I recognized my need for a savior when I was 8 years old in Atlanta, GA. Being a young child in the early seventies, raised by parents that loved Jesus, I had deep roots in the Word of God and church. In the early eighties, our family moved to Dallas, TX for my father to attend Seminary. As a member of First Baptist Euless, TX, I began to grow deep in my faith through studying and memorizing scripture and attending all events for spiritual growth. I was also heavily involved in school: an A student and athlete, as well as musician in the concert band. Upon completing seminary, my father moved our family to Chattanooga, TN in the late eighties. I was heading into High School and everything was changing. There were new friends and new feelings about life. I was leaving behind big-city life for hills and farms. I was going from a mega-church to a church with less than 100 members. I was going from a champion football team, and hopes of playing pro football one day, to a country school with a team that rarely won a game. I was learning to march for a band instead of learning music in a band. I felt I had lost my dreams. I felt I had lost myself. I began to understand how Job and David felt when they questioned God with, “Why do the wicked prosper?”
So I chose a path that seemed easy at the time. I chose apathy. I redefined David Wiley. I chose to defy what I believed, and to see how the “other side” lived for a while. I chose rebellious friends, drugs, alcohol, sex, and defiance of all authority, including God. It took away more than a decade of my life. It took my wife, my daughter, my relationship with God, and almost my life. I spent time in jail, without a home, in danger of bullets and thieves. I even had a suicide attempt turn into an experience with what many call an angel. However, God patiently waited for me to come to the end of myself. I became very aware that He had a plan for my life and that I was not getting out of it. I could continue pitching a fit and rebelling but I had come to a choice. I would accomplish God’s plan for my life, but it was up to me if I did it as a cripple or on my feet. I could do it in prison or in the community. I decided to do it on my feet and wherever He leads me. I confessed that David Wiley is dead, and that Jesus could have me completely.
I know that Jesus is alive. I know Him. In fact, it was His Grace alone that sustained when He had every right to destroy me. He alone rescued me. Though I will never understand it, I have great value to Him. He completely restored my relationship with my daughter Sarah, who was four at the time, and her mother also. By the time Sarah graduated high school, she was working among Muslims in foreign countries. God also led me to an incredibly godly wife with a similar testimony and call to ministry. Mollie and I were married in 2001.
Around the turn of the millennium I surrendered to full time ministry, and for more than a decade, it was without salary. But He has always proved faithful to His Word. The Lord placed me in a Christian band that toured the United States for six years and led many hundreds to Him. As an evangelist and preacher, God has granted me opportunities to speak all over America and around the world. He has invited me to serve with some great ministries such as Student Venture, Voice of The Martyrs, Prison Prevention, Replicate Ministries, The Extreme Tour and others. But the local church has always been the plan, and God has granted me the privilege of serving full time roles as Youth Minister, College Minister, Church Evangelist, and Community Missions Director. He has allowed me the privilege of ministering within prisons all over the country (including Riker’s Island, Angola, Hayes) and overseas in Europe and West Africa. Mollie and I have also been blessed to serve the local/underground church in several foreign mission fields such as: Ukraine, Ecuador, Israel, South Africa, Nicaragua, Mauritania, Tunisia, Albania, Senegal, Ireland, Uganda. The Lord even gave us the opportunity to smuggle Bibles. The irony of God, using my past as a drug smuggler to move his Word!
After Joining Brainerd Baptist in 2009, I spent years in personal discipleship with Dr. Robby Gallaty and learning from anyone within the church that would spend time investing in me. A few years later, I launched a nonprofit mission effort called Mission12|24. Its focus is supporting local churches in making disciples that grow their church in difficult communities.
Our daughter is married and lives in southeast TN. Mollie and I live in north GA and I serve Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN as Director of Community Missions.