Gotta say, There's just nothing else quite as intense, exciting and surprising as ministry!
The funny stories leave you gasping for air. The opportunities to encourage and challenge others have no equal. The tears with those suffering come unbidden.
I've had many different "jobs" in my lifetime but the work I do as a pastor is so much more fulfilling than any other.
For example, you'll never believe what my pastoral calling led to on Monday night.
At 7:55 p.m., I dialed a long distance number that put me on a conference line. As soon as I connected, the host said, "Welcome to the program!"
After a song and a short prayer time, the host introduced me to the "audience" as Shirley Holly. (We straightened that out later.) For the next forty-five minutes I shared my testimony with truck drivers from all over the country.
Yep, I "preached" into the darkness with no one to nod their head or respond in any way.
I used a text I've loved since childhood; told a couple of funny stories; shared a personal illustration; prayed for those listening; and brought it home for a landing at exactly the time they'd asked.
My greatest fear? Every preacher tends to put part of the congregation to sleep occasionally. I really hoped that wouldn't happen this time!
They asked a few questions at the end and even invited me back. One of the co-hosts looked up my blog while we were doing the show. (Obviously, he wasn't driving.)
It stretched me w.a.y. out of my comfort zone. But I'm so thankful I had the opportunity!
I've done my fair share of nursing home services, side-walk Sunday Schools and such. But the Trucker's Chapel reminded me of some of the other more unusual venues I've had for sharing the Good News.
The Drive-In Church probably tops the list. Frank and I sang and preached for them a couple of times many years ago.
The pastors did indeed say things like, "If you want to amen, just honk your horn!" "Don't forget to secure the speaker on your window." "If you haven't given your offering yet, just turn on your windshield wipers and the ushers will come by."
And when it was time for the congregants to respond to the call for prayer we heard, "Yes. I see those headlights!" Can't make this up!
I've spoken at chapel services on the beach.
Several hundred people carrying their own lawn chairs. Some sitting on beer coolers. A few with umbrellas.
We've experienced open air meetings in India. Aglow meetings in England. And we've even taught Vacation Bible School on a veranda in Greece.
The common denominator? No matter how unusual the venue, there were people quieting themselves because they wanted to hear an encouraging word from God.
I can't think of another job I would rather have than this one!