Some Thoughts on longevity in the Ministry

            I was talking with my mom the other day discussing the teens we currently have in our youth department.  It reminded me how thankful I am that we’ve been at this church for almost 13 years now.  Many youth pastors are only at churches for a couple of years, at most, statistically.  This really is sad.  I say this, because we have been blessed by our longevity. 
            We’ve now been here long enough to look back on our time here as eras.  The eras are, mostly, categorized by certain people that stood out in our minds at that time.  For example, we had one era that we refer to as the years of the “Es”.  We had four or five girls whose names ended with the long  “E” sound like Jenny, or Julie.  Some eras we look back on fondly and others, well, we’re thankful to have survived.  Some other eras are categorized by a general personality of the group.  Some were really into sports and others maybe music or something else.
            I was recently blessed when I started a list of those who’ve moved on to have served the Lord with their lives.  Contrary to what some kids would like to think, we aren’t only pleased with those that go to Bible college and on into full time ministry.  We’re equally as pleased with those that go into secular careers, but still serve the Lord with their lives wherever they are. 
            One of our daughters was recently in a wedding of a young woman who has been particularly special to me.  She is now a nurse, but has kept in contact through college and into the start of her career.  She and I would have coffee after she’d return from a medical missions trip or maybe just when she came to town.  I was able to watch and pray for her as she had her hopes dashed and heart broken.  However, I was also there to witness God bring the perfect man for her into her life.  She’d waited for him and tried to serve God consistently as she waited.  I almost felt like one of my own kids was getting married as I teared up….ok sobbed at her wedding.  What a blessing that she chose our family to be a part.
             Another blessing has come through a young man who went on after Bible college to be a traveling evangelist.  We get updates weekly from him of the great work he is doing for Christ.  He’s been all over the US and is currently in Asia.  The work just sounds so exciting and what a wonderful feeling to know we had a small part in his life as he grew up.
            This same evangelist has a brother who is not in full time ministry, but has stayed faithful to God throughout secular college and now into his career.  We were really humbled when he was considering marriage to his wife.  He shared with us that our own marriage was an example to him of what he wanted.  He and his wife are now happily married and well into careers.  It’s warming to hear from them as they serve the Lord together in their church.
            I honestly could go on and on with others here.  I’ve already written about the couple who gave us our car.  Of course, we’ve also had many break our hearts.  But, it’s those that have stayed faithful and made their relationship with Christ their very own, that energize us to stay faithful.
            It’s not that we’d never move if we felt God calling. Or that those that are called away early in ministry are wrong or something.  It’s just been a blessing, to us, that God has allowed us the longevity here. 
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