I was raised by my Mom. My folks split up when I was 6. My dad died when I was 13. My Mom did a terrific job of giving my brother and I a healthy home environment while balancing being a single mom and working. She is one of the most caring people that I know and her compassion for others had a huge impact toward my becoming a pastor.
My favorite musical artists growing up included The Doobie Brothers, The Marshall Tucker Band, Chicago, Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot , and Linda Ronstadt. The first album I ever owned was Jim Croce’s Life and Times.
The first time that I told my wife that I loved her was in New Orleans on one of the Tulane University quads. I played guitar and sang her a Jim Croce song:” I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song”. She continued to date me even after hearing me sing.
My first car was a red Toyota Corolla named Lionel. I developed a habit from the very beginning of naming my cars. Good memories of Percy, Wilson, and on down the line to Edgar my Ford Edge truck that I have and love today. My theory was that if I treated them personally that they would treat me well. I have not been disappointed.
I have memorized at different times in my life 2 entire books from the New Testament: 1 John and 1 Peter. While I can’t recite them back now, the exercise of hiding God’s Word in my heart by committing to memory extended passages of Scripture has proved invaluable through the years. I highly recommend it as a spiritual discipline if you want to maximize your growth potential.
I was a member of a fraternity when I was In college – Sigma Alpha Epsilon. I was not really a fraternity kind of guy but since I went to a school knowing absolutely no one it was a good way to meet a lot of people quickly and have a place to belong. 30 years later I only stay in contact with 1 of my frat brothers.
I grew up in a little town called Aiken, SC and went (at the time) to the only public high school there: Aiken High School. Aiken was a wonderful place to grow up. I have such great memories of the 14 years I spent there and still stay in contact with a bunch of the people that I graduated with.
I picked up several hitch hikers when I was young but I have only tried to hitch hike one time myself. My buddy Wallace McNair and I were in southern France traveling after college graduation and we missed the last train out of Monte Carlo that would take us back to our hotel in Nice. We tried to snag a ride but no one would pick up two young hoodlums from America.
I roofed houses for 6 months after I graduated seminary. In the cold of winter (25degrees) and the heat of summer (90+ degrees). This helped me to hear from God as to what kind of ministry to pursue. Mostly I knew that I didn’t want to be a roofer. It also gave me a great appreciation for everyone who works in the construction industry. That is hard work.
I have been in pastoral ministry for 27 years (22 as a youth pastor). I have only been in 2 churches and have been blessed to serve under two great pastors. When people ask me how I have been able to be successful as a pastor I usually reply, “I stayed.” It is certainly not because of great giftedness – I have just hung around long enough to have an influence. Too many people in ministry don’t (in my humble opinion.)