WATCH DRURY WRITE A BOOK. – THIS IS A TEMPORARY POST Writer’s first draft of a book to be published by The Wesleyan Publishing House. as an introduction to the ministry. This web-posted copy is an early draft of the manuscript and not intended to be used as a final document. While the editors will catch minor errors if you see something significantly wrong or missing drop Keith Drury a note at email@example.com © 2003 Keith Drury
Seeing your life through the rear view mirror.
If you determine to “go for the long haul” in your ministry, it is very likely you’ll come to the end of your life having served 50—even more–years in the ministry. Imagine yourself now an old woman or man—say about 78 years old. You will probably be retired by then (though you might still preach a sermon from time to time at nearby churches when the pastor is on vacation). You’ll most likely be a very happy old person. And wise too. People will come to you to ask your advice from time to time. Your neighbors in the retirement community where you live will call you “pastor” or “reverend” when they greet you on your walk each morning. Younger folk in your church (middle aged folk actually) will come to you for advice. They’ll ask you to tell them about how it was “back at the turn of the century.” They’ll love your telling them how you used to use a giant computer that weighed more than a pound and you actually had to input information with your fingers.
for a moment that your lifelong spouse and you are sitting in the living room
tonight. The sun has just set but your
eyes have adjusted and you still haven’t turned on any lights. It’s a sweet time. You softly chat about your life together, and
especially your ministry. By then you
will have served in seven or eight churches.
Like other people recall the cars they’ve owned, you’ll recall
churches—one by one. There will be
laughter, chuckling, and an occasional tear in your eyes. Why?
Because you’ll mostly talk about people. The greatest joy (and the greatest trial) in
your ministry will have been people. You won’t be talking much about the youth
center you got constructed back in 2010.
And you’ll not spend too much time recalling the booming numerical
growth of that church you pastored in your 40s.
You won’t even speak much about the gigantic “
remember Carol, that neighborhood
girl who started to your Sunday school at age 11, became a Christian and still
writes to you every Christmas. Carol leads the choir and teaches Children’s
You’ll talk about Angelina and how she came to you in your first youth group—rebellious, angry, and dead set against God. And you’ll retell the story—taking turns tossing in portions of the story—of how God changed Angelina’s life and how she decided to go to a Christian college even though nobody in her family had ever even graduated from high school. You’ll have lost contact with Angelina by now, but you’ll stop in the dark quietness of your living room and pray for her tonight, wherever she is.
You’ll remember Hank and Mary Anne and how their marriage was on the rocks when they called you—When was it dear?—Oh yes, long after that night. You’ll retell the story of how you worked with them, prayed with them, counseled them and they “decided to try it one more time.” You’ll talk about how Hank became a solid steady layman in that church and how Mary Anne took over the entire worship ministries for the next decade. What a joy to remember hank and Mary Anne.
wonder where Jacob, Tim, Patty, Sue,
and Sharon are now. You’ll tell stories about each in the
darkness now—how God transformed their lives when you were ministering with God
in that church. There will be others you
can’t remember any more—“What was the name of that guy that came to that
“Easter techno-pageant” back in the
30’s—the one who took us out to dinner?”
Neither of you will be able to recall his name. But you’ll remember his story—how he went
Your spouse will doze off as you tell one particularly long story. You’ll glance that way and chuckle but not stop. You’ll quietly lower your voice and tell the rest of the story anyway—to yourself. And to God. You’ll start to doze off yourself and smile softly then say, almost under your breath, “Thank you, Lord… Thank you Lord for calling us to the ministry—it’s been a wonderful life.”
Spending your life in the ministry is the single most fulfilling way to invest the years God gives you. If God has given you the privilege of a call, by all means take Him up on the offer! It is a wonderful way to spend your active years… and a wonderful life to look back on from the end of life!