Rev. Al Lewis

How I Became a Pastor.

During the winter of 1984 I was the Sales Manager for CN Express (less than carload movement of goods).   Along with the Terminal Manager, I was attending the Regina Transportation Club monthly luncheon.   The special speaker at that meeting was Father Lucien Larré a Roman Catholic priest who had founded Bosco Homes for troubled youth.  During his talk I began to think that perhaps there was more to life than talking to businesses about how to move their goods from point A to point B.   

This belief became more and more a focus in my life.  Among other people, I discussed this with my pastor, Pastor Don Koch, who mentioned that he thought I would be a good pastor and had I ever thought about going into the pastoral ministry.  Short answer, ‘Nope!’  But I did begin thinking about it.  At the same time, Elmer Mushmanski, another member of Grace, Regina was had made the decision to go the St. Catharines Seminary, so I knew this was a possibility.

One of my favourite chapters in all of Scripture is Exodus 3 where Moses argues with God about going back to Egypt to lead God’s people out of slavery and into the Promised Land.  Moses doesn’t hold a candle to me and the number of objections I had and the debates with God the ensured over the next few months.  You see, I really like my job as a Sales Manager and could see no reason why I couldn’t continue to serve God in that vocation.  To be honest I knew where God wanted me to go – I just wasn’t sure I wanted to go down that path.

It is amazing how God opens doors.  It had been years since I had been in a formal academic classroom.  My marks had never been near the top of the class and now I needed to enroll in University.  God made that possible (even when I didn’t think it would happen) and I began taking evening university classes at the University of Regina in the fall of 1984.

In the spring of 1986 I was offered a promotion which involved a transfer to Winnipeg MB.  It was a Friday afternoon when I took the phone call from the National Sales Manager.  Immediately I knew I needed to turn the offer down but how do you explain to someone that God was not leading you in a certain direction.  At that time we were debating Edmonton or St. Catharines.  Monday morning I called the National Sales Manager and turned down his offer.  His reply shocked me.  At that time there were two salesmen in Regina and they were cutting one position.  He would call me back.  Later that week he called and told me that there was a job open in Edmonton and if I didn’t take it I would be let go as they had offered the one Regina position to the other salesman.

Once again I saw God’s direction and answer to prayers as to which seminary I would be attending.  In the fall of 1986 I was moved to Edmonton and in January of 1987 began seminary classes by taking the Tuesday evening class.  Going through the enrollment process I was accepted into the mature student program and began full time studies in the fall of 1988, graduating spring 1992 at the age of 44.

As I look back over the past 21 years of pastoral ministry, and the years before that leading up to and going through seminary I can clearly see God’s hand working – opening and closing doors.   There have been many challenges to overcome, many up and downs, but what a rewarding vocation bringing God’s word into the lives of people no matter where they are in life.  And what a joy to see God working in the lives of people.  In reflection I can now see God working in my life during my time in the Navy, my years with CN and Route Canada.  The experience I had as a married man with three daughters.  All leading up to the time when He would use me as a pastor in His Church.  SDG.

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