Sunday...Mary and I attended the fiftieth birthday celebration of a church where I served as their first youth pastor forty-nine years ago. Great fun. Great time. Old people. [But boy was it fun hugging necks of people I hadn't seen in decades.]
Monday...I drove to Amarillo Texas to be with an eighty-five year old VTM [Vital Truth Ministries ..my non-profit ministry organization] board member who was having life-threatening hip surgery complicated by his cancer. [It went well and He's praising the Lord afterwards just as he was before. He does that all the time.]
Tuesday...I'm reading on blogs of pastors who are having problems. Some of those problems are created by the people they have been called to pastor and some are created by the pastors themselves. [Both kinds of problems have been present in my own life and ministry.]
So...I'm a bit reflective.
My first reflective thought is of my own PURPOSE in surrendering to preach in the first place. [That's a good old SBC phrase that has little to do with scripture if the truth be known.] At age seventeen I was called as pastor of my first small church. [It was a couple of years later I went to the above mentioned church as youth pastor.] With the short two-year stint in youth work completed, I began pastoring again and it continued for over forty years.
The odd thing was I wanted to travel from the beginning. My purpose was to be in local fellowships preaching whatever I was discovering from scripture. I didn't know what it was called [An itinerant ministry] and I didn't know anyone who did that except Billy Graham. He was my personal friend of course. [Just kidding.] But I was willing to take a pastorate for a short while. [It lasted over forty years.]
In 1996 my pastoral ministry ended for good and I did start my traveling thing which I will do til Jesus comes. I can say I loved every minute of my pastoring and miss it like I would miss a migraine headache. Pastors are my ministry heroes to this very day.
My second reflective thought is concerning an on-going PASSION of mine. That is to assist people in ministry in their personal life with the Lord, marriages, parenting skills and all this so they can THEN be what God intends in pastoral ministry. Who they are in their walk, marriage and family is more important than what they do in a church in my opinion.
So training pastors started for real in 1982 in Tulsa where I was pastoring and my organization [VTM] was formed. Today, I continue that in conjuction with my local church bible conference ministry as my full-time ministry. The thing I surrendered to do fifty years ago. [I needed some major preparation didn't I!!]
So..today...in churches across the country I train small groups of ministers during bible conferences where I preach at night while meeting with ministers in the day. I teach the ministers on being the peson, partner, and parent God intends them to be so they can really be the pastor God has called them to be. At night I teach the church [I'm an evangelist to the evangelized] on how to end well in our walk with the Lord and how to build relationhips with each other by sharing principles of relationships. [I'm having a ball doing it.]
My final reflective thought is about the PEOPLE who have helped along the way. My board of directors is special. It is made up of ten couples with two coming from each of my last five pastorates. It started with the guys [The gals just visited with one another off in some room somewhere.] doing all the work of ministry with me. But with a much better understanding of the biblical materials it has now expanded to all twenty people forming the working board with equal voting rights. [It's amazing how much more we get done and done right.]These people, with one exception because of death, have been with me since the beginning.  The gentleman who had surgery yesterday was the first chairman of the board. Being with him and his wife has created a bit of this reflective mood in me today. [My oh my, people is what it's all about isn't it!!]
Let me introduce them to you....
Bill and Janie Willard--Borger Texas
Joe and Linda Janeway--Borger Texas
Bobby and Margie Brown--Wichita Falls Texas
Hershel and Pat Walker--Wichita Falls Texas
Bill and Mazie Pannell--Fort Worth Texas
Billie and Jere Hardy--Forth Worth Texas
Mark and Stephanie Farquhar--Tulsa Oklahoma
Tony and Melody Lenox--Tulsa Oklahoma [new]
Chuck and Stella Andrews--Norman Olahoma
Bob and Carolyn Waddle--Norman Oklahoma
This is what my ministry is about. I'm grateful for it. If you'll notice it has wound up Purpose, Passion, People. [That'll preach.] I've had a reflective moment and am even more grateful afterward. I decided to put up that reflection. [Blog material is hard to come by you know. :)]