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Clifton Charles

Clifton Charles
Clifton and Pearl Charles

Clifton Charles is a regional pastor who also pastors two GCI congregations in Trinidad and Tobago and one in Barbados. Clifton grew up in poverty. He notes that at age 13, following the death of his father, his meals consisted mainly of bread or breadfruit and there was no money to buy schoolbooks. According to Clifton, this “taught me to be resourceful and resilient.”

Clifton feels that these hardships shaped him into the pastor he is today. “Many influences brought me to where I am today. Among the more significant, apart from my surrender to the Lord, are (1) the fine role models of my diligent and outgoing parents who had a great work ethic and were always helping people; (2) the blessing of a keen mind so that learning was easy for me—as a result, all of my education, up to my PhD, was scholarshipped; (3) my divinely chosen wife, Pearl, who is my excellent ministry partner; and (4) many extremely supportive members and leaders in the congregations where we have served.”

Clifton and Pearl have been married for 40 years. “She is my best friend and personal assistant and travels with me most of the time. We have no children. However, one of our members told me that we have children who are even older than we are!”

Clifton became interested in WCG/GCI at age 19. “HWA’s description of his repentance—when he came to see himself as a ‘hunk of junk’ and told God if he could do anything with his life he could have it—grabbed my attention. I was at that point that I realized God was leading me to repentance. One night at age 19 or 20 I went into my room, knelt down and told God that I realized what he wanted me to do but I needed his help. Then I asked him to bring me to the point where I saw myself as a ‘hunk of junk’ and turned my life over to him so that he could do with me as he pleased. That began my surrender to Jesus and my walk with him.”

In 1978, Clifton was ordained an elder and started pastoring GCI churches part-time. “I became a full-time pastor in 1984. This meant resigning from my full-time job at the planning division of the ministry of agriculture in Trinidad & Tobago. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed full-time ministry. To this day, I have never been bored or burned out.”

When asked what he enjoys most about pastoring, Clifton said it is his relationships with God and people. “What I enjoy most is helping people catch God’s vision and mission for them and seeing them transformed by God as they surrender to the Lordship of Christ at new levels in their personal lives. I also enjoy helping develop new generations of leaders, as leadership development is one of my hobbies. Finally, I also enjoy marriage ministry, which is another hobby that God is blessing wonderfully.”

Speaking about GCI, Clifton said, “I enjoy most the freedom we have in Christ to help move people to God’s agenda. I did not anticipate that our transition to a focus on being missional disciples of Jesus would take as long as it did. By God’s grace, it had become my own focus by July 1995. But the wait has been worth it, for God is producing good fruit in our midst. I now feel free to serve disciples of Jesus both in GCI as well as the wider body of Christ in Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago. I currently serve on several national and regional boards of various Christian organizations.”

Clifton transitioned to part-time employment with GCI in 2000 and began teaching economics at the University of the West Indies in Barbados. “At present I teach microeconomics to second year students (about 150 each year) and international economic integration to final year students (about 20 each year). This teaching gives me opportunity to enjoy serving young people and to be on mission on the university campus.”

Clifton’s passion is “making disciples of Jesus and helping them to reproduce more disciples of Jesus.” He said he doesn’t focus on most memorable moments because he doesn’t spend a lot of time looking back. “I live in the present with my eyes on the future. As a result, memories are quickly overshadowed by present realities and future developments.”

3 thoughts on “Clifton Charles”

  1. Just love reading about my remarkable brothers and sisters in the GCI ministry. Our fellowship may be small in numbers but big in the Spirit. Thank you Clifton and Pearl for your many faithful years of service.

  2. Ditto to what my dear brother Santiago has written! And I am looking forward to being with you, brother Clifton and sister Pearl, this coming weekend, and to serving the Barbados congregation and two of the three in Trinidad! See you soon! Blessings, Ross.

  3. Clifton and Pearl, so good to read of the depth, breadth and height of your service in Christ to our Lord. Thankful for the ways he has used you and continues to do so.

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