For the first part of Steve’s story, click the “Pastor’s Blog” link under “Categories” at the lower right of your screen and see the March 1 entry.

Since elementary school, I had heard about the older kids going to “CHIC” and though I didn’t know what it was, I knew they returned from it changed.  We heard stories in church about it, and when my sister went in ’84, I knew my turn to go was coming.  So, in the summer of ’88, my friends and I boarded a bus in Farmington Hills, MI and headed for the University of Colorado for CHIC.  This youth conference drew a few thousand high school students from Covenant churches all over the world for a week of worship, fun, lessons and time together.

Arriving at the school, my friends were all paired up as roommates, but with an odd number, I wound up with Mike, the “odd one” from another church.  We got along, might even have become friends, but I was still not with my friends.  And for the rest of the week, that was my experience.  My friends headed for a seminar I wasn’t interested in, so I went to another.  Free times were sometimes spent wandering the grounds alone.  It seemed my CHIC experience was ruined.

But in those wanderings, in attending sessions which taught me what I wanted (or what God needed me to learn?), I met with God in ways I hadn’t before, though I couldn’t have said that at the time.  In the bus ride home, at 2am driving across Nebraska, watching thunderstorms rage in the distance, I reflected and thought about the week.

We arrived home late on Saturday night, and my folks wanted to know all about it, so the night got later.  But being Larson’s we were still up for church the next morning!  And sitting in the church service that next day, I received God’s call to ministry.  During the prayer, just an average, ordinary pastoral prayer, God spoke to me and told me that His plan was that I be a minster in His church.  I was a bit stunned, figuring a call like this was supposed to come at CHIC, not at my boring old home church.  Driving home with my dad that morning (Mom was working to pay for college for my sister and me), he noticed me troubled and asked about it.  “I think I have to be a pastor,” I told him with no enthusiasm whatsoever.  And without missing a beat, my dad replied, “Then, Steve, you be the best pastor you can be.”  And that was that.  The next 9 years were training for ministry, and the rest were the long, slow walk with God through this world we call Pastoral Ministry.

God doesn’t always call us when we’re ready, or when we think He should.  So this Lent, as you’re fasting, praying, reflecting, always keep listening.  You never know what He might say to you, or when.

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