I'm a pastor

I’m in my seventh year of full-time professional ministry. I first realized that I wanted to become a minister after my sophomore year in high school. I didn’t get struck by a lightning bolt from God or hear his voice audibly calling me. I just liked the idea of getting paid to speak. Being from a small church, I was able to preach my first sermon at the age of ten which allowed me ample opportunity to develop my public speaking tools. That’s why I wanted to go into the ministry: I wanted to preach.

So I graduated Bible College and was unable to find a preaching job. Well actually, that’s not entirely true. I could’ve taken a preaching gig if I wanted to relocate to an area of the country where the banjo is the instrument of choice and lard is the fifth food group. I chose, however, to stay in the city and do youth ministry. After that, I went back to work at the Bible College [or the Christian University, if you prefer] and finally ended up here at Mason. Seven years after graduating school with a preaching degree, I am still not preaching. Good work, Steve.

That used to bother me, but now I could care less. God’s been working on me, redefining what I saw as ministry. I thought anything other than preaching wasn’t doing real ministry. But during the past few years God has taught me the value of being a pastor. The terms might sound the same: minister and pastor. But pastoring people is altogether different than just being a minister. It’s all about investing in people’s lives; seeing them through the highest highs and lowest lows; sharing in their laughter but joining them in tears- urging them to draw them closer to God. It’s a lot of low-profile, never-ending work that’s exhausting: weddings and hospitals, births and deaths, one after the other. I’ll admit, that if you went back in time, to the end of my sophomore year in high school and tried to sell me this job, I don’t think I would have signed on. But during these past few years God has shown me how rewarding it can truly be. I’m grateful I’ve been able to do what I’ve done.

My aunt took her own life Sunday night. She was the most amazing Christian lady you’d ever care to meet [I’m going to post something about her during the next few days]; it was so unexpected. Yesterday I was with my uncle early in the morning, praying with him in this horrendous time. Then I had to break the news to my grandmother that her daughter had died. It was one of the darkest days in my life but, please don’t take this wrong, it wasn’t too bad. God has been preparing me to pastor, and it sorta flowed out naturally yesterday. It’s been a hellish time for our family, and I know it’s just beginning, but I’m extremely thankful that God has prepared me for this. I guess He’s known all this time what He’s been doing in my life.

There’s no other job I’d rather do.