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David Franklin Interview
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Watch video interviews at the end of this article.

I grew up in church, enjoyed church, participated in church, but I never really had a relationship with Jesus until late in high school. I was around 17 years old, when I realized I needed to actually encounter God and abide in Him in a way that I hadn't before—but I never wanted to be a pastor.
 
Now maybe that's the story for a lot of folks, but for me it was absolutely true. My plans were to work for a Fortune 500 company, be a marketing executive, make some money, have some power, and enjoy life. God had a different plan.
 
When I was a senior in high school, I was accepted to the University of Southern California (USC) and told, “don't get a grade less than a C because if you do, we will have to revoke your acceptance.” Unfortunately senioritis got the best of me—I got a D in an AP Physics class.
 
I got a call from the USC recruitment director. She told me, “I'm sorry, we can't accept you into the program, but, if you go to community college for a year and work on your prerequisites, we'll be happy to accept you in next year.”
 
I agreed to this offer, but I was devastated. I had done well in school my entire life. I had a great GPA, and was president of my class. I went to the community college and while there I began to understand how to discern God's voice. I decided I wasn't going to go to USC after all, but I was going to attend Oakwood College.
 
Attending Oakwood was transformational. It was on those grounds that I deepened my relationship with Jesus Christ. I decided to study business, not yet discerning where God wanted me. I felt I was moving in the right direction.
           
When I arrived on campus, I prayed this prayer. “Lord, what I want is to get an internship with a company for two summers, and I want the internship to pay for part of my college education. Additionally, I want them to put some money in my pocket. When I'm done with school I want to get a job with that company, or a similar company, making $40,000 for the first year with an option in the second year to double that salary and be on a fast track to executive leadership.”
 
In my first summer there, I received an internship at Coca Cola with an opportunity to work on their Coca Cola Classic marketing brand team, their prize jewel. They were giving me $10,000 in scholarship monies and they were putting another $5,000 in my pocket plus a whole host of other benefits. 
 
After the first summer, God said, “I don't want you to go back to Coca Cola.” I went back anyway. I worked and was successful, from an outward perspective or an outward appearance, but I wasn't at peace.
 
Back at Oakwood after that second summer, I found myself sitting on a friend's couch, feeling like the Spirit of the Lord had left me. It was the deepest emptiness I've ever encountered. It's weird, because there were people all around me, and yet I felt totally isolated. It was this sense of not having anything. It was dark and empty, and it's something that I don't ever want to experience again. I said, “God, whatever You want me to do, I'll do it.”
 
From that point, God started leading me into pastoral ministry. I'd love to say I accepted the call to pastoral ministry that very night, but unfortunately that was not the case. I was still hunting for a way to do what God wanted me to do, and yet do what I wanted to do.
 
I was in my senior year when another job offer came my way. I said, "Okay, God, I'm not going back to Coca Cola, but J.P. Morgan Chase is offering me an opportunity. You need Christian people in the financial community. Of course, this makes sense."
 
So I went to the job interview. As I was being interviewed, I heard the voice of the Lord speak to me again, saying, "I'm going to give you the job, but I don't want you to take it."
 
A few weeks later, I got a call from J.P. Morgan Chase. "Mr. Franklin, we'd like to offer you a position. We want to offer you $40,000 with a $6,000 signing bonus, and we want to put you in the Leadership Development Program so that in a year's time you'll double that salary and be on your way to executive leadership."
           
I was blown off my seat, to say the least—that God would orchestrate this in the exact way that I had asked, But the Lord had already spoken to me, “I'm going to give you the job, but I don't want you to take it.”
 
So I told them, “I appreciate the offer but I have to respectfully decline.” I think God was saying to me, listen, I can do even more than you've asked. What's even more important is listening to My voice and discerning My will for your life. If you can hear Me, even in the midst of challenging circumstances, if you can sense My voice calling you, then you're going to end up in a much better place than what you have desired for yourself.”
 
Here I was, a senior, in my second semester preparing to graduate, without a job. So, I said, "Well, Lord, whatever You want me to do, I'll do." I spent the next year doing mission work, going overseas, going all across the United States, preaching and teaching.
 
I found myself preaching one night, under the African sky in Zambia, and it wasn’t going well. I said, "God, this is not for me. I don't want to do this.” I felt so inadequate and ineffective—and He said, "Now I've got you exactly where I want you."
 
What I said in that moment was, “God, if You can use me like this, if You can use me when I feel like I'm at my worst, if You can use me even when I feel like I've failed, then Lord whatever you want me to do, I'll do it.” I experienced a deep sense of what it means to be covered by God’s grace. It was that night, out in the middle of Choma, Zambia, that I accepted the call to ministry.
 
My pastor back home in California had seen God’s call on my life and had invited me, a year prior to my time in Africa, to come home and be associate pastor at my home church. It took awhile but I finally picked up the phone and called my pastor. "I'm coming home,” I announced. He asked, “What? You mean you're coming home to visit?" I said, "No, if the opportunity is still open, I'd like to come home and work with you as your associate pastor. I feel like I've heard the voice of God speak in my life, and I want to surrender to God's voice.”
 
I spent two years, as a youth pastor, at my local church in California, and then felt it was time to go on to seminary. I was continually running into situations that I didn't have training to manage or to deal with properly. I only had a few tools in my chest. My undergraduate degree was in marketing and business, and going to the seminary was an opportunity for me to actually have a theological degree under my belt, and really begin to rigorously wrestle with some questions that had accumulated since my childhood. It would also allow me to explore the broader church and to really expand my understanding of the kingdom of God.
 
My first six years after seminary, I pastored in the Baltimore area. Presently, I am the lead pastor at Miracle Temple Church.
 
I'm so excited about what God is doing. My journeys and wrestlings have brought me into a special relationship with God. Now, as I walk through challenging circumstances and obstacles, there's this experiential memory—of my struggle accepting God’s call in my life that helps me to understand that God is leading in any given situation.
 
 
 
David Franklin - Short Interview
 
 

David Franklin - Full Interview