DURING MY SENIOR YEAR IN COLLEGE, I met several times with one of the legends in my denomination. This larger-than-life character pastored a large church, was a noted author, and had an extensive radio ministry. In awe of him, I consciously made him my role model for ministry and studied his work habits. I wanted to be as productive as he was.
On one occasion I asked how he had become effective in so many areas of ministry. He told me that it came with age and experience. His exact words were, "The longer you serve, the broader your ministry becomes. You can't afford to be a specialist when you serve in the emergency room of the soul." I determined then I was going to excel in everything, just as I thought he did.
When I was in my early thirties, I led a conference in the church of an older pastor who became my unintentional mentor. By this time in ministry, I was experiencing some frustration—too much to do and too little time to do it. At the conclusion of the conference, I asked the pastor ...1