After almost 8 years at college (a few extra years because I was told I needed to stay and find a HAC bride or not be right with God), I began my first ministry job – still single. I felt like a missionary moving to Louisiana – everything seemed so foreign. They even called Pepsi “coke”.
I spent 9 years of ministry in Baton Rouge. I was a third grade teacher (great year and students) for one year and then taught jr. and sr. high for several years. I especially love teaching the junior high Bible classes!! I had the great opportunity of being the junior high youth pastor too!!
My heart was in the right place, but I wish I could redo some of the damage I did during those first years of ministry. I remember preaching messages that probably offended rather than challenge. I actually even remember pin-pointing students who attended a southern Baptist church and preaching against their church. Stupid!!!
(Side Note: From 2003-2008, I was a full-time youth pastor in a southern Baptist church. LOL)
To those whom I may have hurt, I apologize. I really wanted what was best for you and your future but really had it all screwed up!! So, what changed my mind and my direction? What was the big decision and how has it impacted me?
After serving at CHBC for several years, our pastor decided to make some big changes in how we did things around the church. We became more “purpose driven” and focused on the lost. Things changed: the music, the instruments, the messages, the focus, etc. The youth pastor (who was instrumental in bringing me to the church and getting my first ministry job) decided that the change was too much and started his own church in town. Many people followed. I was left in a dilemma.
Do I stay at the church amidst the changes and do I even agree with them?? Do I move with the others and stick with what I learned as a young man at my home church and college?? Did I even know what to believe or why I believed it?? A crossroads – confusion – frustration – tears – journey – enlightenment – reality – faith – joy.
I asked my pastor for a short sabbatical and spent a night and day a few hours away with one specific goal in mind . . . figure out what Jesus would do. How did He minister? Who did He spend time with? How did he live His life? It seems so simple, but I wanted to be more like Christ . . . not the church . . . not my college . . . not like my friends . . not even like CHBC or my pastor BUT like my Savior!
Guess what? Jesus wasn’t predictable. He upset the religious and spent time with the “sinners”. He did things different. He did point His finger and preach but it was at the Pharisees who kept all the rules and thought they were better than everyone else. They even thought Christ had it all wrong and challenged Him! He loved and touched and healed and cried and prayed and changed the lives he came in contact with. I WANTED TO BE LIKE CHRIST and this meant the old ways needed to change.
I stepped away from the rules and regulations and found relationship and freedom and joy. Who would’ve known that several years later I would get so tired of the way the modern church did things, that I would step away from a church pay check to step out in faith and start my own church!? Well, I’m here and loving every part of it. WHY? Because I think I might be getting a little bit closer in doing ministry the way He did. And it feels great!!!
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