It occurred to me just this week, that I’ve officially been preaching for 25 years! I preached my first sermon at age 15 with my youth group, back when our family was stationed in Hawaii. I preached through the entire book of Revelation in about 15 minutes… and no, it wasn’t “good”. But someone gave their life to Christ in that service, and God did something inside of me through that. As I grew through high school and college, I was given dozens of opportunities to preach in chapels, give devotions, and many other opportunities few people my age were given.
I’ve now written and preached thousands of sermons, seen hundreds come to faith in Christ, baptized many of them, performed counseling, officiated weddings, buried loved ones, started churches, merged churches, served on staff under four other senior pastors, and ordained a small handful. I’ve been on over a dozen missions trips, watched young adults grow in their faith, start families, and add value to the Kingdom.
I’ve also seen terrible divorces, suicides, and breakdowns. Ministry has caused me an immense amount of stress, forcing me to wrestle with my own battle of anxiety and depression. I’ve been lied about, slandered, shamed for not supporting specific politicians. I’ve been betrayed, hurt, and marginalized at times.
I’ve failed – often and repeatedly. I’ve wrestled with guilt, short comings, and inadequacies. There’s a bizarre pressure in the ministry, because we are acutely aware of the gravity of our responsibilities, and the simultaneously the utter weaknesses we manage at times as well. We have to be bold and confident, full of faith. But we can’t get arrogant or narcissistic. I hold this office in the highest human regard… and yet I hold myself – the person in this office – in the utterly lowest regard. The imposter’s syndrome for us pastors is real!
But I’m writing this today, to say that I haven’t regretted a single day of following Jesus into the ministry. The pain, pressure, and politics could never outweigh the joy, security, and satisfaction that has come from the ministry. It is not for the faint hearted, but we need more people to answer the call of ministry, now more than ever. It will cost you everything… and it is absolutely worth it.
Thank you to all of you who have walked with me, served with me, listened to me, put up with me, and grew with me at so many important places along the way. Thank you, for letting me be your pastor. It has sincerely been my most humble honor and privilege.
Onward to 25 more years!