

The self-proclaimed country boy, from the country church, in the little old country town has been able to represent and present God to others across the United States as well as the world. “We are a very mission minded church. God has blessed us to be a blessing locally, nationally and internationally. That’s part of the strength of our church,” says Thomas. Sometimes what happens in America is that we think God is an American, but one of the greatest blessings is to go into other cultures and preach and watch God move. A good friend once told me, ‘Mike if God is going to bless your church you have to have a better view of the Body of Christ.’’ Love and Faith is a melting pot of many different nationalities and it is with that mentality that God has opened the door for Pastor Thomas to go in to many different places.

He has ministered in China, Dubai, India, Tanzania and countless other countries across various continents and he is preparing to go into Ghana and Norway in the coming weeks and months. Nevertheless, no matter where Pastor Thomas finds himself, the message is always the same: to preach Jesus.

The magnificent national and international ministry God has given Love and Faith is also the driving force behind The Good Shepherd’s Fellowship International. It is an extension of the church solely for the purpose of developing pastor’s after God’s heart. Pastor Thomas believes God has called him to be a pastor of pastors and the international fellowship has provided him the opportunity to properly develop and equip individuals God has already called. The reception has been so astronomical that he has been fielding calls from pastors across the world seeking to be taught and loved. “If there’s anything that excites me the most is to see people growing and maturing,” he says.

Pastor Thomas and the Love and Faith Christian Fellowship church are committed to serving God, by showing God’s love and spreading the gospel throughout the community, the nation and the world; remaining faithful to the ministry’s motto: The ministry where Jesus Christ is Lord and the people are loved.

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