Wednesday, February 8, 2012

35 Years

Don, Ruth, and Stephanie
Recently, our family celebrated a huge milestone.  January 30th, 2012, marked the 35th anniversary of my dad becoming pastor at the Lima Pilgrim Holiness Church.  Although I wasn't with them on that first Sunday morning in January of 1977 (it was something like -28 degrees, so they left me with my grandparents in Cincinnati), my life has been shaped and impacted by the acceptance of that little congregation and the subsequent members and friends who have associated themselves with our ministry. 
Each pastor has his own personality and style of leadership, and God has varying designs for pastors and churches regarding time lines for service.  A 35+ year ministry isn't the norm, in fact, it is a rare occurrence.  Some would argue that a pastor loses his effectiveness after a much shorter period of time.  Others would say that a person must either be a pushover or a dictator to be able to maintain working relationships with a congregation and a church board for 35 years. 
On the other hand, I love to be able to share with people the secret to this lengthy partnership, and it involves three entities:  a pastor and his wife who are dedicated, submissive, teachable, selfless, and committed; a church board/membership who are supportive, forgiving, dedicated, teachable, and solid; a God in Heaven who brings people together, binds their hearts toward a common cause, and gives victory over, and over, and over again! 
I wouldn't trade my heritage for anything in the world.  I've seen both the joys and the sorrows that come along with a life spent in ministry, and the value that I have gained from them is of immeasurable worth to me. 
And, wow, does 35 years ever do a number on us!

Don, Ruth, and Stephanie
-January 29, 2012-


  1. A beautiful tribute to your parents and their church family, Stephanie. Such fun to see the two pictures, too.

  2. Great post! I, too, lived with and/or worked with my parents through most of their 30 years of pastoring one church. What a great experience to see God's grace outpoured on and exemplified in His people. I know "long-term" is not for everybody, nor every place; but it's neat to see on occasion.


Thanks for joining the conversation!