Just this month Icompleted 27 years of full-time ministry. (Five years into full-time ministry I spent two years getting a graduate degree…I still consider those full-time ministry years.) I have served in churches in Oklahoma, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. Twenty-seven years seems like a long time, but not really when I look at a person who I look up to and admire, my dad.
I don’t know the exact number but I believe my dad has been in full-time ministry for about 54 years. Over the years I have been privileged to observe my dad and what stands out is that he is always looking to God to lead his steps. He took risks, because he believed that was God’s will. (At one point he left being a pastor of a successful church to move 3000 miles west to pastor another church…smaller, less members, a lot less money and the bill collectors met us on the day we moved in saying the church was behind in making payments. God honored his faithfulness by allowing him to help lead the church out of the financial crisis and even witnessed numerical growth.)
What also is very evident about my dad is his passion to be faithful to the call on his life and that he strives to carry out any ministry task with integrity. (In one position he was asked to step down from a position to make way for a younger person…even though it hurt he did so and because of his Godly reaction to the situation, became an example to others. To this day he has a great relationship with the person who asked him to step down. I don’t know that I could have done that.)
Even in these years he calls retirement, he still is looking for ways to serve and is willing to do so when God gives him the opportunity. These days he is back in the classroom leading college students in a survey of the Old and New Testament. I am thankful that I have been able to witness a faithful servant of God. And I pray that when my days roll into retirement, someone will look back and say about me: ‘he was faithful to the call on his life and he carried out his ministry with integrity.’
Dad, thank you for your example. I haven’t told you enough…I am glad you are my dad…I love you.