I don’t know if I’ve ever started off a blog post with a riddle. But, there’s always a first. Solve this riddle – Never ahead, ever behind, yet flying swiftly past; for a child, I last forever; for an adult, I’m gone too fast. What am I? The answer? Time. This seems especially true as Vickie and I celebrate 45 years of ministry this month. Where have these 45 years gone?

The previous post The Journey Part 1 covered the launching of our ministry as children’s evangelists in June 1979 and provided a few highlights of that decade of ministry. If there is a Part 1, it must be evident that Part 2 would follow, right?

The next phase of our journey actually began in December 1987 while we were still traveling as children’s evangelists. Unbeknownst to us, God was working in the background, preparing for a major transition in our ministry – leaving behind the days of ministering as children’s evangelists to step into being children’s pastors. Through an invitation to minister with Ralph and Shirley Hagemeier in what was then called Zaire, Africa for three weeks, God connected us with Pastors Tom and Mary Ann Peters from Trinity Church International in Lake Worth, Florida. The ministry in Africa was powerful but God had an ulterior reason for this ministry trip. While paragraphs could be shared about God’s work in bringing this to pass, I’ll suffice it to say that in August 1989, it became official. Our days of being children’s evangelists were over. We were now children’s pastors.

For the next 25 years, Vickie and I had the privilege of working in an awesome church overseeing every aspect of their children’s ministry. As the church continued to grow, we had the opportunity to have some 1,200 children under our ministry and an incredible staff of volunteers to minister alongside us. In addition to the three services each weekend, we had the privilege of disciplining boys and girls through the Junior Bible Quiz ministry and our mid-week Bible clubs (Royal Rangers and Mpact Girls Ministries). Scattered throughout the year were activities including Gross Out Saturdays, Phat Sats (this isn’t a branch of Weight Watchers), Kid’s Camps, Royal Ranger Pow Wows (this was a gift of love because I am not an outdoor camper kind of guy), Jamborees (campout for the younger boys), Mpact Girls Ministries Powettes (three-day campouts for the girls), Disney Quest trips, Mpact Girls Ministries sleepovers…I know that there is so much more but my brain is getting tired just thinking about our calendar in those days.

There is so, so much more that I could share about God’s goodness to and through us as we served the Lord and Trinity Church International’s families. Salvations, water baptisms, Holy Spirit baptisms, discipleship..all blessed by God. And, I can’t write about this part of our journey without mentioning that it was during this time that God blessed us with our third son Aaron.

Perhaps nothing can tell of the eternal significance of this part of our ministry journey better than this story. One Saturday, Vickie and I had one of our Phat Sat events. On this morning, we took two busloads of children down to Boca Raton to an indoor family-fun entertainment center and then back to Lake Worth for a couple of hours of swim time at a local community pool. It was at the pool that I experienced something that forever impacted me. I remember swimming over toward a little girl who was possibly eight or nine years of age and telling her how much Vickie and I loved her and how beautiful she was. She was surprised. She said that no one had told her about how incredible she was. When I asked about her parents telling her, she replied, “Pastor Billy, my dad and mom are in prison. You are like my dad.” My heart melted. It was God’s way of reminding me of the importance of what Vickie and I were doing every week. I was thankful that God allowed us to be children’s pastors, especially her children’s pastors.

Next post – Holy Spirit Revivalists.