Reflections on 25 Years of Ministry

 

On Sunday, March 27, my home church youth minister, Doug King, celebrates twenty-five years in ministry at Beaver Dam Baptist Church.

I was privileged, as a child/youth, to have the same church staff for my entire time I attended my home church. The Pastor, Glenn Armstrong, retired on his 40th anniversary. The Music Minister, John Cashion is in his 28th year and now Doug is celebrating 25.

Their longevity in service has given me some lofty goals as I serve in my fourteenth year in ministry (almost six of those full-time).

1.  Be unified.  Over the years, I am sure there was some conflict at BDBC.  But, because of the unified staff, I never heard of it.  I’ve heard it said that any conflict – in unity – is minor.  But, vice versa, any conflict in distress, is major.  Over time, the church grew, built an activities center, and birthed many new ministries during the 23 years as a staff together.  Let’s face it, in the modern church, staff doesn’t stay together for many years at a time.  Much less, even senior pastors only stay for a short period of time on average.  So, the lesson learned from this is: be united in the main Biblical roots (including worship).  Be united in the support of each other through public comments and personal prayer.  When there is personal conflict, quench it immediately by going straight to the other party.  And finally, be united for a love for God, the congregation, and the church.  God’s calling is not a suggestion.  My Pastor has taught me, when God calls you, approach it like you will stay for a lifetime, and if God leads you on, approach the next position in the same way.  The more unity you have as a staff, the more you have as a church.

2. Be joyful.  There are very few times if any, where I remember the staff not enjoying the congregation they served with.  It was a joy to serve along with Doug and John and they served the Lord with gladness.  Their joy for the Lord and His people was contagious.  The joy carried over into the worship, Bible studies and activities (church-wide and youth related).  Doug helped to bridge the generational gap through activities like baseball trips, music concerts, and through activities at the Christian Activities Center.  Plus, if you can’t have joy in the ministry, where can you have it? Doug was also the youngest on the staff, so the church was covered with a staff who connected with every age group in it’s congregation.  John organized many non-music related functions and programming.  They planned well and played well.  The playful banter I have with my pastor and youth minister come from Doug and John.  It is good for the church to see you laugh and enjoy yourself in church and worship.  The attitude of the staff (good, bad, or ugly) carries over into the congregation.  There is a time to laugh…

3.  Be dedicated. 25 years…TWENTY-FIVE YEARS.  Seriously, the dedication speaks for itself.  The commitment to the call speaks for itself. Similar to a marriage, there are “ups and downs” while serving in the church.  You have small issues that arise seemingly on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. There are occasional “major” issues that involve you and your ministry.  But, if your perspective is on the long haul, it comes across in how you handle those situations.  If your walk with the Lord is daily, it will come across in how you handle conflict.  To be dedicated as a minister, you must love God, be humble, follow God, be humble, and dwell in His Word…also be humble.  Moreover, you must be dedicated to God and his calling, next be dedicated to the family He has given you and then be dedicated to the church and it’s people.  Thank you, BDBC staff, for seeking God, serving God, and sharing God.

There are thousands of people who have been affected by the long-term staff of Glenn Armstrong, John Cashion, and Doug King.  One-time youth group members now have kids of their own in  the music ministry and youth ministry of John and Doug.  They have inspired many (including yours truly) to seek God’s call into the ministry.  They have followed the call and made disciples…my one-time ministers have developed into my mentors and partners in ministry.  I pray one day to influence one person a small percentage of the way the BDBC staff have influenced me since singing in my first children’s choir musical in 1986…also 25 years ago…

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