It’s hard for me to fathom, but I have now been in full-time ministry for 30 years. The month of September serves as milestone in many respects. I began my first full-time pastoral position in September 1986 and my current position on September 1, 2012.
If you count my volunteer experience, it’s been over 40 years. I started serving during my freshman year in college in 1973. From 1973-86, I taught Sunday School for kids, served as a youth sponsor, discipled high school students, led ministry trips, sang in choirs, coached sports teams, chaired committees, did a summer internship, participated in evangelism outreaches, and the list goes on.
I taught one class in each of two semesters in Dallas Theological Seminary’s Lay Institute from 1983-84, and even got paid for the privilege. I also served one year as a part-time intern at Nutwood St. Baptist Church in Garden Grove, CA, in the mid-80’s.
In September 1986, I was called as the Pastor of Christian Education at College Church in Wheaton, IL, and began my full-time career in ministry. I served the first 18 years as an Associate Pastor. I served three years at College Church, Wheaton, IL – Pastor of Christian Education (9/86-7/89), and over 14 years at Crossroads Bible Church, Bellevue, WA – Associate Pastor—Singles, Adults, Missions, Senior Associate (2/90-6/04).
In September 2004, I was called as a Senior Pastor and have now served 12 years in that role. I served almost 8 years at United Evangelical Free Church, Seattle, WA (9/04-3/12), and the past four years at First Central Bible Church, Chicopee, MA (9/12-Present). If God should tarry, I would like to keep going and reach the goal of serving as many years as a senior pastor as I did as an associate pastor.
In addition, I have served as an instructor for Walk Thru the Bible Ministries for 29 years (1987-Present). I also led or participated in 17 ministry trips (12 to Russia, 2 to Ukraine, 2 to Spain, and 1 to Nigeria).
Somewhere along the line, I developed the following purpose statement for my life.
My Mission is to serve the purpose of God in my generation, thus bringing glory to his name. My Life Vision to train and equip others through preaching, teaching, writing, and leadership development. I want to bring all to maturity and many into leadership.
To be in ministry for 30+ years says more about God’s grace than my ability. I am not the sharpest tool in the shed nor the smartest person in the room. I am a plodder who strives to run the race God called me to run (Hebrews 12:1-4). I want to faithfully serve God and use all of my gifts for his glory (Matthew 25:14-30).
I thank God that he called me to be one of his children. I thank God that he called me into his service. I thank him for the privilege of serving him at First Central. I thank God for grace.
May God grant me the grace and strength to continue serving him for many more years to come.