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MyRon Edmonds Interview
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Watch video interviews at the end of this article.

I'm a fourth-generation Seventh-day Adventist on my mother's side and a second-generation Adventist on my father's side—a pastor’s kid. My mother was a denominational worker, and so all the ‘Adventist pedigree’ was there to position me to go into ministry.
 
My father had a successful ministry, but he experienced much pain and difficulty as a pastor. That pain was felt by my Mom and my siblings and I as well. They were good parents and I knew they loved me, but ministry was not appealing to me because I saw what it did to their lives and especially what it did to my father personally.
 
I am my parents only biological child—born while my parents were at Andrews University. It was also there that my parents decided to adopt my sister from Korea. She was three years old. Then when my father was pastoring in New Jersey, and my mother worked for the housing authority, a single-mother who had AIDs, came in seeking assistance. Her son came to spend the night over at our home and ended up staying for the rest of his life. Later my parents discovered that my father's sister's two children were bouncing around from foster home to foster home, and they adopted them. So there were five of us.
 
I guess you could say my house was the house on the side of the road. My parents were very generous in terms of allowing people to live with them. I think I calculated that over 70 people lived with us during my childhood. I recall one incident coming home from the Dupont Park Seventh-day Adventist Church, and passing a liquor store where my dad saw a former member out there getting ready to drink a 40-ounce beer. My father told him, "Get in the car." So this gentleman got in the car and ended up living with us for the next four years.
 
This was pretty common at our home. We had people living with us all the time—alcoholics, drug addicts, anyone in need. So this was my upbringing. I didn’t grew up in the ghetto, but the ghetto sort of grew up in my house. I think God was shaping my heart to love people and not to see myself as better or different than them. At the time, I didn’t realize that God was using my parents' way of ministry to prepare me for what I didn't even know was coming.
 
While I was attending Pine Forge Academy, my father hit a real rough patch in his ministry. He was a conference youth director, and at a constituency meeting they voted him out. I’ll never forget that. All of my brothers and sisters were there. We were anticipating that he was going to be voted back in office, so we were totally shocked. As a teenager, my identity was wrapped up in my parents and what they did. To see my father crumble the way he did and go into depression and discouragement was tough on me, and I wanted nothing to do with Adventist ministry—didn’t want the politics, didn't want to be involved in the institution, the pastoring, or denominational employment that caused this pain.
 
So when I arrived at Oakwood University, I made up my mind like Jonah, to run in a totally different direction. I decided to pursue communications and to study law. I didn't know exactly what I was going to do with that. I was confused. But one thing I wasn't confused about, I was not going to pastor.
 
One day, I ran into a man named E.E. Cleveland, and he messed up my world and my plans. I still had this itch inside of me to see lives changed. So I asked him how do you know if you're called to the ministry? He looked me straight in the eye. Pointed his long, skinny finger in my face and said, "Whatever consumes your thoughts the most, that's what God wants you to do." His answer knocked me off my horse, so to speak, and I knew at that moment, I was called to pastor, I was called to the ministry. The thing that occupied my thoughts most, were people—their lives being changed and their salvation.
 
At Oakwood University, there were theology majors and then there were the theology majors. You know, the guys that looked like they were ready for ministry right straight out of college. I didn't fit in. I was into sports, and I wanted to be the cool kid. I didn't really know the Bible as well as these guys. I wasn't a great speaker and I didn't get the preaching opportunities that they did. But because of E.E. Cleveland’s words, I knew I was called. I had that confirmation. So I pursued it and the Lord began to bless.
 
Not long into my ministry in the South Central Conference, my relationship with God slipped because of my secret sin of pornography. I was outwardly successful, getting preaching engagements, participating in great opportunities, but my private life was in shambles.
 
It was while I was at Andrews studying for my D.Min. in family ministries, that I heard a doctor talk about human sexuality. I just knew he was talking to me. I felt like I was the only one in the room. I never will forget what he said. ”Mold only grows in darkness. When you put light on it, it can't grow anymore." I knew that my freedom had to come through exposure, that I couldn't keep living in secrecy. I had to confess my addiction to pornography, and not just to God. In James, it says to “confess your faults to one another.” I think this was the text this doctor used. It goes on to say, “and you will be healed.” It didn't say forgiven, it said you'd be healed. So, I knew that my healing was in my confession.
 
The Holy Spirit told me very clearly, “tell your wife.” Wow. I won’t ever forget that! My marriage wasn't on the best terms at that time, so to have to tell my wife that I had an addiction to pornography—well, the timing was just bad. I felt like God didn't know what He was talking about. Like, are You trying to destroy me here? But I obeyed. I had no other option. I wanted to be free.
 
My wife received me with an amazing grace that I can't explain to you. I know God's grace—I know what it feels like because of what I've experienced from my wife. That was sort of the beginning of working through all my inadequacies, all my insecurities.
 
I thank God that He has put me in a position of honesty—I mean, painful honesty about myself. No more lies; no more hiding. In order to fix it, you've got to face it. That's helped me out greatly in terms of moving past the pain and the addiction to freedom and a boldness in my preaching. I no longer preach to impress people, or minister to impress people, but I minister from my pain. What I've experienced helps people to heal and find their purpose. God humbled me and called me to live a transparent life. He freed me from my addiction and showed how to love broken people like myself.
 
I had been humbled by God—I felt I didn't need anything else to break me. Then my parents marriage came to an end. They had been married and ministered together for 36 years. It was a high profile divorce; it was ugly; and it broke me. I was angry at God and my parents. It was the most difficult thing that I’ve ever experienced. I had to forgive my parents for letting me down by not fighting it out.
 
God used these experiences to teach me about grace. It's one thing to receive grace; it's another thing to have to give it. I guess I never knew what grace was. I heard about it. I knew what it was theologically. But it was totally different experientially. God wanted me to learn to love people, even my parents, no matter what they have done
 
I'm still in ministry today, and I'm clear on what I'm called to do—love hurting people. I'm called to love people that have made mistakes, like myself. I'm called to love people that do things I don't like—like myself. I'm called to love, and that's my niche, that's my call to ministry: loving people. It just simplifies everything else. I may have a bad sermon, but I can love people. I may have a bad meeting, but I can love people. That's my call.
 
 
 
MyRon Edmonds - Short Interview
 
 

MyRon Edmonds - Full Interview