A 17-year-old boy rose from the sawdust floor of a youth camp. His hand brushed the wood remnants from his nose, ears and hair. He did not know where the last four hours had gone, but he had no doubt of his calling into the ministry. His past experiences made him fully aware of the challenges that faced him. Having been born with one hand, life had taught him that one must “go for it to make it happen.”
Bro. Darin Sargent grew up in a farming community in Idaho. At the age of 17, he was called into the ministry and by 19, he knew God wanted him to preach and minister to others. He graduated with a B.A. degree from Christian Life College in Stockton, California and has recently completed his master’s degree in Christian Leadership at Hope International University.
Referring to having just one hand, Bro. Sargent reflects that it is “the greatest gift God has ever given me. It has taught me to look at life with a different perspective. It is one’s attitude which determines one’s direction. That individual’s direction is more important than one’s speed. It does not matter how fast or slow the race is run, for it states in Ecclesiastes 9:11 that the ‘race is not to the swift.’ If your attitude or philosophy of life is set up correctly concerning what you are called to do and what life is about, you will get there. It just may take some time, and that is perfectly fine.”
A family man first and foremost, Bro. Sargent also pastors The Point Church in Escondido, California with his wife, Duana, and three children: Carson (22), Ashton (19), and Averie (15). Formerly the Sunday school director of the SoCal district and now the presbyter of Section 1 in the district, he also finds time to preach at youth camps (his personal target group), speak in high schools across the country, serve those around him, and occasionally step onto the greens for a little golf.
“You’ll never make an impact until you are committed to the collision,” he said. “I live by this statement. You must totally invest your life in what God has called you to do. This causes you to collide with (1) yourself, (2) the challenges of that calling, and (3) the philosophies of others who may not understand you. Therefore, one of my most enjoyable preaching topics includes that of faith and overcoming. An elder once told me that if you invest and help others build their dream, God will help you build yours.”
“Living a life of servitude will never go out of style,” said Bro. Sargent. “We can always serve, regardless of age. This is something I not only try to live out personally but strive to relay to my congregation and those around me.”
The Point Church offers many ministries dedicated to serving saints, new converts and the surrounding community. The ministries of Evangelism, Sunday School, Youth, Hyphen, 49 and Holding, Men and Women ministries combined with Music, a First Impressions Team, Discipleship program, and daughter work in Ramona, Calif. help facilitate this revival church.
“We have a strong presence in a place called Serenity House here in Escondido,” he said. “It is a home for ladies battling addiction. God has opened the doors for us to work here. Some restrictions regarding religious influences have taken place, but I was told that we would be the only religious institution allowed to give Bible studies.
“Many of these ladies attend our church services and have been filled with the Holy Ghost. This involvement has been so beneficial. Oftentimes they do not remain in Escondido because they move back home. It is our goal, then, to try and plug them into churches nearby.
“I have found that if you create a place that people want to be and where God’s presence is, you will see growth. Focusing on new people as well as the leaders working with you are two very important priorities.”
The Connect Course
When new individuals come to The Point Church, the goal is to plug them in as soon as possible. This can be tedious, however, so the leadership team has built a Connect Course that includes different levels of involvement. “There is a danger of waiting too long to include a person in ministry for fear of not knowing whether they have reached a certain plateau of commitment before they are even used,” explained Bro. Sargent. “This Connect Course safeguards against this through its program levels of involvement, which are based on the level of commitment from the individual. Entry level will not be in platform ministry or department leadership, but bringing snacks to an event or being a greeter and/or parking lot attendant are wonderful ways to include them. The closer they get to the platform or department leadership, the more committed I ask them to be.
“The Connect Course is usually introduced to an individual once they have been baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. We want to be sure they are grounded and experienced to a certain extent before they enter the course. The literature is a compilation of different sources including work from Bro. Raymond Woodward. I have shared it with several people and would be willing to share it with those who would be interested.”
Bro. Sargent said this past year the church’s focus has been to strengthen one-on-one evangelism and discipleship. “I am a firm believer that every individual can disciple,” he said. “Rev. Stan Gleason’s book on Discipleship is a must-read for those desiring to make an impact in this hour of evangelism. Literature from Dan Grider and numerous friends have helped supply resources and encourage this ministry, as well.
“I try to develop individuals before they enter this program. As a church, we are to be salt and light. I often begin this discipleship process before they even attend a church service. It is more than inviting someone to church. It is about getting them grounded. As salt and light, we attract people to us and in doing so we will bring them to Jesus.
Developing leaders is one of Bro. Sargent’s top priorities. He meets with them once a month and if needed, on a weekly basis. “Many of our leaders have job descriptions so they know what is expected of them,” explained Bro. Sargent. “I have written several of these and received others from various sources.
“Each year my wife and I meet with each department leader individually during a two-day planning session. It is here that event dates are scheduled, and any questions or concerns are brought to the table and discussed. We have done this for the last two years and have found it extremely beneficial. We have and still do combined department meetings; however, these individual meetings have encouraged growth and vision and have allowed us to be more transparent regarding issues that may need to be addressed.”
Experiencing the Miraculous
The Point Church was established in 1949 and after the third request from a retiring pastor, Bro. Sargent felt the Holy Ghost say, “The time is now!” He and his family left the pastorate in Van Nuys, California and moved to Escondido in March of 2005. Between 2013 and 2014, a larger and more accommodating facility was needed. The 5,500-square-foot facility and house behind the church acting as a fellowship hall were not large enough, which created the need for multiple services. The church looked at a building for sale that was way beyond what they could afford and because of that meeting, the realtor representing that property became the realtor for the church. In October of 2015, The Point Church sold its current facility and began to search and prepare for the next step.
During the search, the church experienced a difficult year as it rented a high school auditorium for services. The only time available for service was 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, which was not a good time for a church in southern California. “There were times when I became frustrated,” reflected Bro. Sargent. “But I felt that we would only be in this rented auditorium for a year, so I tried to keep a hope and future in front of the church. We just tried to keep moving forward.
“On a Sunday in June of 2016, I was searching online and found that the same building we had investigated previously was for sale once again. I called the realtor and he confirmed that it indeed was for sale. A few months later, we purchased the building and moved into a facility of four buildings under one roof with a square footage of about 19,000. In that year of waiting, the price had dropped by over a million dollars. Its proximity to downtown has made it ideal for community interest and acknowledgement.
“A building of this magnitude is almost impossible to obtain in southern California. It was incredible how it became reality. We are still in the process of remodeling, but at the present time our sanctuary can seat about 400 with the balcony. Our average Sunday attendance is roughly 150 to 155, and we are excited to see continued growth. Another building houses our Sunday school classrooms, youth room, fellowship hall and kitchen. An administrative building is in the remodeling stage as well.”
Bro. Sargent said he would be remiss to not acknowledge or thank those who have influenced his life greatly in this journey in the ministry. His father, Bro. Harold Sargent, has been a primary influence. Bro. Kenneth Haney was instrumental in his young ministerial life when he attended Christian Life College. Another major influence has been Bro. Gordon Mallory, who has been in his life since he was a child. Bro. Nate Wilson from Sacramento and Bro. Curtis Young have also inspired, encouraged and challenged him.
“Upon reflection, one truly cannot make an impact until they are fully committed to the collision,” said Bro. Sargent. “This collision may come in the form of self, challenges in the ministry, and others who will not understand. Regardless, continue to strive for impact and overcome each collision you encounter. In the process, always remember to live a life of servitude. If you serve and help others in their dreams, God will be there to make yours a reality.”
Bro. Sargent may be reached through email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or are interested in any materials or resources mentioned in this article.