20 Years of Ministry

I never really thought ordination would mean that much to me. I delayed being ordained for several years while I finished seminary and worked in youth ministry. I thought I would always work with students (and I did for another 15 years) and that I would never really leave Glendale (which I would in 18 months). 

In 1989 I was a seminary graduate, married with two year old twin boys. That spring my pastor Jack Chisholm discovered he had cancer, a tumor in his heart the size of an orange. It rocked me. I began to think of my future in church ministry. It made me ask hard questions. What security would I leave my family? Where will I be when I'm in my 50s or 60s?

My intern, Tom, told me about a church in Moraga whose pastor was his sister's youth pastor in Danville. The position was youth and family ministry and he thought I would be a good fit. I interviewed that summer and was offered the position Labor Day 1989. We left our friends and family and moved to Moraga, a small bedroom community of the East Bay, in January 1990. I was drawn by the opportunity to create with a lot of freedom, leading students to Christ and serving in an upper middle class community. I thought it would be a nice position for five years or so. We stayed 13.

God used those years to shape our family. We developed new friendships that were like family. We discovered our passion for ministry to students and families, bringing the love of Christ and his redeeming grace to the brokeness of their lives. We demonstrated the kingdom (though I didn't use those words) in tangible ways, building 200 homes for Mexican families and forever changing high schooler's lives through Spring Break trips. And I discerned (that makes four d's) a call to leave and lead a church in Solana Beach as senior pastor--that was seven years ago.

I put on my robe twenty years ago for the first time when I was ordained, April 1, 1990. Since then I have served communion, married a hundred couples, and baptized dozens of babies. It's a privilege to be an ordained pastor, to shepherd God's people. I'm glad God awakened me to the call. I'm glad I answered. 


  1. My life, my brother's life, and the lives of my children would all be very different if you hadn't answered the call. Thank you!

  2. I could not imagine my life if you had not answered that call. Sitting around a campfire in Mexico April of '92 you ask who wanted to invite Jesus into their heart....and I answered that call. You walked with me through the roughest time of my life, you & Amy opened your hearts and home to me, you baptized me, and best of all you were there to marry Bryan and I. You have impacted my life in so many ways and those memories stay close to my heart! Thank you for your faithful service to the Lord and all you continue to do.

  3. As a man of few words i will ditto everything that Hillary and Alison said. You have impacted my brother, my kids, my friends and me. You were the final link in the chain of events that God used to bring me to Himself and I am ever thankful for your dedication, honesty and integrity...oh, and thanks for the memorable picture :)

    -Luke Walker

  4. I'm glad you did too Mike - especially now that you are about to enter your 50s! I bet 50 seemed a long way off back then. I can't wait to hear about the next steps when you return from your sabbatical


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