MIDLAND Pastor Brent Johnson was a teenager when he felt God’s call to become a minister, but he got an accounting degree and worked for three years till attending Bible college and starting life as a pastor.

He led two churches in his hometown of Sydney, Australia, and was a pastor in Melbourne before coming to Presence Church at 901 Midland Dr. three years ago.

Noting that his wife Heather, co-pastor, speaks on every fifth Sunday, Johnson said, “God has a purpose and a plan for every person and you can discover what his plan is for you by spending time with him in prayer and in the Word.

“We believe God can do supernatural things and we speak about how he empowers people in every aspect of their lives from relationships to their health and finances.”

Presence Church, which the 46-year-old pastor said is multi-cultural with white, Hispanic and Black members along with people from Central and South America and Africa, averages 100 people at its Spanish service at 9 a.m. Sunday and 300 at its 10:30 English service.

Heather, left, and Brent Johnson pose for a photo Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in the sanctuary of Presence Church in Midland. (Eli Hartman|Odessa American)

Johnson took a business degree with the New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission and a theological degree at the Australian College of Ministries. He and his wife have four children.

Johnson said being a minister in Australia is very challenging because most Australians have little or no interest in Christianity, owing to the nation’s history as a British prison colony. “It was significantly harder,” he said.

“You weren’t received that favorably. It was a great conversation stopper to say you were a pastor. You can feel God a lot more in this country.

“God showed me at the age of 16 that there was a supernatural realm, so I searched for him because he had impacted my life so much. I had a desire, a call to tell everyone I could.”

Greg Spencer, whose father Dick founded Presence Church in 1985 as Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, said Johnson “focuses on leadership, takes that seriously and is very intentional in his role.

“Most of Brent’s messages are that God has a plan for our lives and his plan is greater than what we are living now,” Spencer said. “He encourages us through a deeper relationship with the Lord to encounter all that God has for us in life.”