Today is my 42nd birthday, which means I am two years past the date when I said I would re-evaluate whether to remain a professor or look to shepherd a church.
I always planned on being a pastor, ever since I was a junior in high school. So I earned a pre-seminary degree in college, taught English for two years in China, and then went to seminary. I was about to graduate with my MDiv when Jim Grier told me that I should develop my gifts further in a doctoral program.
I had never considered a Ph.D. before, but since Jim pretty much speaks for God (though with a slightly larger vocabulary), I knew I had to do it. During the first year of my doctoral studies Joe Crawford offered me the chance to teach a class on medieval theology. I did such a great job that I inspired one of the students, Todd Tremlin, to become a professor. I believe his exact words were, “If someone like Mike can do this, then so can I!” Well, you’re welcome, Dr. Tremlin.
Since teaching opportunities are less plentiful than pastorates, I told myself that I would try this first and then reassess when I turned 40. As I said, I’m two years overdue.
I’d like to hear from you who are pastors. What do you enjoy most about your vocation? What is the best thing about being a pastor? Do you ever wish that you were a professor?
If you’re interested, I’m spending the entire day at home in uninterrupted study—there’s a professorial perk, and then Julie is going to make me an Indian dinner from scratch. Tomorrow the whole family is going out for dim sum, which leaves me only a Thai lunch short of the Asian trifecta. Life is good.