Hello! My name is Tim Melton. I am married to Martha Jo Melton and we have two children (Callie is 27, Camp is 22). I presently live in Myrtle Beach, SC and, yes, the weather really is beautiful here all year round, just as long as the hurricanes stay away. Martha Jo and I have over 30 years of Christian ministry experience – mostly in Presbyterian Churches.
1. Spiritual Journey
I was born in inner-city Atlanta, Georgia where I spent my formative years. I am the oldest of three children, having two younger sisters. My home life was broken, deeply infused with abuse, alcoholism, violence, and anger. Yet, my mother became a Christian when I was a small child and has been a constant witness to me throughout my life. At the age of nineteen, I was led to a saving knowledge of Christ by a good friend, Randy Key. After consulting my pastor and other leaders in my home church, Randy and I decided to go to Bible College. We went to Columbia International University in Columbia, SC. At the end of our sophomore year, Randy died tragically in a swimming accident. I continued attending CIU, and after much prayer and counsel, I felt that God was calling me into a full-time ministry vocation.
The Holy Spirit used two passages of scripture to burden my heart toward covenantal pastoral ministry.
The first passage was Malachi 4:6 which says,
“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
This verse was significant to me because it created in me a desire to see families and communities made whole through the power of the gospel.
The second passage was from I Corinthians 1:26-30 which says,
“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
In this passage, the Spirit of Christ impressed upon me that, indeed, I was a foolish and broken person that God had rescued and loved and called to boast in the Lord about the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. Our Early Ministry
With these scriptures impressing my heart, I decided to finish my degree and pursue a calling in ministry. My junior year in college, I met Martha Jo. After graduation, Martha Jo and I were married on March 5, 1988 and we have served in full-time gospel ministry together ever since. We spent the first 15 years of my career in youth ministry where we was heavily involved with Young Life. During these years we developed a high sense of relational ministry, learning to share the gospel with students in the context of trusted friendships. These years were very fruitful as we saw many students come to a saving knowledge of Christ – many who are now serving in gospel ministry as ordained pastors, missionaries, and youth workers. However, the success of those early years in ministry could not overcome the legalism and self-righteousness that we held in our hearts. Nor could it assuage the lingering memories of our painful childhood experiences. Most of our ministry energy emerged from a desperate attempt to somehow overcome these obstacles – seeking to justify ourselves through our performance.
By God’s grace, in 1999 Martha Jo and I attended a conference that would change the trajectory of our lives in a dramatically profound way.
3. Personal Revival
During the summer of ’99, I had been reading material produced by Sinclair Ferguson (The Christian Life), Anthony Hoekema (Five Views of Sanctification), and I was listening to sermons by Tim Keller. I was also studying excerpts from Luther’s commentary on Galatians. During this season of life, Christ was powerfully dealing with my heart in regard to my Union with Christ, sanctification, and Christian growth. The scriptures seemed to teach, and the Westminster confession seemed to affirm, that sanctification came through the same means as justification – the Grace of God found in Union with Christ; this grace being appropriated by the Holy Spirit through faith and repentance.
This understanding of the gospel and sanctification began to bring about a revolutionary shift in my spiritual life. I had always viewed sanctification as a product of “self-effort.” My understanding was that the gospel was something offered to unbelievers. Believers, on the other hand – though justified by the gospel – were expected to grow through moralistic striving. This had produced a deep powerlessness in my life along with an underlying pride and anger that ate away at my Christian joy. What a blessing it was to learn that the gospel is also offered to those who have already placed their trust in Union with Christ!
In the fall of 1999, Martha Jo and I attended a Sonship Conference with World Harvest Mission (now known as “Serge”) in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was during this profound week that the Spirit of Christ revitalized and crystallized the gospel in our hearts. I learned a whole new vocabulary that harmoniously resonated with the Scriptures and the Spirit of Christ within me. These phrases now haunt my heart…
• Union with Christ is the foundation of the Gospel
• God’s Law is a law of love that can only be rightly expressed through dependence on our Union with Christ.
• Justification and Sanctification are actualized by Faith in our Union with Christ
• Repentance is a continual experience of turning to Christ and away from sin
• A life of faith is inconceivable apart from a life of repentance
• We need to preach the Gospel to ourselves everyday
• We have been saved. We will be saved. We are being saved this very moment
• We cannot obey Christ unless We trust in Christ
• We cannot trust unless We believe
• We do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! – Galatians 2:21
• For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love – Galatians 5:6
• Jesus will not leave us as orphans, He will come to us. – John 14:18
• If it is true that the measure of our sin is an ocean of evil, it is also true that, in comparison, the measure of Christ’s forgiveness is a galaxy of love
• We are more messed up and sinful that we could ever believe, but we are more loved than we could ever dare to dream.
Following our personal “revival” in the Fall of ’99, we have continued to grow in grace, realizing the depth of our sin, shame, and brokenness, while we are also being filled with wonder, glory, and healing that is found in Union with King Jesus, living at the foot of His Cross.
4. Calling and Ministry Desire
Over the last 15 years, I have served as the Associate Pastor of Surfside PCA, and Martha Jo served on the ministry staff as a ministry coordinator – and was especially involved in Women’s ministry. However, during the summer of 2018, Martha Jo and I were led by Christ to resign our ministry positions at the church. We now endeavor to serve Christ through the ministry of Hope Christian Discipleship.
Martha Jo and I continue to immerse ourselves in the scriptures, endeavoring to believe the gospel, repenting of our unbelief, and learning to rest more deeply in Jesus’ love. We also frequently read Dan Allender, Tremper Longman, Nancy Guthrie, Jack Miller, John Owen, John Frame, Michael Reeves, Tim Keller, Paul Tripp, Tim Lane, Chuck DeGroat, David Powlison, Ed Welch, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Jen Wilkins, Tara Barthel, Ebeneezer Erskine, Paul Miller, Sinclair Ferguson, Walter Marshall, Eugene Peterson, C.S. Lewis, and Henri Nouwen. The writings of these men and women – along with the theme of our Union with Christ – is pervasive in all that we do – in preaching, teaching, counseling, and in our interpersonal relationships.
We now desire to explore planting an ARP church in Myrtle Beach, where the “DNA” is consciously committed to celebrating our Union with Christ –
preaching it and believing it;
in election and calling;
in regeneration and repentance;
in justification and sanctification;
in adoption and glorification,
to unbelievers and believers;
to all people and all races;
to laypeople, staff, deacons, elders, and pastors;
to the family, the church, and the city.
It is our conviction that Christian ministry will most certainly languish in spiritual weakness, self-effort, and moral striving unless we actively practice a conscious dependency on our Trinitarian God through our Union with Christ – which is taught in the Scriptures, exalted in the Gospel, ordained by God the Father, made possible by the work of God the Son, and applied by God the Holy Spirit.
Please be in prayer for me and Martha Jo as we continue to serve Christ through the ministry of Hope Christian Discipleship.
Christ in you is the HOPE of Glory!
Tim and Martha Jo Melton