Get to Know Terence
Terence Little joined us in July as our Ministries Pastor. Learn more about him through our Q&A!
Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you’re from, about your family?
I am from the foothills of the great state of North Carolina. Go Tar Heels! I am the eldest of three children. My dad was a Baptist pastor, and one of the greatest preachers I have ever known. He is with the Lord now, while my mom, sister, and niece live in my home town, and my brother in a neighboring county. I come from about five generations of Baptist pastors, and when I chose to minister in the Presbyterian Church, my relatives were very supportive. One of my great uncles who is a pastor told me, “You will learn much from those Presbyterians. They know how to mine the text of Scripture.” Those were his words of encouragement when I went off to study theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) in Charlotte.
God has blessed me with a great heritage of Christian believers. I have had the privilege of knowing a great grandmother, great grandfather, numerous great-great aunts and uncles, great uncles and aunts who were and are people of faith in Jesus Christ. My grandparents on both sides trusted in Christ as their only hope for this life and the life to come.
I attended college at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and there I was involved with a ministry called Campus Outreach which gave me my passion for discipleship. I went to seminary twice at RTS Charlotte and RTS Washington D.C. I thank God for my education and the teachers who have mentored me.
You’ve spent a number of years working with The Crossnore School, can you share about your experience and work there?
The Crossnore School is a children’s home in the mountains of North Carolina. It began in the early 1910s through the efforts of a woman and her husband who were on their honeymoon. At Crossnore I worked with children from ages 2 to 21. We worked with children who had been placed at the school due to different life circumstances: truancy, drug abuse, sexual abuse, poor parenting, poverty, and the list goes on. I have many, many stories from my time at Crossnore.
When I was hired, I committed to one year, and I stayed for seven years! At Crossnore I learned to listen and how to ask the right questions. I saw children and teenagers have the spark of hope and human purpose and dignity reignited in their hearts. I worked with a great team of caregivers. I partnered in team work with three major areas of The Crossnore School campus: Residential staff, Clinical staff, and Charter School staff.
Sometimes I still get calls from kids that I worked with. On my birthday in February, I received a text from a young man I worked with at the school and it brought tears of great joy to my eyes. He shared a picture of a book that I gave him back in 2009, and he let me know that he finished college, served in the military, is married with a little child, and is pursuing a career in medicine. And he let me know that he is trusting God. He made it. He made it. I thank God for such a gift on my birthday.
What resources and scriptures have most influenced your call to ministry and the way you approach ministry?
The church of my childhood and youth taught me the Bible. I really believe I was saturated in Bible growing up. I was able to see how Jesus matters to all kinds of life situations growing up. I could tell you lots of stories. I loved to hear my dad preach. I loved going to Sunday School growing up. I can remember wanting to summarize the lesson in front of the whole Sunday School one Sunday because I understood what I learned, and I greatly desired to share that with everyone else. I am a teacher, and I love to teach others to study God’s word and equip them to teach others.
Several Scriptures have influenced my desire for ministry. Here are a few: Genesis 12:1 – 3; Exodus 3 – 15; Romans 11:36 (I have a funny story that accompanies that verse); Ezra 7:10; Isaiah 55:10 – 11; Matthew 4:19; Matthew 28:18 – 20; John 17; and 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17. Three books of the Bible have been great influences for me in guiding my thought for the ministry of discipleship in the life of the local church: Romans, Philippians, and 1 John.
I have what I called my living heroes/mentors, and my heroes/mentors who are with Jesus. I believe that doctrine, biblical teaching, is for life transformation, not to make us super smart or ivory tower people, but real life transformation. The following people have and continue to influence my thought and ministry: Herman Bavinck, J. I. Packer, John Piper, R. C. Sproul, Francis Schaeffer, John Frame, Cornelius Van Til, Carl Henry, James Montgomery Boice, Douglas Kelly, John Murray, Tim Keller, John Stott, Vern Poythress, D. A. Carson, Tony Evans, Sinclair Ferguson, and Bruce Riley Ashford, to name just a few. Thinking and serving others is very important in the church of Jesus Christ and the Christian life. I try to read to have my Christian worldview challenged and sharpened and equipped for the work of “equipping the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12 another one of my favorite passages for Christian ministry).
Two resources that I really love for the life of the church are Paul David Tripp’s two books (which are also studies): How People Change, and Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands. I also like the Sonship study created by C. John Miller. The gospel is what I need every day, and the gospel is what everyone needs every day. I prize books and studies that keep the gospel central.
What do you cherish most about being a pastor?
In September 2014 at Hood College Library, I wrote something with two major parts: “I want to be a Pastor – Teacher of the Bible. Why?” and “What do you need to do in order to be a Pastor – Teacher of the Bible?” If I can make this succinct, this is what I enjoy about being a pastor: The Bible is the voice of the Lord and his will for his people; the LORD forms his church through his word and the power of the Holy Spirit; the LORD changes people through the preaching and teaching of his word; the LORD changes me through the preaching and teaching of his word; I want to see the LORD transform people through the preaching and teaching of his word; I love the fellowship of my brothers and sisters-in-Christ. Christ’s family will last for all eternity, and I like getting to know the family now. I enjoy seeing the LORD add new members to our family-in-Christ.
You find yourself with a free weekend; how would you spend your time? What’s your favorite way to spend your downtime?
I like taking Fridays off. There is a Christian bookstore up in Carlisle, Pennsylvania where I am a loyal customer. The owner joked with me one day saying I am one of three people who keeps the store going.
If I have a free weekend, I like to cook up a delicious pancake breakfast, grits, eggs, turkey sausage on a Saturday morning, go the movies (under a normal pre-pandemic society), and talk with friends. I like driving and seeing the countryside. I am a country boy at heart, and when I can get away to a rural place, I do. I like to take my books, pens, and journal for some reading and thinking and praying. I like to go visit my family and friends down in North Carolina also, especially the end of the year holidays. Those are times of great food and fellowship.