Even Helped in Katrina Hurricane Relief
From the Bronx to the Boy Scouts to NBC
I was born in the Bronx in New York City in 1947, and grew up in one of the surrounding suburban communities. My mother and father were both native New Yorkers whose families had immigrated to America from Europe. Oh yes, we were Jewish! After graduating High School in 1965, I joined the Air Force and served for 4 years. Schooled in electronics, I became a technician for ground radio transmitters and receivers. My final year for the Air Force was spent as a Forward Air Controller, in Vietnam.
My IBM experience began in 1969 and was wonderful. I loved what I did. In the beginning, I serviced their data processing equipment and eventually, their mid-range of computers. If it were not for a call from the Lord to be a pastor, I would still be with them.
So how did I become a Christian? One day a fellow worker approached looking for a Boy Scout Leader. His church sponsored a Boy Scout Troop who needed a "fill in" Boy Scout Leader for the summer, while the official one went away to school to finish his education. Having had a lot of experience with the Boy Scouts, and after a little discussion, I was hired on the spot, so to speak (free of course). Realizing that the people had a right to meet the person with whom they would trust their children, it was felt that a Sunday morning visit to the Yorktown Heights Church of the Nazarene was in order. However, looking back now, God had another purpose in mind. That day, I experienced for the first time, something that I had never before felt – love with no strings attached. They cared about me, yet knew very little about me. In fact, I liked it so much that I kept coming back for more. It took a year of being under the Gospel message to understand the concept of being lost and away from God. Finally, in December of 1971, I gave my heart to Jesus, my Messiah.
I entered the full-time ministry in 1980 and continued until my retirement from the Pastorate in 2005. My pastorates were mostly urban settings with the exception of my very first church. That was in rural Ohio, a farm community of only 2,300 people. It was an experience, to say the least, for this "city boy"! I have since pastored in the Detroit area; in Houston (a metropolitan area of over five and a quarter million); in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Roll Tide!); and in 2013, moved to Lakeland, Florida in an attempt to enjoy a semi-retirement.
In 2006, when hurricane Katrina pounded the gulf coast, the Church of the Nazarene responded well according to FEMA. However, the denomination realized that our people needed better training. I was asked to assist in the creation of a disaster relief training program for the Church of the Nazarene. I co-authored the module for pastors and chaplains and now I am one of the National Trainers for NDR (Nazarene Disaster Relief). In 2007, I served as a consultant for NDR.
In 2008, I became an Adjunct Instructor for Nazarene Bible College, and in 2012, Adjunct Instructor for Trevecca Nazarene University.
Additionally, I have authored a paper entitled: A Development Plan to Train Interim Pastors in the Church of the Nazarene.
I have been married for 40 years. We have 6 children, 17 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren.
Dr. Peter Gantz has been teaching for NBC since 2008.