This is how aptly-named Mr. Dearlove, a tattooed pastor from South Africa found his calling and turned his life around.
A while back, you may have read a similar story of a tattooed pastor who found faith through a difficult point in her life. But Brad Dearlove has quite a different story.
Before he found his faith, Dearlove was quite happy and contented with his life. Having grown up in the rough streets of Durban, South Africa, his tattoo sleeves can testify to his dark past. But at the time he found himself in the back of a church during service, was also a time when he felt a sense of stability in his life and was unlikely to turn to anything or anyone with a cry for help. “I was actually happy and successful and hated Christians,” he said. But he still felt that empty space within him that he felt exceedingly bothered about.
“I wasn’t broken, however, I did feel empty and knew there had to be more to life,” He explained. “And it was while I was sitting in the back row of a church service in my hometown Durban when I felt God’s love in a tangible way,” he said.
Like many of us, Dearlove saw the church as a group of hypocritical, stuck up, and high standard group of people who turned their heads the other way on to anybody who does not share the same faith as them. “When I used to look at religion from the outside I saw stuck up, bitter, judgmental people,” he said.
“But when I met Jesus at a personal level and felt the deep love he was for me I realised he really is the only answer to the world’s problems and addictions — his heart breaks for humanity,” he shared.
“He was actually a reformer and was revolutionary in his day for the love and acceptance he showed for everyone — he sat with sinners, had wine with them and laughed and ate alongside the outcasts in society.”
Years later, he’s traded selling drugs of all sorts to trading words with people from all sorts of backgrounds sharing his faith and having those people share their experiences with him. He has also since then led churches in Dubai and embarked on mission trips in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and very recently, in India.
In 2010, Brad Dearlove founded the Crossing Point Community Church in Helensvale. Like what any church should be, the CPCC is just one big family. “I always say to people they can come and check out our church for a few weeks and see if it suits them, and if not I can help point them towards others that might be a better fit,” he said.
Brad may have found himself in his faith but giving his life to Jesus definitely won’t assure him a life free of difficulties. Just last year, he lost the love of his life and the mother of his daughter Rio to cancer around February. “Christmas is especially hard as it’s the first time in eighteen years I’ve celebrated it without my Farrah,” he said. The 37-year-old widower memorialised his late wife with a sunflower tattoo, Farrah’s favourite flower.
“Even though I don’t have the answers, I don’t lose faith because I know God is good,” he said. “There is a major misconception in the community that Christians have it all together, or look a certain way, but often we don’t.”