How have you seen God at work in your ministry since becoming a commissioned pastor?
The journey that I’ve been on since becoming a commissioned pastor has been one of deep transformation for me spiritually. I had no idea when God called me into this program, where this journey would lead and all of the things that I would be asked to do. Since I had already been the worship director at our church, my job as worship pastor didn’t change a whole lot, but preaching several times a year was added into my list of duties. I’ve never really been comfortable “up front,” but I trusted God that “when He calls, He also equips.” I have to say that it has gotten easier. I’ve also had the privilege of leading communion services at the adult care center across the street from our church. This has been a rich and rewarding experience as elderly people from all different denominational backgrounds with varying degrees of mental and physical capacity come together for communion. I had the beautiful experience of baptizing my god son’s child and wife in Lake Michigan one Sunday afternoon. I keep a laminated copy of the baptismal form on the boat now, just in case. I also officiated at my first funeral a few weeks ago. My 27-year-old niece took her own life and, since the family wasn’t closely affiliated with a church, they asked me to do the service. I discovered in a miraculous way how powerful God really is throughout the details of that time with family, and although it was a very difficult time, God came through for all of us and we were blessed.
How did your commissioned pastor training (including the mentoring and ministry experience you received in your home church) prepare you for the work God has you doing today?
My training as a commissioned pastor was great—I loved the luxury of “going back to school” and learning and sharing with others in the program. Mark Veldt, Wayne Brouwer, and Tom Jasperse were wonderfully gifted and I learned so much from them. My preaching class was inadequate, however my mentor here at Community Reformed has been a huge help to me. Not only is he a gifted preacher, but he cares deeply about my preaching and has been a huge help in that area. When I had to do the funeral that I spoke of earlier, he came in on a Friday to help me as I prepared to do the impossible. My teacher’s in the commissioned pastor program inspired me and educated me; my own pastor is here to encourage the day to day aspects of my job.
What words of wisdom would you give to someone who is discerning a possible call to commissioned pastor ministry?
If God has called you into this program, go ahead and take a class or two, but saying “yes” to God when you enter the program is only the beginning. It’s never easy, but the rewards you receive as you continually say “yes” to Him will change your life.