Where have I been?
For the last 42 years I have served the Lord in whatever manner He allowed. I have served as a youth minister, general associate minister, specialized family minister and preaching minister. Most of this has been serving full time in a local church context. However, for three and ½ years I served as a “Family Life Specialist” for a parachurch ministry, serving many different congregations, as well as public institutions such as schools, social work agencies and police departments. Along the way, I have served as a volunteer hospital chaplain and a volunteer police chaplain, volunteering as much as 20 hours a week while still serving in a local church context. While in Oregon, I became licensed as a professional counselor, overseeing both a church based counseling service, and providing supervision to others up to and after their licensure. I have also taught both college and graduate school in Christian Education, Family Ministry, Marriage and Family Therapy and Counseling Psychology.
For the last 16 years I have served as Senior Minister of North Orange Christian Church in Orange California. NOCC is an ethnically, socio-economically and age diverse congregation. During this time I was responsible for the majority of the preaching, with a balance of expository textual preaching, and topical sermons. In addition, I focused on teaching scripture—and how to study scripture—pastoral counseling, partnering with other churches and para-church ministries, mentoring, building spiritual health, and developing a strong outreach ministry to the poor and homeless in our community.
Personally, during this time I went from entering the empty nest phase of our family to having three married children with eleven grandchildren between them. In the last three and a half years I have grown through some extreme physical challenges. In December of 2014 I shattered my leg while commuting on a motorcycle. I had my leg rebuilt surgically, and learned to walk again. As a result of the surgery, a rare form of blood cancer was discovered, and in early 2016 I underwent Hematologic Stem Cell Transplant. This was an extremely difficult experience during which I came close to death on more than one occasion. After fighting the disease (and the treatment) for over a year I am now strong and doing so well my oncologist literally giggled during our last meeting. Through these physical battles the people and leaders of NOCC stood by us in an amazing way.
Since I first came to NOCC I have made it clear to the elders that my priority is the church, not me. Consequently, should they ever believe I no longer have the gifts needed by the church, I would immediately resign and insure as positive and smooth a transition as possible. In September, the elders made me aware that they now believed the church needed gifts in the Senior Minister role I do not have, and I submitted my resignation on September 30th, 2018.
Where am I going?
Our Lord has blessed me with an amazing variety of training and ministry opportunities over the last 44 years. Now I am in a position to use them in a variety of ways. I have a heart for the local church, having served her for 40 years, but I am open to using what the Lord has given me in whatever manner is most useful to Him. The Lord has given me the ability to teach His Word, and guide others through mentoring and counseling. My strengths are:
- Teaching the Word. My goal in teaching is not simply to explore and apply scripture, but to equip the body to study at an advanced level themselves—rather than “being fed”, to feed themselves.
- Pastoral Counseling. As a formerly licensed counselor, supervisor and adjunct professor, I have extensive experience in crisis counseling, marriage and family counseling and individual counseling. When I moved from Oregon to California I made the decision to not practice under a state license, but as a pastoral counselor focusing on understanding who we are before Christ, and the application of scriptural principles to the needs of the individual/family.
- Multi-ethnic and Socio-economically Diverse Ministry. At NOCC we are one of the most diverse congregations in one of the most diverse counties in the country. We are not one ethnic group or another—one culture or another. We are Christian, practicing the Culture of Christ. I am very comfortable working with men and women of all ages, from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, from the homeless to the wealthy, and with all levels of mental and psychological functioning.
- Spiritual Health, Growth and Discipleship. I emphasize personal discussion of what I call “The Essentials” (historically referred to as spiritual disciplines), helping individuals and couples assess where they are with these aspects of spiritual health, and develop practical plans to strengthen them in their lives. As a result of this we have seen immense growth in individuals involved in prayer, ministry, Bible study and giving.
- Leadership Mentoring. I have had the opportunity to mentor many leaders, both paid and volunteer, to help them grow spiritually, realize their own gifts and best serve the Lord.
Simply put, my goal is to find the best way to use these strengths and gifts to make disciples for Jesus. I am open to the Lord’s leading as to what specific role would best facilitate my ability to do this.