For Michael Ferris, what began as a simple activity with his daughter, the Lord has transformed into a full-time ministry to those in need of the Gospel and inner healing. Ferris, a potter, reaches audiences throughout the U.S. and the world through his ministry, A Journey to the Potter’s House.
With a dramatic testimony of his teen years spent on the streets of New York and a dramatic, near-death experience that the Lord used to draw him near, Ferris is no stranger to the healing and life-changing power of the Gospel.
Through A Journey to the Potter’s House, he is sharing that message. Based on Jeremiah 18:1-6, Ferris gives an illustrated sermon using clay on his potter’s wheel to show spiritual principles. He says that his objective is two-fold: 1) to lead people to a personal relationship with Jesus and 2) to see them be released from pain through emotional healing.
“Forgiveness is not a natural process,” said Ferris. “It is a supernatural process for which we need supernatural ability.” At one church, he was approached by a woman who said, “I know that God sent you here for me. For the first time, I am able to forgive the man that murdered my son.”
Ferris, previously a doctor with a thriving private marriage and family therapy practice, started A Journey to the Potter’s House eight years ago with a presentation that he gave to one of his classes at Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, NY, where he has served for almost 12 years as an adjunct professor in the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling.
One day, while working at the wheel, he saw how the order of operations to make pottery was an analogy for the healing work that He does in broken lives. Then, Ferris explains, God spoke to him and said, “If you’ll give me your brokenness, pain, and shame, I’ll make you like Joseph and use you to change lives.”
Ferris will take his pottery wheel anywhere he is invited and has ministered in hundreds of churches in eight countries, at special events, evangelistic outreaches, concert halls, hospitals, universities–even a family reunion. His audiences range from a few individuals to thousands.
At this point, he estimates that a million people have seen the DVD of his presentation. As a result of a trip to Trinidad in 2016, it is going to be shown in the public schools there, as part of mandatory religion curriculum. Furthermore, the state of Virginia’s prison system has adopted the DVD as part of its program for inmates re-entering society.
The transcript of the DVD was recently translated into Chinese for use in the U.S. and an Egyptian pastor, visiting the U.S., brought the DVD back to Egypt to get it translated into Arabic.
Ferris, 61, has been doing pottery for ten years. The father of four daughters, he got started in a class he took as part of “daddy-daughter” time with one of his girls. After taking lessons for two months, he bought a wheel and took it from there. He is mainly self-taught, he says, through the use of instructional videos and lots of practice.
For Ferris, the message of salvation and healing is one that he knows well. Having been abandoned by his mom at 15 and having a dad that was not interested in raising him and his sister, Ferris grew up on the streets in New York, where he stole food to survive. “We were ships without a rudder,” he explained.
At 19, after seeing many of his friends go to jail or to the morgue, Ferris entered the Navy after being chosen from among 400 candidates for an elite diving team. He describes who he was at that time as “very angry and a loner.”
In the Navy, Ferris gave his heart to the Lord. “There are a lot of Born Again Christians in the military,” Ferris said. While stationed in San Diego, CA, he was part of a big college-age group. A Christian friend challenged him about what would happen to him in eternity and the message was driven home later that week when he was buried alive underwater in his 150-pound diving suit. At one point, he thought that he had died and was going to fade out when he heard, “Where do you think you’re going to go, now?”
He survived the accident, but it sparked a passionate search for God. Ferris says that he started looking futilely for answers in world religions, until finally, his heart said, “What about Jesus?” The near death experience brought to life Psalm 40:2: “He brought me up out of the miry clay and set my feet upon the rock.” He then became “reckless for the Lord,” showing his Bible to everyone. “It has been a calling in my heart from the beginning,” he said.
An ordained minister and full-time missionary with A Journey to the Potter’s House, Ferris also does missions work in Peru, where he has helped to train individuals working with a massive population of homeless children there. “I’m going to keep bringing the message of a Journey to the Potter’s House around the world until Jesus calls me home,” he said.
In addition to his presentations, Ferris is working on a coordinating journal and devotional book. “Everyone can relate to this message—young or old—whether they have walked with the Lord for years or are a new believer,” he said.
To invite Michael Ferris to give his presentation to your church or group or to receive his e-newsletter (including his upcoming schedule, testimony, and devotional thoughts), please visit his Facebook page: A Journey to the Potter’s House.
-written by Rachel Mari