Rev. Derrick Bowman is a true Alabamian. He is by walk and talk the embodiment of southern hearts and hospitality. Raised in a godly Baptist home and converted to Christ at an early age, Derrick has dedicated his whole life to the service of Christ. Derrick lives in the city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and is the associate minister at Grace FP, where Rev. Reggie Kimbro is the senior minister. A man of many talents, Rev. Bowman is much appreciated in our denomination for his ministry and fellowship. We are pleased that this interview provides our readers with an opportunity to learn about his life and work.
Tell us a little about your childhood and family life growing up in the state of Alabama.
Although I was born in Birmingham, Alabama, my family and I moved to France when I was very young to help my maternal grandparents with a mission project there. They were missionaries in Nice for over thirty-five years. We lived in France from the time I was three until I was five. When we came back to Alabama, I enjoyed growing up next door to my paternal grandparents who had seventy-six acres to explore. My grandfather had cattle and a huge garden. Between our own garden and Grandpa’s, I spent a lot of time walking behind a tiller helping to get the soil ready for planting. I enjoyed fishing in the creek, and hunting small animals with my Red Rider BB gun.
A lot of my childhood was occupied playing baseball. In fact, my three younger brothers and I played baseball every year. It got ridiculous for my mother who was often running from one field to another to try to see each of us at bat! It was worse when we all made All-Stars and were playing games in different cities at the same time. For me, baseball eventually became an idol until the Lord stepped in and took it away from me when I was sixteen. That was when the Lord changed the direction of my life toward the ministry.
How do you think your family life impacted your character and service for the Lord later?
I had the blessing of growing up in a Christian home, with two sets of Christian grandparents. My parents instilled in me the ways of the Lord from birth. I mentioned earlier about baseball being something of an idol in my life, but even through that, I did have a desire to serve the Lord. My parents had ingrained this principle in me, “You are better off being a ditch digger in the Lord’s will than being the richest person in the world outside of God’s will.” I knew they were right. My parents taught me to follow the Lord no matter what and implanted in me a good work ethic. I think most of that comes from all the hard work on the farm as farm work never stops!
At what age did you come to the absolute assurance of salvation?
I heard the gospel from my earliest days, but it was not until I was seven years old that the Lord convicted me of my sin and brought me to Himself. It was on a Sunday morning at church. I knew that if I had died then, I would not have gone to heaven. Actually, it was through our pastor’s wife that I came to Christ.
How did you meet your wife Lydia and how did you know she was the right person to marry?
I originally met Lydia when I went to visit Rev. Reggie Kimbro of Grace FPC in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to do an internship for him in his church. The Kimbro’s had planned a youth gathering, and Lydia was one of the girls in the youth group. I did not think anything about her until about a year and a half later at our denomination’s youth camp when I first noticed her as a potential wife. I had the opportunity to see her among her peers, and the verse concerning David in I Samuel 18:14 came to mind: “And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him.” To this day, that is still how I view Lydia.
After that youth camp, I began to pray for the Lord’s will concerning her. About six months later, the Lord gave me clear direction that she would be my wife. I called her father and told him that I wanted to marry his daughter. He gave me permission to talk to her, and I told Lydia that I had already spoken to her dad and that I wanted to marry her. Needless to say, she was surprised and spent the next few months seeking the Lord. During a chapel service at Bob Jones University, the Lord gave her clear direction that we were supposed to be together. After a too-long engagement, we were married on July 19, 2003. Lydia is truly God’s gift to me!
What was the most difficult aspect of your study years and training for the gospel ministry?
Balancing study, work, and my relationship with Lydia before we were married.
You spent two years in Canada as an intern and assistant in Cloverdale FPC, how did that help to prepare you for your work as a gospel minister?
My time in Cloverdale FPC was one of the most beneficial times of my life. I enjoyed one-on-one instruction from you, but more importantly, I had many opportunities to preach. Most weeks, I was preaching four times. The experience of preaching to a group of people on a consistent basis was extremely helpful. There is no better teacher than experience.
The Lord has blessed you and Lydia with four children. What guidelines do you follow in your home to teach them in the ways of the Lord?
Our children are definitely a gift from the Lord. Lydia and I both feel the responsibility to teach them the ways of the Lord as we learned them growing up. Besides our family Bible time, we try to emphasize the importance of the means of grace to our children. I try to ask them questions about the morning message or their Sunday School class lesson. We have tried to teach them the importance of the midweek prayer meeting, and the importance for a congregation to pray together.
What is the primary way you support your wife in your home?
I don’t do nearly enough! I do help with the cooking, though. I love to cook.
Is there a particularly helpful way by which your wife supports you in your endeavors to serve the Lord?
Lydia is my greatest supporter in the Lord’s service. She is blessed with a keen sense of godly wisdom and with a kind heart which the Lord uses to guide me away from the pitfalls of life to better serve the Lord.
What do you and your wife like to do together for recreation?
Recreation requires extra time and extra money. We have neither; however, we do like great food. My motto is, “Life’s too short to eat bad food.” Together, we like to try to figure out the absolute best way to make a particular dish. We also like to travel when we can, but the time and money restraints limit us. We love Alabama Football!
As the associate minister, what is your vision for the church in Winston-Salem?
Primarily, my vision is to support Pastor Kimbro’s vision. For a long time, he has seen the church at large as being in decline, and his burden is to strengthen the church spiritually. The simple means of grace are so important to the life of a believer, and I have the privilege of helping to promote that among God’s people here in Winston-Salem.
What is your role at the annual summer camps?
For the past four years, I have been the camp Bible Quiz master. I look forward to it every year. Last year, Lydia was able to be at the camp with me, so we did the cabin clean-up inspections together. That was a lot of fun.
Will the FP campers see you at youth camp this year?