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The Road Less Traveled (3).jpg

February 29, 2024

Our older son, Andrew, recently passed the last of four exams to become a Certified Public Accountant. Needless to say, Melissa and I are extremely proud of him, as is his wife and daughters. The CPA exam is considered one of the most difficult of all the professional licensing exams because of the amount of information it covers and the length of the test, 16 hours over four tests. To clear that final hurdle is truly a great accomplishment.

Andrew currently serves as Audit Manager for The Bonadio Group in Dallas, where he oversees auditing for a variety of entities, including non-profits, government entities, universities, and even some churches. But for all of his success – and by all indications, he is extremely good at what he does – it is his journey to get there that I find the most moving.

You see, from the time that Andrew was 12 years old, he wanted to be a pastor. I think the fact that I had entered the ministry was part of it. But I have no doubt that Andrew discerned a genuine call to ministry. He preached his first sermon as a teen-ager, in fact he preached several times over the course of his adolescent years, even at Annual Conference. He served as a Youth Delegate to Annual Conference, as well as on the Conference Youth Leadership Team. He went off to college at Southwestern University, completing his bachelor’s degree in three and a half years. He initially planned to major in Religion, but I talked him out of it. I assured him he would get all the theology he needed in seminary. Instead, I urged him to major in Business and take every course Southwestern offered relating to non-profits. That, I said, would be of greater benefit when he was running a church.

Not long before he graduated, Andrew called me with a conundrum. As part of his degree, he did a couple of internships in the Austin area, and he really enjoyed the work. But he still felt a call to ministry. I assured him he need not set his career in stone at age 21 and that whatever he did, I was confident that he would be doing ministry.

In the fall of 2017, Andrew started seminary at Brite Divinity School. I called him after his first day of class to see how he liked it. “I hate it,” he responded. It was not, he said, at all what he expected. He was insistent that seminary did not feel like what God was calling him to do. At the time, he was working as a Youth Director at a Fort Worth-area church. And so I asked him if he would just continue down that path. Nope. He said he was going to get a job.

And he did. Within a matter of days, he landed a job at GM Financial in downtown Fort Worth. Then another company approached him and hired him away. And then it happened again. Along the way, Andrew enrolled at the University of Texas-Dallas, where he earned his Master’s in Finance and Accounting. And eventually he sat for his CPA exam and passed it. All of it.

The other day, he sent Melissa and I a text. He jokingly said that apparently everyone was waiting for him to get those three little letters, because three different United Methodist organizations had reached out to him requesting that he consult with them. I have no doubt that providing services to the church will ultimately fill a lot of his free time.

Turns out, there was a lot of truth to the words I spoke years ago. “Whatever you do, you’re going to do ministry.” It’s a good reminder that ministry comes in many forms, and most of them don’t place Rev. in front of your name. It’s a good reminder that God uses us – all of us – to advance the unfolding Kingdom. And that regardless of what our skill set looks like, we are all ministers in the end.

See you Sunday.

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