Restore Outreach Ministries


Not Better. Just Different.

I have been a minister over half of my life. I was called to the ministry at the age of 17 – ministry is all I know. I have learned to teach, preach, sing, and lead worship at one place all of my life – Bible Center Cathedral. There I had such labels as Youth Pastor, Worship Leader, Assistant Minister, and Recovery Pastor- at one point I assisted new members to assimilate into their new church. For nearly 19 years I was on the ministerial staff.
It was at Bible Center that I met my wife when we were just teenagers. We have been married for almost 25 years. Our children, Landon and Kendall have only known the comfort of one church and one group of caring people.

I could truly say that our family has been blessed by God and many great people have spoken into our lives. People we have prayed with, cried with, laughed with, and have tremendous memories with. A small paragraph can never do justice to the experiences we have gained.

Most who know me understand that I don’t embrace some title of minister and put myself on ‘cruise control’ until Jesus comes back. God began to agitate me several years ago. Truly I had no idea to where I should place this discontentment. If you have never been in that place it is a place of awkwardness, frustration, and to say the least, quite bothersome. In my ignorance I looked to people to help me understand this inner struggle – I found a few who empathized.This is a place to where you feel as if you are square peg being jammed into a round hole.

In my ignorance I looked to people to help me understand this inner struggle – I found a few who empathized.

To the frontlines

Honestly, I fussed and cussed with God for quite some time and made little progress to the source of this angst in my soul.
Finally one day I settled the fact in my heart I was going to make a move to the front lines of ministry. I accepted a ground level, organic approach to display the Love of Christ. I knew this was the correct move and with some reluctance I jumped into a vast area of nothingness – of which I like to call faith. The final confirmation for me was when my wife Nancy embarked on her new calling of nursing – a hands on ministry to help the hurting. She had been the Music Director for 12 years. Her injustice moment was when her father had a stroke and went into the hospital and nursing home. This entire process stirred her to make a difference and she submitted to the schooling required to place her on the front line of literally comforting those with pain.

Truly trusting God

My leap of faith had no bottom to it and the place I agreed to minister at was over within a matter of months. With renewed confidence and a vision I accepted the next phase of my calling. I embraced what God called me to do and not what man required of me. Truly answering God’s call does not come without anguish. At that moment, I felt caught in the middle. I was in the middle of the quote, ‘it was the best of times, it was the worst of times’. My heart felt sick and yet I felt excited and free. Believe me I had my flashbacks numerous times and questioned this place that was still filled with problems – I felt regret and shame. I understood that being obedient to God will always be problematic. Since my personality is one of which that desires peace on all sides, I pursued harmony with everyone – it did not work. I am a peace maker and not a peace keeper. I have always wanted what was right but I have realized that I want to control. I will always be confronted by God to let go and let Him take control of every area of my life. This next phase required me to trust Him and not lean on my own understanding.

This calling had to do with helping the hurting people within our city. People that had been disregarded and often times judged harshly. I was drawn to their stories and their neighborhoods. I saw the faces of their children and I knew, that I knew, that I knew I had to do something. The injustices that I had seen angered me and yet sickened me at the same time. I had been raised in church all of my life and now I was saturated into a new culture – one of which I felt humbled to be a part of.

This calling had to do with helping the hurting people within our city. People that had been disregarded and often times judged harshly.

My long time inner struggle was now on the outside and I tried to introduce the culture I always knew to my new found culture. Many of the introductions were less enthusiastic than I had hoped for. Truly this was a clash of cultures and I tried with my peace maker approach to bring the two together. We had some success; however, the success I wanted to shoot for was not for me it was for my long lost brothers and sisters of our community. No longer could I accept my title or position as a place that I called success. Success shifted to wanting the best for all of those I come in contact with.

Take the silver spoon from my mouth

Now, I stand in this place that is not a better place – only a different place. A vision that allows me to view things differently and release this holy discontent from my soul.

I know I am closer to the ‘sweet spot’ of ministry and I have been left with no choice to pursue it – I have nothing to lose. At one point we literally had nothing. We had exhausted what little savings we had, cashed in an annuity and once we even considered selling our house.

Why? So we could do what God has called us to do at this point in our lives. How could I minister to people who are in need if I didn’t know what it was like to have nothing? How could I minister to people who have been rejected if I had not felt rejection as well? Somewhere along the line you have to take the silver spoon from your mouth and feed other people with it.

Somewhere along the line you have to take the silver spoon from your mouth and feed other people with it.

Posted in Blog, Ray's Blog on February 21, 2010.

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