Focus on Faith: Pastor of Malta church found calling as a result of drug bust

David Moore, senior pastor at the Greater Grace Community Church on Round Lake Road in Malta, figure

David Moore figured that sooner or later he would give his life to Christ. He and the Lord, however, had different ideas about when.

“When I was 18 I was going to wait until I was old and gray and 65 and done sinning, and then I was going to turn to Christ,” said Moore, a 1972 Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake graduate. “I was going to do it my way, but then there was some divine intervention. The Apostle Paul said how he was apprehended by Jesus. With me it was the state police.”

Moore is senior pastor at the Greater Grace Community Church on Round Lake Road in Malta, a congregation started in 1974 by Moore and fellow Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake grad Eric Handel, in a barn behind the Garrison Veterinarian Hospital on Goode Street in Burnt Hills.

But a year earlier, a different career path had put Moore in quite a jam.

“I was a low-level drug dealer, and I was hitchhiking with a friend on the Northway when I looked up and saw this patrol car coming down the ramp,” he remembered.

“I thought, ‘Well, this is the day I get busted.’ They had me on two counts of sixth-degree possession, and I spent the afternoon in jail waiting for my dad. That was enough right there to encourage me to turn to Christ. Now, every time I drive to Greater Grace I go right by that spot. I remember.”

Greater Grace Community Church is an independent evangelical church. It is affiliated with the national missionary organization of the same name, and Moore was ordained through that group after attending Stevens Northeast Bible School in Lenox, Mass., and the Maryland Bible College and Seminary in Baltimore.

Evangelical theology

“Our theology is probably closest to the Southern Baptist theology,” he said. “We are evangelical, which means we reach out to the community with the gospel, and we believe the Bible is the inspired word of God. Our passion is the Bible, and that’s most paramount to us, and our missionary work is very, very important to us.”

Handel, a 1971 BH-BL grad, is still affiliated with Moore’s church, although he spends much of his time preaching the gospel as a missionary and is currently in Budapest, Hungary. It was he who tried to get Moore to turn to Christ before his run-in with the state police on the Northway.

“I was raised Catholic but I ditched them when I was 12,” said Moore. “My father, who was probably the best Catholic I’ll ever know, said that once the church felt I was an adult I could make up my own mind, so after confirmation I stopped going to church. Then Eric was very instrumental in getting me thinking about the Lord again, but I initially thought he had lost his mind. He would talk to me and I would dismiss it.”

When Moore did finally see the light, he began going to Bible studies headed up by Handel, and in the fall of 1974 he helped Handel create their church.

After beginning their congregation behind Garrison’s animal hospital, they rented several places within Saratoga and Schenectady counties and in the 1990s they moved into what had been a hardware store in the Malta Mall.

The church is still there, although Moore is looking to buy some property for a new building. The small gatherings that he and Handel used to lead have grown into a sizable congregation, with around 100 adults and 40 children attending services each Sunday.

Included in those figures is Moore’s wife, Cindy, and their five daughters, as well as his father. His oldest daughter, 33, made Moore a grandfather for the first time earlier this year.

“I have baptized my own parents, and while I had a hand in it, I like to call it the Lord’s work,” said Moore. “But I guess I was instrumental. My mom is now at home with the Lord, and my father is remarried and still very active in our church.”

Radio broadcasts

Along with his Sunday sermons and Wednesday night bible studies, Moore can be heard on five hourlong broadcasts each week (seven, if you count re-broadcasts) on WCDC Radio, 1540, a Christian AM station.

“I do five different shows and then they replay them on the weekends,” said Moore, who began doing radio ministry back in the 1980s when WABY was a Christian station.

“We got on board with WCDC their very first year here, about 13 years ago, and I broadcast live on Mondays and Wednesdays and I record for the rest of the week on those days.

“I take my Sunday sermon and break it down into pieces and preach those truths over five different segments,” he added.

“It’s probably the most effective outreach tool we have. People like what they hear on the radio, so they know what they’re going to hear when they get to church on Sunday. Some of our most faithful members started by hearing the radio program.”

The only full-time employee on staff at the church, Moore spends a lot of his free time reading the Bible.

“I still have things to learn,” he said. “When I’m not working, we do love the outdoors and we’ll spend time skiing in the winter and swimming or boating in the summer. But I love reading the New Testament, and I’m about to teach a class on the Old Testament. Reading the Bible and talking about it, discussing what you read, is what I’m passionate about.”

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