Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thankful for 34 Years

1 Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

34 years ago this week, I was matriculating into Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College, San Dimas, CA when a friend, Rhonda Shook, of the Singing Shook Family approached me and introduced me to Pastor McCrary, who was in need of a “music man,” as they called the guy who would paint, clean, visit and haul the other PCBBC students to church every service. I was his guy. So he hired me “full-time” and paid me $200 per month to drive 45 minutes each way on the SoCal freeways 7 times a week. Never-the-less, it was my first “full-time” ministry.

Since that first ministry gig, the Lord has allowed me to serve Him in the following churches over the past 34 years:

Foothills Bible Baptist, now Victory Baptist, Montrose, CO

El Centro Baptist Tabernacle, now Grace Baptist, El Centro, CA

Lighthouse Baptist, Cortez, CO

Ellicott Baptist, Ellicott, CO

Fellowship Baptist, Lincoln, NE

Gentle Shepherd Baptist, Lincoln, NE

Averyville Baptist, E. Peoria, IL

Good Shepherd Baptist, Mooresville, IN

“Full-time” ministry for me has included: Pastor, assistant pastor, associate pastor, School administrator, principal, vice-principal, teacher, coach, camp director, bus director, music director, youth director, visitation director, church planter, evangelist, police and fire chaplain and college professor. I have been blessed to serve as 2 time state chairman of the Nebraska Baptist Bible Fellowship and National Director of the BBFI.

I have been blessed to know and minister with thousands of good Christian brothers and sisters across the country and around the world. Our travels have taken us to 46 US states, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Israel and Italy. We have started, or helped start 8 churches.

I must say that I have never been happier or more fulfilled in ministry than these past 15 years with Gentle Shepherd Baptist Church, right here in my home town of Lincoln, NE. It is a wonderful church full of some of God’s choicest people. “Missions” is the chief thrust of this fantastic little church. We are thrilled that almost 800 people have made professions of faith in Christ though our church during this time span.

I am blessed to have the full support of a great family. Each one is integral to our ministry. I was so thrilled to see my son last night, not yet 15 years old, teaching and leading a large group of teen boys. My little 10 year old girl is blessed with musical talent and blesses our church with her ministry in music. My wife does the work and ministry of several people and excels in her work for the Lord.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for a great ride these past 34 years. Thank you for my family and all the wonderful people you have placed in my life and ministry. Thanks for the great church in which to serve. Please allow me to continue strong and healthy in your ministry and to finish well.

Post Script: Why would a person “do ministry” for that long?

1. I doubt I could do much of anything else

2. It is what I am supposed to do, that’s why it is referred to as a calling.

3. God is faithful, how could I be anything else in return?

4. I love it!

When I told my dad, I am going into the ministry, he growled, “It won’t last long!” Nothing like a little reverse psychology for motivation. :<)


Lynn said...

Congratulations! Happy to be on the journey with you! You are loved by many, especially me!

PT said...

You are a blessing as an "Overseer" in the Kingdom of God. The Lord bless you with many more years of proclaiming Jesus' name!!

Matthew Tooman

Teresa said...

You forgot to mention blog writer! I consider it a ministry. At least it can be.

Mark Kiser said...

Congratulations! It has been said that next to a worn out Bible is usually a well-worn life. It will be worth it all when we see Jesus. The longer we serve Him the sweeter He grows. Heaven will surely be worth it all! Blessings to you, your family and your ministry at Gentle Shepherd and qhwerever He opens the door.

Mark Kiser said...

Congratulations! The longer we serve Him the sweeter He grows. Heaven will surely be worth it all. Blessings on you, your family, and your ministry!