Christians are all called “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” This is not only the United Methodist mission statement but it is a command that Jesus gave his disciples in Matthew 18:18b-19 when he said…All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’” 

As a pastor, I see my role as both an administrator of the church and as a guide to help others become disciples and to grow into stronger disciples. The day-to-day administration work helps provide organization, communication, preparation, and structure to support our mission. Sunday sermons and Bible studies are tools I use as a pastor to help disciples grow closer to God. Outreach, visitation, and community service are other ways that I use to make disciples and help them grow in their relationship with God. These are the ways in which I live out our mission. Think about the ways you are supporting our mission and the ways God is using you to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” In what ways are you making disciples of Jesus Christ for the (positive) transformation of the world?

All Christians are disciple-makers because there are people looking at us and learning from our examples, whatever those examples may be. We can make disciples of bitterness, anger, frustration, and division. As we see increasing debates and complaints online and in print, we have witnessed a transformation in our world toward increasing discontent. As we have seen examples of violence multiply, we have witnessed a transformation in our world toward more crime. 

We can make positive transformation happen. We prove we are disciples of Jesus Christ by the ways in which we daily love, think, speak, and act as Jesus Christ. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we become disciple-makers of Jesus Christ. Those are the disciple-makers that will transform the world for the good.

Be a disciple-maker for Christ!

Pastor Don

Wearing My Call

Recently, I started wearing a clergy shirt and collar during the work day and when I serve in ministry settings outside of the office. Since this is no longer common among Protestant pastors, I thought it might be helpful to explain my reasoning to those who might wonder. The first thing I want to point out is that this practice is Protestant in origin and started with a pastor named, Rev. Donald McLeod from Scotland in the late 1800s. Though we share the same first name and heritage, those are not the reasons I follow the practice. 

The primary reason is for quick and clear communication of my pastoral role. This is particularly helpful during hospital visitations and emergency situations. While the St. Luke people know who and what I am, others in the community and those who may be attending a funeral may not know until I go forward to speak. The secondary reason is because I have lost 60 pounds in the last couple of years and I do not want to buy a bunch of new clothes.

It is my hope that by wearing the clergy shirt and collar, I may clearly present a pastoral presence in dark and difficult places to those who are in need of pastoral care. I will stand with those who need reassurance of God’s love. I will stand in protest against social and racial injustice. I will stand for our Wesleyan traditions of holiness, love, and grace in Jesus’ name. Though I am flawed, I am God’s. So, I will stand up, I will stand out, and I will reach out in Jesus’ name.

Pastor Don

My Call

My vocational calling is to the vocation of pastor. My calling to the vocation of pastor began at the age of five. It has been said that “(calling) begins as an idea or often triggered by an event..” (Chen). There were four events in my life that have drawn me back to a pastoral calling as my vocation of ministry. The first thing that triggered my calling was the desire to emulate my childhood pastor. It was through his ministry and at his invitation that I went forward to proclaim Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. It was because of my newfound connection to God as Father and Jesus as companion that I discovered the desire within to help others find the same connection.

The second event was when I first accepting an associate pastorate. My senior pastor and I had conflicts and I resigned. After that, I reevaluated my call by working at a series of other jobs.

The third event was the Walk to Emmaus. The combination of prayerful silence and listening to the Holy Spirit during the many talks, discussion groups and worship experiences over the weekend all worked together to draw me back to my first call to pastoral work. While working in my last church, my calling was confirmed through my passion and abilities in administration, counseling, preaching, worship leadership and administration. Unfortunately, I allowed the many cares of life to overwhelm me and my wife left me. The divorce devastated me and I resigned my pastoral position. This time, I pushed my calling aside and sought to make a living by other means. I ran away from the pastoral call by jumping into other work. However, the pain of losing my true place never left my heart.

The fourth and most recent event was while I was on a personal retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemane. It wasn’t until my retreat to Gethsemane that I finally felt I had overcome my past shame and guilt. Not only that, I realized God would use all the negative experiences of my past to help others (Chen).  I also felt the assurance that I was at the right place spiritually and mentally to undertake the long road toward ordination in the United Methodist Church. This assurance was confirmed through prayer, scripture reading pastoral counsel and the affirmation of former parishioners (Chen). Having sought fulfillment in nearly every other profession, I gladly return to my original call and happily live out the rest of my life as a pastor; whether for pay or not. It is my vocation for the rest of my days.


Reference: Chen, S. “The Nature of Calling” Asbury Theological Seminary. 02 Jan 2018. Lecture

*This is a section from a paper, entitled, “Call Paper” that I turned in January 13, 2018 as an assignment for Vocation To Ministry course, CD501-W1, taught by Dr. S. Chen at Asbury Theological Seminary