I accepted Jesus’ invitation to follow him after Sunday School about three months before my fifth birthday. Although I was a firm believer throughout my youth, it wasn’t until I was twenty-one and serving in the Air Force that I took ownership of that faith, largely through the personal investment of a discipler with The Navigators, Mark Stoda. Since then my faith journey has included a number of times when I have questioned or doubted God, but each time he has proved faithful and I have learned to know him a little more deeply.
Growing up in a ministry home—my parents joined Campus Crusade for Christ when I was two—the question of whether I would follow into ministry was never far away. I first gave that serious thought while in the Air Force; and later during college, I worked in the University Ministry of my church and sensed the first inkling of a call into full-time ministry in 1990. I was licensed in 1992 and explored some ministry opportunities over the next few years, but began working in the financial industry and spent the next fifteen years in that field.
I was always active in the church—as an Adult Sunday School teacher, Business Committee member, and on the Church Board—and in 2004, with a growing burden for church health, my wife and I sensed God leading us to move out of the financial industry and begin taking steps toward full-time pastoral ministry. The first step was the biggest: a thousand-mile move to Portland to attend seminary. Our three years in there compelled us to a growing and not always comfortable trust in God. They were years of financial, emotional, and spiritual struggle, complete with dashed hopes and nine months of unemployment. Yet God remained faithful.
Our move to Cold Springs Community Church in 2009 was a direct and immediate answer to prayer, as well as the confirmation of a call that had first been heard nearly twenty years earlier. It has been an amazing place to serve and to learn, to both experience and extend grace, and to grow as a pastor.
In 2014, two very different circumstances converged to draw my family away from that great place of ministry. The first was a sense that God was calling me out to a new season of ministry as either a Lead Pastor, or a senior leader in a larger church. The second was the discovery of a brain tumor in my wife’s younger sister.
With those two motivations, we left Cold Springs, moved to be with and help care for my sister-in-law’s family, and search for where God would place us next. I have continued to minister through occasional pulpit fill, small groups, mentoring engaged couples, and writing and speaking.
Throughout these unplanned delays, I remain certain that God has called me to Pastor—a call that has been affirmed by my former Lead Pastor and mentor, several other senior pastors, denominational executives, professors, and mentors who know both me and ministry.