I have spent most of my 44 years making intricate and highly-detailed plans for what my life will be. Think Excel Spreadsheet or Venn Diagram. All the while, I’m certain that God has been quietly watching, and chuckling. God named me and claimed me before I was even born and his call upon my life is stronger than any plan I have ever concocted.
So, after years of misunderstanding and flat out ignoring God’s call to serve his church in ordained ministry, I have claimed it as my own.
This is my story … so far.
When I arrived at Albion College as a freshman in the fall of 1990, I knew I felt called by God to a life of service, but I didn’t know what that meant. My understanding of public service went as far as ministry or the law, the only two paths of which I was aware.
The Gerald Ford Institute for Public Service opened my eyes by introducing me to the wide array of careers that are possible for people who truly desire to serve. I was exposed, for the first time, to opportunities in government and politics and I was hooked. It felt like a meaningful way to combine my interest in public policy with my call.
I will never regret my decision to pursue this path. It’s been a fascinating journey. I’ve worked on political campaigns across the country and with local and state elected officials … and even with the President of the United States. It’s easy to become jaded in this work, but after more than 20 years in the field I still believe that public service is a noble calling that holds the power to transform our world. It blessed me with endless opportunities to live my faith through service to those who were hurting, lost or broken.
As interesting and challenging as the work was – even at the times when I felt the most connected to my faith – I also felt hollow. I tried to feed my soul through volunteer work and leadership positions, including lay pastoring, within my church. Eventually, that hollowness grew to the point that I could no longer ignore it.
So, here I am … having acknowledged and accepted that I was not serving God in the way I truly believe I have been called to serve, as a local church pastor. I may never understand why God chose me for this role, but I am willing to set my doubts aside and trust in God’s wisdom and grace.
I am thrilled that Bishop Bard has asked me return to Albion. It feels like coming home … to a community that nurtured a young kid with big dreams … to a community that still believes in caring for neighbor … to a community where God is at work. See you in July!