Oh the Places I've Gone

Yesterday as Kay and I were reflecting on the special moment celebrating my ordination that we had in worship this week, we began to have a conversation about all of the wonderful, unexpected places that ministry takes us, all of the things ministry allows us to do, and all of the people that ministry introduces us to that we never would have met otherwise.  

One thing I am consistently guilty of is not taking enough time to reflect on those things.  Sometimes I get too caught up in what's next and I don't take enough time to be thankful for where I've been.  And ministry has given me some incredible experiences and introduced me to some incredible people.  Sometimes, ministry will keep bringing people back into your life story.  For example, my parents were married in 1979 by Rev. David Lehmkuhl at the Dunellen United Methodist Church.  Rev. Lehmkuhl was in his first appointment, part-time, and still in seminary.  Eventually, he got ordained and moved on to bigger, full-time churches.  My family began attending worship at the United Methodist Church in Somerville and that is where I was baptized.  33 years later, their son (me) was going to seminary and becoming a candidate for ordination.  When it came time for me to be given a mentor, I was given the pastor who was then serving the United Methodist Church in Somerville, Rev. David Lehmkuhl!  Yes, the same Rev. Lehmkuhl was now serving in the church I was baptized in, married my parents, became my mentor, officiated my wedding to Sherrie, and this year stood with me at my ordination.  

Ministry has taken me to some very interesting places and has given me some very interesting experiences along the way.  I spent 2 weeks in West Virginia learning about Appalachian culture, faith and worship.  I attended a private event in a suite at the Prudential Center at a New Jersey Devils game as they were looking for input about starting a faith and family night.  I have had the privilege of officiating weddings in 3 different states, including officiating my sister's wedding in Disney World.  I have been blessed to baptize babies, toddlers, children, teenagers and adults.  I have been a part of many Vacation Bible Schools.  I have seen youth groups started from scratch, and I have served churches in five different communities.  

In all of this, I met people.  I met people in West Virginia who taught me that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.  I never would have met them if it weren't for ministry and may never have learned that lesson.  I met disciples of Christ in five different communities (Berkeley Heights, Warren, Phillipsburg, Vincentown and now Absecon).  I never would have met them otherwise.  In those meetings, I have met people who were a part of our wedding, a part of our battle with infertility, a part of my grandfather's funeral and now a part of our miracle boy's growing up.  It is astounding to think about all of the people I would have never met if I didn't answer God's call to ministry.  I am so thankful to have met you.  

The devotions we have been reading on Fridays have been amazing.  People have been telling us their stories.  And that made me realize that I hadn't really reflected on my own story.  So, this is a small part of my story.  What's your story?  I would love to hear it!  Let's take this opportunity to reflect on where God has taken us and who God has introduced us to through the work of the  church.  And of course, let's commit to go where God is asking us to go and meet the people who are there.  Amen!

Reverend Dave

1 Comment

Lisbeth Lebens - October 6th, 2021 at 6:59pm

Love and miss my guy and his family!





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