We are in a season of change at this stage in my life.
Yesterday, another hero announced his retirement from his ministry position. Pastor Clarence St. John has led our Minnesota Assemblies of God District for 28 years. When we came to our church nearly 19 years ago, Pastor St. John cleared the way for us. He has been clearing the way for hundreds of young ministers for decades.
We moved our young family to Minnesota with no promise of ministry. We had hope as we looked to re-enter ministry, but no promise. Pastor St. John, not knowing me at all, had reached out to me when we were living in Colorado and talked about churches and opportunities. I was coming out of a broken time in my life, God was healing our lives, and there was a stirring to re-enter ministry.
We moved to Minnesota nearly 20 years ago and Pastor St. John talked to me about a few urban areas where churches might need help. The church we ended up at was going through a rough time, and Pastor took a huge chance by doing things differently when it came to having pastors “candidate” at a church. He had us attend the church while the interim was still in place. We attended for a few months and felt this was where the Lord would have us.
When it came time to make the transition, Pastor St. John came in for a church meeting. He let the church know the brokenness I was coming from. He then said I was going to have a 13 week tryout and then they could vote on me. During that meeting he let people know if they had reservations about all of this, they needed to voice it then because he wasn’t going to hear any objections on Monday morning.
“Dan’s an adult. He can take what you have to say.”
I listened to mostly good that night. I took in a few harsh statements as well.
Then, I will never forget the words Pastor spoke to me in front of everyone. He looked straight at me and said, “Dan, if this church doesn’t vote you in, I will personally go with you to every open church in this district and find you a church that WILL take you.”
Thirteen weeks later I was voted in as pastor and have been there going on 19 years.
Every minister in Minnesota would most likely address Pastor St. John as “Pastor.” It is who he is.
It is hard to think of these times of transition. Heroes who have done so much in my life are moving in new directions. They will always model for me how to lead others.
I am so grateful for a true pastor in my life.