In Five Years

Five years in one place.  I began my life as the pastor of Cottage Grove Baptist Church on June 6, 2004.  If the church keeps us another week, I will have been here for five years.  It has been my honor to be named among the 40 other pastors who have served Cottage Grove.   Five years doesn’t sound significant when you consider our church is over 150 years old, but the last five years have impacted my family significantly.

The past five years have impacted me as a pastor.  I have spent the last five years pursuing the same goal day after day, which is “Preach the Word and Love the People”.   In five years God has led me to deliver over 500 sermons (2 per Sunday).  In five years I have counseled (in formal and informal sessions) with hundreds of people.  In those counseling sessions I have witnessed marriages fall apart, and have seen many healed.  I have seen addicts lay their addictions on the alter, and have listened to some tell me what I want to hear only to return to their masters.  In five years I have seen some lives ablaze for God, and witnessed others burn out.  In five years I have seen a church grow, decline, and grow again in a community that is slowly deteriorating.   In five years I have watched the church remodel and upgrade technology in the sanctuary.  In five years I have visited the lonely, the sick, the dying, the prisoner, and the widow.  In five years I have seen God remove obstacles to His plan for our church (sometimes my plans have been that obstacle).  In five years I have conducted and overseen many weddings and funerals.  In five years I watched as babies became kindergartners,  first graders became middle schoolers, 9th graders became graduates, and graduates became adults.  In five years I have seen mechanics become missionaries.  In five years I watched as our church increased missional giving and going exponentially.  In five years I have seen the fellowship of the church threatened, and the fellowship of the church strengthened.  In five years I have seen individual church members become our evangelism program.  In five years I have seen seekers become disciples, and disciples mature in their understanding of God and the mission.  In five years there have been times when I prayed for God to deliver me from here, only to turn around and pray for Him to help me stay.  In five years God has shown me that I have much to learn, and little ability without Him.

The last five years have impacted me personally.  In five years my wife and I have gone from our early 30’s to the downhill side of 30.  In five years my family has expanded from six to eight.   This community and this church is the only home  three of my children have ever known.  In five years three of my children have been saved and then baptized at Cottage Grove Baptist Church.  In five years my children have all made friends and have become connected to this community.  In five years Robin and I have grown to love the people and the community in a way that I could have never  imagined.

I don’t know what the future holds for us but one thing is sure. . . the last five make me look forward to the next five.

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Published in: on June 1, 2009 at 3:15 am  Comments (5)  

5 Comments

  1. Amen!

  2. An inspiring post! Some of the conventional wisdom I’ve read is that many pastors experience significant challenge in year 4 and significant fruit in years 7-10. Sadly, many leave in years 2-4. God bless your ministry on the “Rural Route!”

    • Thank you Brian. It is hard to get much accomplished in 2-4 years even when the people are willing. It took a few years before I even realized what direction to head.

  3. In 5 years you have given leadership that could only come from God. Thanks for walking closely with Him so that others may follow. Continue to serve and love through Christ. Thanks for your friendship and love for the rural church.

  4. Great post Mike! Wishing you many more years of the same.


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