11-Year-Old Minister Ordained in Md., Regards Preaching Gospel as 'God's Calling'
By Ruth Miyake - Crossmap On June 22, 2012
Reverend Ezekiel Stoddard, a pastor newly ordained in Maryland last month, is 11 years old who believes that God has called him to preach the Word of God.
Stoddard was ordained on May 6 at Fullness of Time Church in Maryland, his family's independent Pentecostal church where his parents are pastors.
Adding to the surprise, the enthusiastic boy had been preparing for sermons since he was 7 or 8, according to ABC News. His motivation to become a minister was aroused after God asked him in a dream to read Psalm 23.
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"God gave me that particular scripture because a lot of people, they try to draw you away from the lord, trying to get you on the wrong path," Stoddard said, according to ABC News.
"People come to you, they ask you questions about why you should act like a child and not a minister," the young minister said. "I do things like a child, but still I am a minister. I am an evangelical."
"God said, 'You are going to lay hands on the sick and preach to the poor,'" he shared regarding the dream.
"He said, 'Son, you are going to be something -- Ministering the Gospel and running souls right over to Him."
"To be called by somebody is very special, because that somebody is Jesus," Stoddard added.
The 11-year old preaches at the 11 a.m. service with other preachers, according to his mother Pastor Adrienne Smith, in addition to preaching in other churches around the Maryland region.
"He can go to the bible and pull a text and prepare a sermon. That's in his heart," said Smith. "That's how he feels about the ministry, about Jesus, about the community."
"He's had time to study, he knows a lot of scripture, he knows the 10 Commandments, the stories. He does childlike things, but when it comes to the word of God, he studies, he prepares," she added.
While many people think that the boy nicknamed "Zeek" is being forced to preach, he is very confident and comfortable in what he regards as God's calling.
"It doesn't matter the age that you can be licensed. It just matters ... how much word do you have and how much God has called you," Ezekiel told the Washington Post.
Because of his young age, Stoddard is often not taken seriously by many.
"A lot of grown-ups will look at me like I'm just a joke and I need to sit down," Stoddard told the Washington Post.
He wants to spend all his life as a minister, Stoddard said.
Stoddard studies Bible for at least three or four hours every day, while being homeschooled by his mother.