Your New Life Making the Word Your Center at New Life Word Center
BY DEVIN HEFLIN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This passage from John 1:1 describes the manner in which Christ offered himself to the world
to redeem the world. Many during the period of silence between the Old and New Testaments believed Christ would manifest among them in resplendent gold and silver, on chariots which would blaze from the Heavens.
Despite this belief, Christ entered Earth from Heaven humbly and assumed the vocation of a carpenter. This man, who was God incarnate, fixed broken things and broken people. He was the Word, who was with God, who was God and who cultivated the power of God. His life, death, burial and resurrection cemented him as the center of man’s joy, achievement and life. A sanctuary which has stood in Sanford for twenty-seven years, houses a church which has existed for thirty-three years, led by a man who’s ministered the gospel for thirty-eight years.
New Life Word Center is saving families, one man at a time. The ministry works through the ministering of the gospel to all of the corners of the globe, as Jesus told his disciples, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.”
SANFORD - What began as a Bible Study in the home of Dr. Ronald Merthie has blossomed into a house of praise, power and deliverance. New Life Word Center was founded in 1983. Five years prior, Dr. Merthie had hosted Bible Studies in his home.
A Sanford native, Merthie was born January 20, 1951 to Oscar and Lillie Bell Merthie, as the sixth of eight children. “I was raised by two great parents”, Merthie recalled of his earlier years. The soon to be Senior Pastor graduated from Crooms High School in 1968 and matriculated to Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, where he received his Bachelors’ degree.
In 1973, Merthie worked as an educator, later becoming an Assistant Principal in Seminole County. His life delved into, as he recalls, drugs and wayward living. “I had an experience where I was overdosing on drugs. “I had a praying Mother who prayed for me through it all.”
On February 14, 1975, Merthie converted to Christ, and became born again. That same year, he received the Call to the Ministry, but did not begin until he received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit under the tutorage of Kenneth E. Hagin, Sr. in 1978.
“I ministered to men that had been under the influence of drugs. It was a message of faith which hadn’t been preached before.” He said of the ministry’s early days.
“The ministry continued until 1989 when the Lord moved us into our new facility.”
The facility seats over 700 and a school with 25 classrooms.
Under the mentorship of Apostle Frederick K.C. Price, Dr. Merthie was ordained and became a member of the Fellowship of International Word of Faith Ministries (FICWFM). He has been a member since 1991 and presently serves as a FICWFM Area Director.
Dr. Merthie ministers the Word of God throughout Central Florida on The Lifestyle of Faith program, which is broadcast weekly on WACX. In 1995, founded New Life Christian Academy was founded which serves students from K-12.
Ongoing youth Ministries at New Life Word Center are Men of Standard, Diamond Divas for young women, as well as the renovation of New Life Christian Academy. “Most of the students of the academy are from our ministry.” He said.
In 1976, Dr. Merthie married Ruth Lawson, and together they had four children. Ruth worked with Merthie in establishing New Life Word Center from their home based bible studies. The pair traveled throughout the U.S. and internationally establishing churches, and conducting crusades and seminars with the power of the Word of God.
In 2009, Ruth Merthie was called home.
Merthie married his wife Patricia, in 2011, and she remains a guiding force in the ministry. “You’ve got to be all that God has called you to be.” She said. “You’re there to guide God’s people.”
First Lady Patricia Merthie assists in the mentoring of young women who are not only members of New Life Word Center, but members of the community. “It’s our duty as Women of God to be examples for women.”
A Kansas City, Missouri native, First Lady Merthie worked under the leadership of Dr. Steve and Dr. Donna Houpe at Harvest Bible Institute: School of Leaders and Faith Bible College. She taught at Faith Academy for ten years, where she taught first and second grade.
“No church has the same assignment.” She said. “Know what God has called you to do, move with your purpose.”
After thirty-eight years of serving in the ministry, Dr. Merthie continues to work with the community. He’s hosted City of Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith as a speaker at New Life Word Center, regularly works with the Rescue Outreach Mission in Sanford and assigns ministers to work with both Seminole County Jail and several nursing homes.
The seasoned saint has words of advice for youth aspiring to answer their call to preach the gospel: “First find and submit to the local leadership and authorities in your church. Be receptive to training. When you’re committed to God, he will raise you up, then allow you to train and deploy those that will help you distribute the gospel to the world.”