San Diego, California
"After I led Dad through the plan of salvation and prayed with him, I asked
him if he had any questions. He said no at first, but then he said, 'Yeah, I
have one question. If you really believe this and you're concerned about me,
why did it take you so long to tell me?'"
Slade's change in heart was as immediate as his father's words were
piercing. "I was already in the ministry, but that was the turning point for
me. When he challenged me like that, I determined I would never again have that
same feeling as when he asked me why. It set me loose and ignited my fire for
Growing up in San Diego, Slade had dreamed of becoming a successful CEO in a
Fortune 500 company. With an aptitude for business, it made perfect sense.
But another plan began to eclipse his old dream when he became a
bivocational pastor in 1987. The dream ended at a 1992 "Experiencing God"
"I came back from that with a renewed sense of urgency but also an
understanding that God was already at work, and I had to make adjustments in my
life to join Him. It was clear to me that my business career was over," Slade
His first adjustment was selling the athletic shoe store franchise he owned.
Slade also left his position as a senior financial analyst for an aerospace
"The company encouraged me to simply take a leave of absence," Slade said.
"But I told them that God had called me to full-time ministry, and taking a
one-year leave was kind of like going on a cushion. So I resigned immediately."
Slade then joined Highland Park Baptist Church in the San Diego suburb of
Paradise Hills as associate pastor. He and his wife, Adrienne, moved there to
begin their new ministry.
As it turned out, they were well-positioned. When a police officer was
killed at the apartment complex across the street from Highland Park, the
apartment management sought help from the church. In the wake of the tragedy,
Slade ministered to the residents and found ways to reach out to the high crime
One of his first efforts was to begin "Meadowbrook at the Movies," which
offered inexpensive family entertainment. Highland Park found a new part of its
mission field, and police soon reported a 40 percent drop in calls.
But something even greater was happening at Highland Park.
"In one three-month period we had 140 professions of faith, and it wasn't
because of me. My preaching isn't that good. It was just that we had the
boldness to ask questions and talk to people," Slade said.
Now a church and community ministries director for the San Diego Baptist
Association, Slade continues his style of leadership by example.
"I encourage the  churches in the association to branch out of their
four walls into their communities. And I make sure that I'm doing the same
thing. A public health nurse at the winter shelters asked if I could mobilize
people to come and talk with folks at the shelters. We now go and spend time
with them, talk with them, encourage them. That gives us the opportunity to
share the gospel.
"We also mentor people coming off welfare. They need advocates who can help
them with emergency childcare and transportation. We build a team of four or
five church members around them and provide support. They ask why we help them
for no pay. Again, the 'why' gives us the opening to share our faith in
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