Tuesday, July 01, 2008

My Apostle Paul

It seems that every preacher can look back to a time early in their ministry when God brought them a mentor to teach them, guide them and protect them. For example, in Scripture the young pastor named Timothy had the Apostle Paul as his mentor. The same is true for me. Early in my beginning years of my ministry God graciously hooked me up with a mentor by the name of Pastor Steve Peters (sorry, this is the only picture of Steve I could find on-line) Pastor Steve was to me what the great Apostle Paul was to Timothy…a teacher, a guide and a protector.

I first met Steve after my freshman year of college. While I was away at Liberty, my parents moved from the only home I knew in Akron, Ohio to Hagerstown, MD were they begin their ministry as house parents at a boy’s home. They started attending Maranatha Brethren Church which was part of the Grace Brethren Fellowship. I had never heard of Grace Brethren before and associated any church with the word “Brethren” in it as being liberal. As a result, I refused to go to church with my parents and instead went to the little Baptist church down the street. At that time, Pastor Steve was the Youth Pastor at Maranatha and had himself graduated from Liberty (in fact he got saved while a student at Liberty). Steve came to visit me and told me that he was taking his teens on a ministry trip and could use another preacher. I wasn’t turning down opportunities to preach, so I went. In the end I grew to greatly love and admire Pastor Steve.

During my sophomore year in college Steve moved and became the Sr Pastor at the Community Grace Brethren Church in West Milton, OH. The church was without a youth pastor at the time so Steve asked me to spend the summer after my sophomore year of college as his summer intern youth pastor. I did the same thing after my junior year as well. In all honesty, I think Steve held the full-time position open for me until I had graduated. After graduating and getting married (Steve also came to my wedding all the way out in Colorado) I moved to West Milton and became Steve’s Youth Pastor for 6 years. Following that I spent 2 years as Steve’s Assistant Pastor in adult ministry.

Those were wonderful and formative years for me. Most everything I learned about pastoring and local church ministry I learned by watching Pastor Steve. The best parts of those 8 years at the West Milton church were the countless hours that I spent sitting in Steve’s office picking his brain about life and ministry or just chewing the fat. Man, I loved those times. I could write a book about all that I learned from my mentor but the two things that have stuck with me the most over the years are these two phrases:

“If you’re going to err, err on the side of grace!”

“We are free to do anything but sin in order to see people come to know Jesus!”

I’m not sure if I will ever have the chance again to sit in Pastor Steve’s office and just chew the fat, but I will always be thankful for the time that he invested in teaching me and protecting me. After all, every young pastor needs an Apostle Paul. I sure did!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I have a question for the webmaster/admin here at folkslisten.blogspot.com.

Can I use some of the information from this post right above if I provide a link back to your website?