My family moved to Kentucky from Indiana. When at age 8, a lady across the street put me on a visitation list at her local church. Soon afterward, two young guys came by and shared the gospel with my family. I became a Christian.
I began attending that same church every time it opened its doors. I went by myself, as my parents never took faith very seriously. We moved multiple times but I continued to go to church on my own. It was many a new town where I looked in the phone book, called a local church and asked if they had a bus to pick me up.
During high school a friend asked me to visit his church and later go to church camp. Camp had an amazing effect on me. When we got back I instituted Bible studies at our high school and the junior high school, that I led in the mornings on alternate days. It was during this time I began preaching, even speaking at age 16 at a jail during a visit from our church camp.
At 18 I entered Bible college and immediately began preaching and doing youth ministry in various churches near Cincinnati in the early 90's.
After a few years, I left college and attempted to enter "normal life" working in my home town. Professional ministry seemed to have very little to do with the church of the New Testament, so I decided it was not for me. God though, still seemed to have a calling for my life and because my co workers kept telling me "you should be a preacher" I looked into it again.
At that time, a local church was looking for a preacher so I took their interim position as they searched. I was actually offered the position, but I declined (though I did stay). As an associate I helped them reach a stable size.
So with their encouragement I finally took a full time position with a church. After a short time the attendance doubled and we were able to add a youth minister and a music leader. On paper it appeared very successful but this ministry possessed deep seeded divisions. Looking back, I didn't have the experience to handle the rapid growth and the generational factions within the church.
So next I took a "break" and began a house church. Those who attended claimed they grew more in that time than the decades spent in their former traditional churches. It was a great experience. There was no staff, no sermonizing, no bands or technology, just a handful of people that began filling houses on a weekly basis. We had children through seniors worshiping in our services, youth Bible studies at the mall food court, and baptisms at the lake. Never before or since have I ever felt like more of an evangelist than those days, but alas, I had to move away as money for a growing family became paramount!
Next we moved to Ohio to help a church that had only a few core families. After some growth and our first baptism the small churched doubled in attendance. A youth group was formed and we were getting out into the community. During this time, I developed a poor sleeping condition that required me to get warmer and loose some weight. This led to ministry in the South working with the Apache Nation as a Bible Teacher. This has been very rewarding, but at times I feel the pull of working with the local church. We shall see!