Ten years ago this May I graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary. It seems like yesterday that we moved across the country from Burbank, California to New Jersey. I drove a uhaul moving truck and my wife drove our car with our two small children at the time. It took about seven days and a whole lot of happy meals. The week we arrived, we moved into the student housing for families, and the following week I began a greek intensive course for six weeks.
When we left California, my wife had left a teaching job in Los Angeles and I was serving at a great church in Burbank as a youth director. I remember the first week of my Greek language class and the first quiz like it was yesterday. The grade I received wasn’t the greatest and F-rankly I thought, “What the heck have I done? I moved my family all the way across the country for three years of this?” Don’t get me wrong. I loved every moment. We loved Princeton as well as living on the east coast. We lived in a wonderful community and God has given us some wonderful memories and some wonderful friendships from my seminary days. We even we’re blessed to have our third child and yes seminary kicked my butt.
Ten years later I’m in my second call as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church. It’s been an amazing journey that I give God thanks for. Recently I’ve been talking about clergy burnout. I made a commitment this next year to look at my life, my health, as well as my faith and the roles I have as a husband, father, and pastor. Over the next few posts I was thinking that I might look at the top ten things I’ve learned over the last ten years of pastoral ministry and the things I would have done differently along the way. My hope is that if there is someone contemplating seminary or even entering the ministry that this might be of a small help in someones discernment process. The kind of process that could be life changing or one that could turn someones life upside down.