1. Jesus (through the Church of the Nazarene) rescued our family. My alcoholic dad walked into an evening service at the Garden City Church of the Nazarene (later changed its name to Elmwood Church of the Nazarene) and the rest is history.
2. The little Nazarene church, as dysfunctional as it was, gave me a place to serve. As an 8th grader, I was teaching Sunday school to 2nd graders. (Granted I was the only teenager and they didn’t know what to do with me).
3. The Nazarene campgrounds in Howell– as kids we had fun and heard about Jesus. At the campground, I had my first “real” job (mowing Mrs. Buckley’s lawn doesn’t count). I washed dishes in the kitchen during camps as a 14-year-old).
4. My Olivet Nazarene University education. Loved every minute of it.
5. Met Karla while serving as a summer intern, at the Alanson Church of the Nazarene.
6. My Nazarene Theological Seminary education. (Worked as a janitor cleaning the Nazarene Publishing House for two of those years).
7. Getting married in the Nazarene church in Westland, officiated by Nazarene pastors, Mark Barnes of Plymouth and my brother, Fred, of Union Lake.
8. Serving in six Nazarene churches (five as solo/lead pastor). All great churches in their own unique way. Alanson, Bad Axe, Metropolitan (Roseville), Richfield (Otisville), Lenexa Central and Flint Central (all in Michigan except Lenexa, of course).
9. Having my boys grow up in Nazarene children’s ministries and youth ministries. Both attending NYC. Both graduating from Nazarene institutions. (Alex from Mid America Nazarene University; Ben from Olivet Nazarene University).
10. My parents and Karla’s dad’s funerals were in Nazarene churches (Plymouth and Reading, Michigan)..
The Church of the Nazarene has provided everything for me. Without the Church of the Nazarene, I would not be alive (my parents would have divorced before I was born). Since I quit working at the Thom McAn shoe store when I went off to Olivet as a 17-year-old freshman, every pay check I have received (except for my part-time stint at the Knox Presbyterian Church in seminary) has been from a Nazarene institution. I would never have met Karla. My boys wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have the friends and colleagues that I have known. From my beginning days and until my closing breath, the Church of the Nazarene has been in every vital happening in my life.
I love the Church of the Nazarene and am very thankful for her.