02 May A Conversation with Pastor Steve
What was it like growing up in Pastor/Professor
“It was normal to me. I just figured that everyone’s father studied a lot and loved (reading) books. Due to Dad’s occupation, there wasn’t much money. But that was normal
to me as well. I didn’t realize until later that we were rather poor. I just figured that Dad was tight!”
Tell me more about your dad. How did he come to faith?
“I’m not sure exactly. He was just inclined as a young man to serve the Lord. When he was in Guam he was an airplane mechanic. He didn’t hang around soldiers who caroused and lived that kind of a lifestyle. His friends were those who shared the faith. In fact, although there wasn’t an atmosphere on base where religion was cultivated, Dad was able to get his commanding officer to provide a building for worship.”
How were you called into ministry?
“I was called into ministry during my junior year in high school. My call to ministry was more of a process than an event – some people have that critical moment when God speaks to them at the altar or as a result of an evangelist or missionary’s ministry. That wasn’t the way it was for me. I was processing my faith and what I believe (“Do I believe what I believe, or do I believe what I believe because my parents believe it?”). It was during this time that I came to the conviction that God was calling me into the ministry.
What was the most outstanding “pastoral” moment that comes to mind?
“Without a doubt the special times around the altar. The most prominent memory that comes to mind is at the altar at Trinity in West Chester. A man named Scott was literally pounding on the floor while at the altar. I went over to him and said, ‘Scott – is everything alright?’ Scott looks up and says, ‘I’m free – I’m free.’ I didn’t know that he had been struggling with an addiction. That night he was delivered. What’s more is that to the best of my knowledge – he lived it out.”
How about the worst moment?
“I think that I’ve shared it so many times most people will know…there was a guy who protested me by carrying a cross around the perimeter of the parking lot of our church.”
How did that situation resolve?
“I was encouraged by some to dismiss him from the church. But he had a teenage daughter that would have been deeply affected by that, so I just prayed that the Lord would take care of it. Although he had threatened to never leave the church, within a few weeks he left and never came back.”
Do you have a dream for PennDel after you retire?
“Early on in my role as Superintendent, I had a picture in my mind (a “vision” if you will) of the water level rising, and hoping that all the ships (our churches) would rise with it. I believe that the dream that God has for our Network goes far beyond me. I have been a small part of it, but that “dream” involves reaching the people of our district, our country, and the world for that matter. I think of the scripture that says, “…when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep…(Acts 13:36, NIV).” I don’t plan on dying soon, but I feel that I’ve served God’s purpose for the time I’ve been superintendent.”
“The dream I have is that the water will keep rising, and that all of our churches will rise with it.”