I enrolled in Bible College in 1985 and dropped out in 1988 without a degree.
I spent those three years finding out how much I did not know. It turns out that it was quite a lot. We ran out of money and time so we moved on to volunteering to join a church planting team on the campus of a local university and that would change everything…
After 1988, I would spend the better part of the next 10 years preparing for my calling as a pastor and learning everything I could from my pastor and other mentors, reading every book I could get my hands on and volunteering for ministry. We served in our church in many capacities from teaching Sunday School to leading foreign outreaches. We joined the pastoral staff in 1991 and served as an associate pastor for the next 5 years. In 1996 an opportunity presented itself to plant a church and we took a leap of faith. Rachel and I had 15 years of marriage under our belt, three little children and she was pregnant with our fourth. We had very little money and an under developed church planting strategy. But we moved to a new city and risked everything to follow the call. This year marks 27 years as the founder and lead pastor of Journey. Those years of post drop out training (1988-1996) seemed like a huge mistake at the time but it turned out to be the best training that I ever received.
While I may be a college dropout I did earn a blue collar PhD. I came up with this nifty little acronym to describe my years of preparation for ministry. While I was busy discovering my individuality I stumbled upon my PURPOSE. learned the value of HARD WORK and treated life with DIGNITY. Here’s my PhD.
It turned out for me that that was the exact degree that I needed.
I want to mention some of the jobs that I held along the way that prepared me to serve the Lord and His church, taught me patience and skills that I would need and helped shape me into a man.
Top 10 dirty jobs I took while I was in training for my life’s mission from 1978 to 1998. There were more jobs than I can remember in those 20 years but these hold a special place in my life. I hated them the most but also learned more than I realized.
I’m thankful for each one.
My Top 10 Dirty Jobs:
Catching live chickens every morning at 2:00 AM in a chicken barn.
Building oilfield valves for pipelines.
Orderly in a local hospital.
Janitor at Bible College.
Attendant at a local funeral home.
Assistant manager at a fast food restaurant.
Roofer for a summer job.
Selling whole life insurance policies.
Stocking groceries over night.
Busboy in a restaurant.