Reflections on Thirty Years of Ministry

May 23, 2011

On May 24, 1981, I graduated from Midwestern Baptist College. That August, at the ripe old age of twenty-one, I started in full-time Christian ministry. It is the only vocation I have had for thirty years.

Looking back over those thirty years in the ministry I realize that I had much to learn as a twenty-one year old who was just beginning to preach. Thirty years later, I realize that I still have much to learn.

I have found that the Word of God is sufficient to guide us. We need nothing other than Scripture. I don’t need signs or promptings or a small still voice. I hear God speak to me in the Bible.

I love books. You should read good books. But we should read the Bible more.

I have found that man-made rules will neither change lives nor hearts. The Word of God will do both.

I have learned that one sermon will not change your life. Change is a slow process, but you cannot overestimate the cumulative affect of hearing the word preached week after week.

I have learned that I don’t know everything. Sadly, that has been a hard one to learn. Raising three kids helped teach me that. I believe children are God’s gifts for the purpose of humbling us.

I have learned that people who disagree with me aren’t necessarily bad people. They may simply disagree with me. It isn’t always personal. I have also learned that sometimes it is.

I can’t believe that after thirty years, I am still striving to overcome my self-righteousness. Grace is so much better than law. I am not worthy to be pastor. Nor I am adequate.

I have learned that pastoring the same church for over thirteen years is a blessing from God. I don’t know how the church feels though. Pastoring is also at times very frustrating and heart breaking.

I have learned that I never should stop learning.

Soli Deo Gloria!


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