Let me express, "I haven’t been moved" Remember the song "I shall not be moved?" We’ve sung that song for years. I never contemplated a thought that I would ever withdraw faraway from what I was doing in ministry. When. reading my life’s experiences one might think, "Charles, why are you still desiring to continue in ministry?" The answer is rather simple. In every place where the Lord has allowed me to serve Him in a ministry, it’s been for Him, and about His glory..
Only since moving to Portsmouth have I even contemplated the thought that I have had enough. Yet while thinking that, I continue to believe that if the Lord will give me a call to serve Him, I would welcome the opportunity.
This idea of "serving Him" is so implanted in our thinking as fundamental Baptists. So much so that we believe it’s the most important deed in our life. And when we are not serving the Lord in our calling, we believe we are out of the will of God.
Therefore, our mindset is to get into a church ministry. And if you are not currently in a ministry you feel like you look like a fireman without his uniform on, going to a fire. When you go to a pastor’s fellowship meeting, or if you attend a church service it’s on your mind. You are inundated with the thought, "I should be peaching or teaching this morning rather than just sitting in this church pew".
You are ever seeking the right place and in the right way to serve the Lord. And you always think that the Lord will put you in the right place to serve Him. When you get an invitation to come and work in a church ministry, be on a church staff,. you are "on cloud nine". The joy that comes over you is better than when the New York Yankees win the World Series. Which they might do in 2006!
It’s so overwhelming when you are hired on the pastoral staff, that you do not even think about the pay, the work load, where you are going to live, what you wife thinks, the condition of the church, all that at the time doesn’t matter.
You are willing to work for nothing, live in a house that is almost unliveable, have your wife upset. The church is in a real spiritual disaster, the town is literally run down, and the people in the church have just seen five preachers quit or fired. And just the last Sunday before you came, the attendance was twelve. The church building is in a mess, it could be there is no running water. It could be the building has five different kinds of pews in the building.
You are certainly willing, if you drive on to the parking lot of the church, and see a tremendous building that covers almost a block. You see a dome building that is going to be the youth ministry’s building. And you are going to get a immense salary. That will get your blood flowing. Or you see a new building being built that will seat 400. You are ready to win the world to Christ in the next year.
Then you are just as determined to drive fifty miles one way to preach on Sunday Morning. You need to preach. It doesn’t matter that you are going to be paid $50.00 just to get to preach on Sunday. Even if it’s a Southern Baptist Church.
You just don’t have good comprehension when it comes to "doing ministry." You lose all perspective-- you go brain dead. "What have I got myself and family into?" Here I am on this 250 Acres of land on this camp ground. What could possibly go wrong.
"Shoot" (as the lady on the TV com says) "Shoot" this is the greatest time of your life, you are even willing to work another job, just to get to preach and pastor a church. You are even willing to be a housekeeper in a nursing home for twelve years to preach and teach. (I would do it again)
You arrive in town after driving 1000 miles, your car has no heat, and the brakes are gone, and you have a few dollars in your pocket. But you are still upbeat. Your wife is so bewildered. You just see serving God as the main thing. You meet the Pastor, and he tells you, "I am sorry but we can’t pay you as we said, and I am planning to leave as soon as I can get another church."
We have driven a 1000 miles several times in this journey to places to serve. You don’t see the past, you don’t see the negative. Are we crazy or what? Don’t ask Charity.
You begin to feel like a football player on Sunday, or Monday. You get concussion when you are hit so hard that it knocks you out. You are hit every time you get the ball and start running down the field. You get carried off the field. But while you are being carried off the field, you are thinking, when will I be able to play again. You go to rehab. Come to think of it, I need rehab..
I do wish I had been like my friend C. L. Fuqua who has pastored one church over 40 years and still is at the church. I wish I was like Jerry Falwell who has pastored TRBC for 50 years. Or Troy Todd or Roy Maple who have pastored their church for nearly forty years. I envy these great men, but for some reason, its was not to be. ( I could have been at FBC now for twenty six years, but I left) Maybe a lack of spiritual brain power, or something
Morten Anderson, who is 46, said, "They were to take blood out of me, and dust came out of me" after being out of football for three years. Football kicker for the Atlanta Falcons 2006.
That illustrates what I think is going to happen when I finally get a call to try out to pastor a church.
But that is still there: "I am still waiting for that call."
But I now have a different perspective on this idea of service.