I first began thinking about the possibility of being a parish Pastor at age 9. It is not so much that persons overly talked to me about being a Pastor, though I know that my parents and my grandparents prayed for me to be used by God, but that God used people and their lives to direct my own. When I shared with family that I felt led to be either a Pastor or a Teacher I was greatly supported.
There were two Pastors in my young life that The Lord used to lead me into the desire to be either a leader in the pulpit or the classroom.
Rev. Ralph Mayan the Pastor of my home congregation and Rev. Harold Haberstock an uncle who pastored a congregation in BC. I silently looked up to each of these men and God used them in their position of leadership as men of God to draw me to see that the pastorate might very well be my calling.
In my case I can only remember one person over the years did not encourage me. I feel so incredibly blessed for the support and encouragement that I received from family and friends. When it came to finances The Lord blessed me with assistance from parents, Central District grants and summer jobs to be able to pay for both my University studies (Education Degree) and my Seminary education (Master of Divinity). Because of all the support I received along the way there were very few times that I needed to use the Seminary pantry well stalked by the Seminary Guild.
The Lord prepared me for the ministry from youth by observing parents who did not see Worship or serving The Lord as optional or wearisome but as a joyous blessing. God placed me in an extended family that saw and openly expressed our Godly heritage and the truth of our calling as His children to serve The Lord with gladness.
My seminary experience was a blessing and an academic challenge. I made a decision to remain in Canada and attend our new and very tiny Western Seminary. The small seminary family was an incredible blessing to me. The opportunity to have such personal training and get to know brothers in Christ so closely was true joy.
Just before the last year of my pastoral training The Lord blessed me with the joy of marrying Barbara (nee Lehman) who used her gifts and talents to provide financially for us during my last year of studies.
As I contemplated the pursuit of this calling my greatest fears came somewhat in being a leader of people. I have ever only wanted to lead people closer to their Saviour and yet with being a leader the possibility, as a fallen sinful creature, comes to get in the way of what God is wanting to do in the lives of others. My continual prayer, even to date, is “Lord please erase me, help people to see you and not me.” I continue to address this concern by working in the area of leadership via continuing education.
Some of the greatest joys I’ve experienced in the ministry are being the hands and voice of The Lord, His messenger of peace and forgiveness for every Holy Baptism and serving of Holy Communion in over twenty years of service to my King. Also, having the opportunity to serve The Lord abroad as an LCC Missionary to the people of Lviv, Ukraine and area. The opportunity to share Jesus with persons who did not believe in their Saviour and to lead young believers closer to Him and then to assist them in joyfully and boldly sharing their faith ranks as one of the highlights of my life. And even now that highlight continues as daily I have a part in our School ministry which touches the lives of well over one hundred non-Christian students and their parents daily. God be praised!
If you are at all contemplating serving The Lord as one of His under-shepherds know this: it will be the greatest adventure of your life! You will be used of Him to strengthen His followers and call others to follow the only One who saves for now and eternity. God bless your future decisions and service of our King.