A Milestone (Sort of!)

Yesterday I began my fourth year at Our Savior’s. Not a big deal by most standards, but passing the three-year mark is kind of a big deal for me. I’ve been at two churches less than 3 years and leas than 3 1/2 years at four others. Only once have I stayed five years.

I will let you draw your own conclusions about my itinerant ministry and whether or not that is a good thing. I will tell you, however, that my wife and I sensed a very clear call by God to every place we have ministered over the past 30 years. On at least two occasions we second-guessed that call when the choice to leave was not ours. We have shared some exciting and memorable moments as servants of God in 5 states (MN, MO, MA, ID, WA). We have made some amazing friends, mentored and discipled some enthusiastic followers of Jesus, and provided pre-marital counseling for several couples. We have moved a lot and spent way too much money on moving supplies and home renovations, but we have become pretty savvy at buying and selling homes. We sold three homes by owner and bought two of those houses directly from the owners.

I have friends who have ministered in one place for 20 years. I have two  colleagues at this church who have been here more than 10 years (one of them has been here 18 years!).  On the one hand I regret that I will never hit the 20 year mark in one location.  At the age of 53 the best I could do now is probably 10-12 years . On the other hand, if we had not been to all of  these places we would not have met those friends from St Louis or  Massachusetts. We wouldn’t have witnessed the spiritual growth of youth and young adults ( including our own daughter)  in  Minnesota or Spokane. It has truly been a rich adventure in watching God direct our steps and faithfully provide for us when the future looked pretty bleak.

What do you think?

As a second chair leader have you been able to establish a long-term ministry? What advice would you give other second chair leaders in establishing a long-term ministry?

Do you think it is easier or harder for first-chair leaders to stay around longer?

2 thoughts on “A Milestone (Sort of!)

  1. secondchair Post author

    Tom, thanks for the kind words! Another 17 years would put me at 70. At this point I really don’t plan to ever retire but I also understand the need of a growing church to have younger staff members. It is rare that churches keep staff members around who are on the high-side of 65. I believe that these are exciting times for the church in general and for our church specifically. I’m excited to be in the game while God does some amazing things in his church and look forward to every year that he gives me to continue serving him.

  2. Tom Ireton

    Joe, I am glad you brought it up. I was unaware of your nomadic past. It sounds as though you and your family have been blessed in your travels. But now that I know about your predilection to move a lot I want to go on record to say I hope you will stay here at OSBC; what’s this about you know you will never make it twenty years at any one location? Will you ever really retire from the Lord’s work? Why not stay here for twenty? My hope is that you see yourself as God’s chosen servant, brought here at a time when He is going to greatly glorify His Name in and through our local church. If that happens it is going to be thrilling to witness and be part of. We need your servant-leadership; God isn’t finished with us yet.

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