Brother Richard is the pastor at Shining Star Fellowship located on the corner of South 3rd and Palm. He describes himself as a relational person and energetic. He loves Christ and a good challenge. He says, “Evangelina (wife) and I are a tremendous pair…”
Do you feel like your job is your calling? My job is my calling. I really don’t see it as a job. It’s actually developed into a way of life. I’m doing exactly what I love to do. I wake up in the morning and say “Ok, Lord, what would you have me do?” I am waiting to see what awaits me. Can I say it’s an adventure?
What do you know about God? That’s one of those questions you can’t get your arms around. I think one’s knowledge of God begins at a personal level and that level has an intimacy which I think is probably the best way to understand and to know God. You’re walking and talking with God. Therefore, he becomes real because he’s a major part of your daily experience. It’s that sense that you have that he’s with you all the time.
Can you share a favorite story about your spouse? When God called me into vocational ministry, I had a wonderful job. I was running a company, and I enjoyed that. We wanted for nothing. I came home one day and said, “Evangelina, I feel the Lord is leading me to resign and go full time to seminary.” She thought for a minute. It was a long minute. Here was her response – “I know that if God is calling you into ministry, and because I trust your love for Him, then I’m with you. So, whatever you decide to do, I’m with you.”
Tell me about someone who impacted your life. While I was living in Maryland I worked for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. My supervisor was a man named Joe Frazier (not that Joe Frazier). He was a wonderful guy. He called me Rev. We would read the blueprints together and make sure everything was running smoothly on the job. He once looked at me and said, “Richard, what are you doing here? With your skills, I recommend seriously that you leave here and see what you ought to be doing.” Impacted my life. I took his advice. I got out of there.
What did you do after that experience? I started attending Essex Community College, following what Joe had said. That’s when my draft number came. They had those lottery balls on TV. Mine was 52. Most of my friends who were a year older than me, they were heading straight to Vietnam. When my ball dropped, on my birthday actually, I thought here we go. I went straight down to the Air Force recruiter and took a test. They said Mr. Darden you have a high aptitude and we want you to go into electronics (flight facilities/equipment repair). So I went in with a guaranteed job promising six years to the Air Force.
What are you most grateful for? Pioneer Drive. I’ve been associated with PD since December of 2000 when Shining Star started. Over these many years, the support has been a tremendous blessing – to serve full-time and to get to be whom I am. That’s a real commitment.
What is one of your favorite movies and why? I love the classics. I have a favorite actor – Charlton Heston. I love the 10 Commandments. I love El Cid. And I also love Ben-Hur. They are all on my shelf. And Denzel Washington in the Great Debaters. I love the themes, and I love how they’re presented. They are wonderful stories, which are fulfilling. When it comes to TV today, I’ll turn it off and put on my old classics.