My life as a pastor is more than just a second career. It is actually depending on how you count my third or fourth career. I have stated on many occasions that sometimes I ask the question of God, “How come it took you so long to lead me to be a pastor?” God’s answer on those occasions has been, “You were not ready until now.” My long journey to become a pastor began much earlier than what I recognized as the leading of God.
As a young person I was raised Roman Catholic. I was an altar boy, took my first communion, was confirmed and Reba and I were married in the Catholic Church. Our two children Branden and Michelle were baptized in the Catholic Church. During my early 30’s I made a difficult decision yet one that I treasure today as I moved from the Roman Catholic Church to becoming a Methodist. I will have more to say about our move from the Catholic Church to Methodism in my messages in the weeks and months ahead.
As a young child I attended and hung out at the YMCA and its resident camp. When in high school I decided to become a YMCA director and attended Grand Valley State University and majored in sociology. My first full-time position after college was working for the YMCA in Grand Rapids as a Youth/ Physical Director. From my start in Grand Rapids I moved to the YMCA in Indianapolis, back to Grand Rapids, and then to Traverse City. Following 20 years of being associated with the YMCA I took a position with Valvoline Oil Company in management. Because of that work experience I was able to own my own oil change and car wash. It was during that time that I had a dual career in owning a business and becoming a United Methodist Pastor having a quarter time charge at Olivet United Methodist Church. Eight years ago I decided to follow God’s calling and move from a part-time pastor role to full-time and was appointed to the Fennville/Pearl Parish as their pastor.
On my journey walking with God there have been many important people including Reba. Reba has been very patient with me as she recognized my calling to become a pastor long before I would ever acknowledge it. The St. Paul’s United Methodist Congregation and the Emmaus community were also very instrumental and supportive as I did my exploration to become a Local Pastor.
My calling as a pastor has been a true blessing to me. God had led me over the years and given me a number of spiritual gifts and a wealth of experience that has enabled me to be a pastor to many. For this I am blessed and grateful. I am looking forward to being your pastor at the Claybanks United Methodist Church. It is my prayer that we will be in ministry together as we, “Make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”