The Journey Continues: Paul Buntyn
My journey this week took me to Paul Buntyn the present pastor of Abundant Life Christian Church, located at 20131 Highway 80. The following is his shared testimony:
“My journey began in 1948 in Manhattan (Harlem) and I was raised in a Christian home by my grandmother with five other siblings. It was eight of us but she raised 6 of us in a 1-bedroom tenement apartment. Raising 6 of 8 kids was a true sacrifice." Buntyn said.
"My foundational training for ministry was done at the Mt Olive Baptist Church in Harlem, New York City and the Walker Memorial Baptist Church in the Bronx. Sports, the theater and music guided my life — I expertly played 10 different musical instruments by the time I graduated from high school. Recognition of my athletic skills came after having played in the famed Rucker Basketball Tournament in New York City. I was recruited off the playground for a basketball scholarship to Maryland Eastern Shore University; however, this was interrupted by another recruiter, the draft, into the United States Marine Corps in 1968.
“Service to the Nation. I was deployed to Vietnam after graduating from boot camp in Paris Island, South Carolina and Camp LeJeune, North Carolina," Buntyn said. "I was involved in numerous combat missions and wounded twice: Shrapnel in the leg in November 1968, and then a NVA bullet to the head which left me paralyzed and near death in March 1969. I was awarded two Purple Hearts, the Vietnamese Citation of Valor, a Bronze Star and an Honorable Discharge from the Marine Corps.
“I had to fight to not be angry with God. It took nearly seven years of therapy and rehabilitation after a miraculous healing from God. It was excruciating," Buntyn said.
"Later in 1982 I graduated from Manhattan Bible Institute with a certificate in Street Evangelism. I also discovered my forte was ministering to inner-city youth in my old neighborhood using athletics, music and theater primarily as a drawing card to redirect the negative exposure of inner-city life influenced by drug use, violence and other distracters of education and upward mobility.
"In 1985 God supernaturally moved me to San Antonio where I served as a Youth Minister at Shiloh Baptist Church. In 1988, I had moved to San Marcos and pastored Greater Bethel Baptist Church for 5 years. During this time, in 1991 I graduated from Incarnate Word University with a degree in Special Education. I also attended Oral Roberts University working toward a Master of Divinity and Doctorate Degree,” Buntyn said.
In April of 1993, God moved Paul Buntyn to start a new work by planting Abundant Life Christian Church, where he has pastored faithfully for 26 years. He was also lead to create a nonprofit community development corporation called The Alternative Live Moving Strategies (ALMS) Inc. with the purpose of opening doors for underserved youth of all cultures by increasing their understanding of economic, social and educational empowerment. Many young men and women received opportunities to further their education and play collegiate sports. Thus far, six young men have gone on to play in the NBA.
One of his ministerial highlights includes the purchasing of 64.68 acres of land on which will be built an accredited Christian school and seminary for developing disciples for ministry, a drug rehabilitation center and a facility for educating the homeless.
Pastor Paul Buntyn is a leader and a warrior — always looking for new ways to deal with old problems. He is married to JoAnn (Queen) Buntyn, a powerful support partner in the church; and they are the proud parents of six wonderful children. His life verse is:
“Yet he did not waver
regarding the promise of God but was strengthened
in his faith and gave glory to God. Being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had