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October 6, 1999






Muldoon pastorate fits
former oil hand like a glove

___By Toby Druin
___Buckner News Service
___MULDOON--Jack Broadwater fits the congregation at Muldoon Baptist Church like a glove. Never mind that it's an oil-stained one.
___Broadwater is in his third year as pastor at Muldoon. It's the only pastorate he's had, in spite of his 44 years.
___When he came to the church in June 1997, 27 people were in worship to hear his first sermon as pastor. The last Sunday in August, 135 were there to hear him preach. Twenty-
broadwater
JACK AND GLADYS BROADWATER
four came out for a Saturday work day a Sunday or two earlier.
___The Muldoon area was settled by German immigrants, and the town at one time had three cotton gins and a working rock quarry. The church was established in 1894. Now the church is about all that's left besides a tiny post office and a general store that isn't much bigger and a few scattered homes. LaGrange is about 14 miles to the northeast, and it's 60 miles northwest to Austin.
___Most people in the area who aren't retired are involved in ranching. Some work at servicing oil wells.
___Broadwater and his wife, Gladys, can sit on the broad front porch of their home and hear the wells and the activity around them on a still night, he said. And most of the nights at Muldoon are still.
___He's not that far from his boyhood home in Kilgore, but he has put a few miles on a pickup or two since graduating with an associate's degree in petroleum engineering from LeTourneau University in 1977.
___He had spent 20 years pursuing the oil business when God began dealing with him in Gillette, Wyo. He and Gladys were members at Westside Baptist Church in Gillette. Broadwater was a deacon and Sunday School teacher.
___When their pastor left for a church in Alabama, Broadwater also found himself on the pastor search committee. One day about six weeks into the search, he said, the chairman of the committee told the group he didn't have anyone to preach the next Sunday.
___"I'll do it," Broadwater told the chairman.
___He had taught Sunday School and given his testimony but never had preached. "But how hard could it be?" he said he asked himself.
___"I have worked long, hard hours in the oil business," he said, "but I was never as tired as I was that Sunday night. But I had the satisfaction of knowing it was all for the Lord, and it felt good."
___When they finally got a pastor, his first sermon was on spiritual gifts, and Broadwater said he felt he was the only person in the room. When he told the pastor, he invited Broadwater to talk with him about what God might have in store for him.
___"I talked to him and told him I had not been happy in my work, that I felt I should be preaching," Broadwater said. But because he had been divorced before marrying Gladys, he didn't think God could use him.
___"Aren't we glad Jesus is in the sin-forgiving business," the pastor replied.
___"I felt that it was over, just getting it out," Broadwater said, but the next Sunday the pastor asked him to tell the church he felt God was calling him and he was ready to do what was necessary to follow.
___"Boy howdy, that was like putting the key in the ignition," Broadwater said.
___The day after he announced his decision to the church, he told a friend about it, adding he wished God would give him a billboard in the sky to affirm it.
___The next day he got a call from his boss who told him he had been fired.
___"That phone call was my billboard," Broadwater said.
___"I knew who it was when the phone rang. When he told me he was going to have to let me go, I said, 'OK.'"
___"He seemed a little flustered at my response and said, 'I am serious. You have too much experience and are too expensive. I'm not kidding; I'm going to have to let you go.'"
___"I told him, 'I understand. Thank you very much.' I explained to him that I felt it was God's plan and agreed to come back and show his new man around."
___The new man turned out to be a friend of Broadwater's who offered to hire him to do the work from which he had just been fired.
___"It was Satan tempting me to stay in the oil patch," Broadwater said.
___Instead, he sold the friend his pickup and went home to Kilgore to begin deciding where to go to seminary. After sending inquiries to all six Southern Baptist seminaries, he chose Southeastern at Wake Forest, N.C.
___Broadwater received his associate of divinity degree in December 1996 and gives Gladys the credit. "I couldn't have done it without her," he said. "The day I got fired, when she got home I told her what had happened and she said, 'Well, now are you going to do what the Lord wants you to do?' She has stuck by me all the way."
___Gladys transferred to Wal-Mart in Raleigh, N.C., and Jack got a job there as a security guard and was permitted to work his hours around his classroom demands.
___After graduation, they returned to Broadwater's mother's home in Kilgore, and he began sending his resume to directors of associational missions. He admits Gonzales Baptist Association was well down the preferred list.
___ It had to be God who brought him to Muldoon, he said. He had been talking to a church in Gonzales when he got a call from the Muldoon church to come and supply for them one Sunday. No promise was given of being considered for the pastorate, he said.
___"But I was talking with the search committee in Gonzales and asked the folks at Muldoon if it would be all right for them to come and hear me preach," he said. It was all right, they assured him.
___"That Sunday I couldn't hardly say 'Jesus Christ' without stuttering," Broadwater said, "and the search committee from Gonzales said, 'Don't call us, we'll call you if we want to hear from you again.'
___"Well, I never heard from them, but the Muldoon Church called me as pastor. We've never looked back."
___

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