Pastor of the Week: Bishop Sylvester Sampson
11/30/2011, 7 a.m.
Local minister uses faith to overcome addictions For the past 19 years, Bishop Sylvester Sampson has been leading Razor Sharp Ministries, a church founded by him to focus on outreach services. The estimated 70-member church has developed several strong ministries including ones focusing upon HIV/AIDS, feeding the homeless, senior care and hospital visitations. I deal with anyone, Sampson explained, come exactly as you are and I will deal with it. Sampson himself understands the importance of receiving a second chance. In 1984, the now 56-year-old minister found himself on his knees crying for mercy. He had been addicted to drugs for 17 years, his marriage was crumbling and his financial prospects seemed bleak. I hit rock bottom and I really didnt want to live anymore, he recalled. I couldnt find anything else to sell because I had sold everything, so I just sat right there and cried to the Lord to kill me. Fortunately, God sent him relief from his troubles in another form. A prompt visit from a local preacher and spiritual advisor and a coincidental visit from his family, gave Sampson the strength to go to the local church and become a regular visitor. Yet his ordeal was not over yet. I would go to church and then get high when I came home, he admitted. Finally six months later, Sampson said he was delivered from his drug addiction. Eight years later, Sampson went from loyal church goer to founding his own church, Razor Sharp Ministries. The minister proudly says he has been drug free for the past 27 years. Now any free time he has away from his roofing business is spent conducting church business. I was addicted to drugs, now Im addicted to Christ, he said. Role model of faith Married for 38 years and the father of four, Sampson was always around his children, yet he was not always involved in their personal lives. I wasnt a father to my children the way I should have been because of my addiction, he said. But since Ive been born again, I know now the importance of being a father . The lesson of being an active participant in your childs life, especially for fathers to be active in their sons life, is one he tries to impart to everyone. If the father is [around], he can do the manly thing with his son, explained Sampson. Lessons of the pulpit Sampson has been a pastor for nearly two decades and in that time he has accumulated a lot of knowledge and experience. One of the biggest lessons he learned was about the importance of forgiving another human being. In order to be an effective minister, you have to be able to take the wrong from your brother and sister, Sampson said. We can take that wrong and make it right in yourself and forgive them. Ultimately, Sampson believes that individuals who turn the other cheek will be more effective in winning souls. God will convict them and tell them that man took your wrong and that will make the individual start doing the right thing, he explained. Razor Sharp Ministries is located at 8523 NW 22nd Avenue in Miami. By Kaila Heardkheard@miamitimesonline.com