ANDERSON — God gave direction to Ron Duncan at age 15. It came through a youth summer camp pastor, preaching Proverbs 3.
"Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart," the first verses read. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."
Duncan said a realization was sudden, overpowering; he knew the rest of his life would be spent serving God.
"I've never wavered from that," said Duncan. Nearly 50 years later, he sat in his office at the North American headquarters of Church of God Ministries, 1201 E. Fifth St., in Anderson, reminiscing on his 11 years spreading that message as the faith movement's general director.
He's retiring in early August, and is expected to be succeeded by current Madison Park Church of God Pastor Jim Lyon.
"When I walk out that door, I want to leave it a better place," said Duncan, a reverend, doctor of ministry and retired colonel, as he sat surrounded by walls of photos and medals from his 25 years as a chaplain in the National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve. "I like to think I've done that."
Prior to taking his current position in Anderson, Duncan spent 36 years as a pastor. His congregations spanned the Midwest and Texas, including Park Place Church of God and Garfield Park Church of God in Indiana, and others in Ohio and in Texas, where much of his family lives and where he was named Pastor of the Year in 1997.
The Anderson University graduate was named general director in 2002, heading the Ministries' roughly 2,200 U.S. and Canadian congregations. That includes the 2013 Global Gathering, which continues through Tuesday at Anderson University.