Several years ago, the senior pastor of a megachurch in the Philadelphia area introduced himself to me. He said he planned to retire in a few years and was looking to groom a young pastor to replace him. Was I interested? I was honored, but unsure if I was. Yet he persisted and eventually my wife and I moved from Colorado to Philadelphia to come on staff at his church. My job would be to start a new alternative ministry for young adults within the church. Meanwhile, he would train and mentor me with an eye toward having me succeed him.
During my first year on staff, I was asked to preach three or four times. I had never preached to 3,000 people before (not even to 300) but the response from the church was affirming. Then, due to some severe health issues the senior pastor was experiencing, I was asked to preach more regularly, often two to three Sundays per month. Many started to see me as the heir apparent. Although I enjoyed teaching, I was under immense pressure to succeed.
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