What jobs did you work in your growing up summers? I worked in a steel mill. It was dirty, dangerous and vintage Pittsburgh. But it surely helped fund my first few years of college! I look fondly on those first 20 years of my life in southwest PA. That strange dialect. (“yinz”, n’at). The food (Primanti’s, Glen’s Custard). The sports. The hills. The rivers.
And I was highly churched. Not just Sunday mornings, but Sunday nights and Wednesday night prayer meetings. Whenever the church had a thing, my sister and I were there with my mom and dad. My faith was not my own – it was simply an expectation. Not that it was all eye rolling and groan inducing. It was sweet and communal and simple. It was in that church I learned how to sing and pray and lead. Mostly I was believed in.
It was in my first few years of college I had my initial epiphany about life and destiny. My destiny. The details I’ll share over coffee if you’d like. I was pretty sick, lost and confused. It was in that moment, alone, I met God. I guess that’s how to describe it. I determined to make a go of faith on my own terms. Then lightening struck. In the Fellowship Hall of our church, over punch and cake, a travelling preacher (never met him before) approached me, stuck a finger in my chest (I can still “feel” it) and said “you are called to be a pastor”. And because I was still a little lost and desperate for direction I said “yes” to it. I Left University of Pittsburgh and entered Bible School and then seminary. The rest is my long and winding history of pastoral ministry in 3 states over 42 years. From the city of Chicago to New England to a long life in Central Indiana, I have preached, married and buried people.
On May 31st of 2020, in the middle of a pandemic, I hung up my collar. Not really. I never had a collar. Evangelicals didn’t have the cool gear of Episcopalians. But I did retire. Sort of.
Those 42 years were wondrous and awful. More, over coffee perhaps. But they did two big things to me and in me.
First, those years gave rise to a deeper, fuller personal destiny. My calling evolved from youth worker to pastor to senior pastor to leadership developer and finally to what feels like the final iteration…destiny coach. Hence this blog and Destinyworks, LLC.
There was one more thing my four decades of pastoring did to me. They turned me into a reverent agnostic. That’ll be for another day.