I remember as a teenager, within a year or so of coming to know Christ, I felt a strong sense of calling to serve Him. I didn’t know what that meant. I didn’t know exactly how it would work out. But I knew I was to give myself fully to Him.
I remember how I told the church I was part of. I shared with them this sense of call, and I was given the opportunity to speak on Sunday night. I told them, very emphatically, that I wasn’t sure what God wanted me to do but I knew it wasn’t to be a pastor. I would be willing to do a lot of things, but I just knew I would never be a preacher.
And I was good to my word for the next several years. In that time I would be a youth minister, I would be a Sunday school teacher, I would serve in a homeless ministry, I would work in Christian radio, I would lead worship, I would do lots of things. But I wasn’t a pastor.
In fact, I went to seminary after college, still resolute in my “anti-calling.” I graduated seminary and went to an Indian Reservation in North Dakota. But I wasn’t a preacher, a pastor; I was a missionary. After a couple of years there, and adding in some church planting work, I noticed something. I was getting up every Sunday morning and delivering messages from God’s Word. I was preaching. Oh, my goodness, I was a pastor.
Now, years later, I often look back on that and wonder if God took me all the way to North Dakota just to convince me that His will was indeed for me to be a pastor, just so He could bring me back here to Missouri to do what He wanted me to do. I don’t now for sure.
But I do know this. My identity, as I see it, is this. First, I am a child of God. Then I am a husband. Then I am a father. And then I am a pastor. And I couldn’t be happier.
Even though this is the one thing I said I would never do. Even though being a pastor is full of challenges and frustrations and irritations and struggles. Even though the world looks down at this calling, and even many in the church have come to do the same.
Still, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do that serve my church as its pastor and spend my time preaching the Word of God. What an amazing privilege. What an awe-inspiring responsibility. What a gift. Thank you, Lord, for letting me be a pastor.