On June 17th I will be celebrating 38 years as an ordained minister! Wow!
When I look back on that day in 1984, yes that does age me, I can still hear
my preaching professor, Rev. Dr. Ron Allen, who preached the ordination sermon
that day, say that there would be days I would get a phone call in the
middle of the night asking, Pastor, can you come? And sure enough there
were those calls. Not all of them have occurred in the wee hours of the
night, and yet sometimes they come when I least expect them.
I remember, when I was in my church in Auburn, Indiana, I received a call
that one of our young adults, Craig, (21) was involved in an industrial accident.
He worked in a metal plating company. Someone had used bleach to
clean out the tank and it mixed with the chemical in the tank to create a
toxic gas. The other four young men in the bottom of the tank cleaning died.
Craig tried to reach down to save them from the top, trying to pull them out
but soon he too was overcome by the gases. He was alive long enough to become
an organ donor.
I think about little Danzen, who at 7 drown at Possum Kingdom and how the
members of Park Place jumped into action to be with his mother and family.
We were up all night praying, hugging and crying with each other….or the
time we got the call that David died in a car crash and how the church once
again sprung into action to rally behind the York family…..and how just two
short years later the church came to rally behind me when my family lost my
niece Amanda in a single car crash just before her 19th birthday.
I remember so many saints who have touched my life throughout these
years. Many have gone on to be part of the great clous of witnesses...and I
miss them all so much!
Seminary never prepared any of us for a pandemic! Who knew that we would
need a class on how to maneuver church through such crazy times as these.
Yet I have had some amazing experiences in ministry….the missions we’ve
tackled and the lives who have come to know Jesus through baptisms and
confessions...and I’m so touched that in my 38 years, two people have gone
into the ministry, Penny and T.J...and I have looked on as a proud parent.
Now, as we look into the future, we are seeing changes and challenges continue...
but then again, isn’t that’s part of it? We are about to open an autism
clinic and move into phase 2 of our playground and so much more. What
a ride it has been….I can’t wait to see what’ God has in store for us next!