My name is Tony Wurst, and this is my beautiful wife, Amy. We are part of Horizon, a Foursquare church in Seattle pastored by Doug and Ellen Heck.
In my teens, I was taken to New Life Center, a Foursquare church in Everett, Wash., by my friend Marvin and his family. I was brought up around substance abusers and became one myself, so church wasn’t a regular part of my life.
When I was 19, God got a hold of me. I responded and began to read one chapter of the Bible each night. My life began to change, and eventually God told me I could have more of Him if I made room in my heart for Him.
I knew that meant all of the drugs and alcohol had to go. My life began to change for the better, and I had to start separating from my friends and taking on new disciplines, like prayer. As it turns out, my friends made fun of me in front of other people but secretly respected me.
On a subsequent visit to New Life Center, I found myself hearing the Lord tell me I was going to become a pastor. I marched up to the front of the sanctuary after the service and waited in the long line of people so I could talk to Randy Remington, the pastor at the time. Finally it was my turn, and I looked at Pastor Randy and said, “I don’t really know how to say this, but I think I’m supposed to be a pastor.”
He looked me in the eye and said: “Come with me.” He grabbed me by the back of my arm, kind of like you might do with your kid if he or she is in trouble. But this was different. It wasn’t punishment. It was purposeful. It was like an extension of God’s hand leading me with assuredness to the place where I needed to go.
He took me to the young adults pastor, Ted Vail. Ted plugged me into the youth group and got me all cleaned up and ready for Seattle Bible College. Off I went, and I eventually met my mentor and spiritual father, Doug Heck, the pastor of Horizon. Doug took a couple of my closest Bible college friends and me under his wing. By the time he met me, I had been in Bible college for a couple of years and was one of the worship leaders at the school.
Doug has been able to lead me into the next level of my calling. He and his family are all people whom I love dearly and who are invaluable to me. When I say “all,” I mean all-there are nine of them!
Doug helped me through school, which I completed in 2001, by giving me projects to manage for internship credits. He plugged me into the worship team, and I grew into the lead worship leader for the Wednesday service. He let me use his car when mine was in the shop. He took me with him on ministry trips to a daughter church in Wyoming, where I made great friends and became a trusted voice. His beautiful wife and family took me in for countless meals and times to hang out.
Now I play electric guitar on the worship team, am a church council member, and my wife and I run a successful business. The business is another aspect of how being a part of this church has produced resources whose value is beyond measure. Pastor Doug used to be a businessman and was able to help me start my business the right way, so that it is now a success.
The Horizon church family hears God. The prayer, worship, preaching and teaching are a life-flow from the throne of God. I have learned to hear God’s voice in ways that before I wouldn’t have understood.