I was trying to recall the first time I can remember listening to my dad preach. The first visual picture I have of it is when we lived in San Diego. Maybe I was in children’s church before that I am not sure but I just can’t picture it until then. Previously, we had been in Texas and Fillmore, California. My dad has been a senior pastor my whole life. He was my first pastor and my favorite pastor until I myself married a pastor. He’s still in the top 5 though! In a little over a week my dad will not be retiring from ministry because I don’t think people in full-time ministry ever really retire, but he will be retiring from being a senior pastor. I am excited for this new chapter in my parent’s lives and I am so interested to see how the Lord continues to use them but it is also so strange to me because I have never known him to do anything else. We’ve known for several months that my dad was going to retire so being a woman, now a mom of two, and just more emotional as I age, I have been reminiscing more and more over his years of ministry. I have fun memories like the time my dad all the sudden was up front singing a duet and I really had no idea he could sing. Also, the time he told an embarrassing story about me from the pulpit and I made him promise to never to do that again. I was about to enter junior high when that happened so you can imagine how I felt. I thought my world was over. He has stuck to that agreement as far as I know! I have also been thinking about what I appreciate about my dad’s ministry. I am thankful for his clear and accurate teaching of God’s Word. I think like him so I am blessed by his teaching and I love the fact that you never walk away thinking now what was that all about? You always know something new or are challenged to grow. I am also grateful for his character. He is honest, gracious and sober-minded. Most of all he is a man of integrity. I have seen his integrity played out in various ways throughout the years in good and bad situations. He has never wavered. I have also been thinking about the hard times our family has endured together in ministry. Every family goes through trials it’s just when you are a pastor’s family you usually go through some trials in ministry. These trials are usually public and can leave you heart broken or if you are not careful, angry. My dad has always been our strong leader in the midst of these trials. He has been our leader because he has always been our example. The only thing that angers him in times like this is if God and His Word are being dishonored. He does not allow circumstances or people to dictate his emotions. He is supremely gracious and ready to forgive anyone at any time. I really believe that our family has grown to be so close because of being in ministry together for all of these years. Through the good and the challenging times the Lord has given us each other to look to. Ministry was always done as a family, as a team, growing up and I think it is only a testament to my dad doing things right that my sister and I also married pastors because we wanted to continue to serve in the church in this particular role.
I am glad I have had opportunities to think of all the Lord has done through my dad’s simple desire to do the will of God. My dad has been faithful to go where God has called him to serve and I know he will continue to be faithful. It is the air he breathes and the food he eats to do the will of his Heavenly Father.
I am so proud of you dad! I am so thankful for all that you have done for me and for the people who have sat under your leadership and teaching.