Serving pastors and ministry leaders for Twenty Years!
I find it hard to believe that PastorServe has been serving pastors and ministry leaders for… Twenty Years! Thank you Jesus!! And thank you ministry partners who day by day stand alongside this ministry.
In 1999, Sally and I were leading West Hills Community Church where I had served as the church planter / lead pastor since moving to Kansas City in 1992. I felt called to pastoral ministry at the age of twelve, and serving the local church was a fulfillment of my life calling. Sally and I had been privileged to serve churches in Chicago, Boston and South Carolina. And serving a local church in Kansas City, near both of our families, was a dream come true. While PastorServe would be birthed in 1999, it was conceived in 1985 while serving at Grace Chapel in Lexington Mass.
At Grace Chapel, I was privileged to serve as the Junior High Youth Pastor. I will never forget the morning staff gathering in 1984 when the elder board chairman broke the news that our beloved senior pastor had been unfaithful to his wife. To this date, that was the biggest spiritual gut punch in my life. It literally knocked the wind out of me. As the staff cried together, we began to question how this could have happened. Didn’t our pastor have dozens of close friends, the majority of whom were sitting in that room? As we processed together, we began to realize that no one in the room was close to our pastor. In fact, it became clear that our pastor, while surrounded by people, had managed to live his life in isolation. At the tender age of 23, it was clear to me that pastors could not survive (and certainly not thrive) in isolation. It was that day that PastorServe was conceived.
Skip ahead to 1994. While pastoring West Hills, I began hosting the radio program, Transforming Life with Pastor Jimmy Dodd. God bless my mother because for many years I was convinced she was the only one listening. After several years, I experienced deep personal transformation (told in great detail in my book Survive or Thrive) as I began to more deeply understand the Gospel. Local pastors listened to the program and began to reach out as they were looking for a place to process the daily challenges they faced in pastoral ministry. They perceived major differences in my preaching, and they wanted a safe place to share their heart.
Throughout 1998 and 1999 I met with pastors who shared the same story over and over again. First, they were experiencing a difficulty. It might be an unresolved staff conflict, a troubled marriage, addictions or many other problems. Second, depending on the church structure, there was a place they would be expected to take their problem. It might be an elder board, deacon board, bishop, district superintendent, session, presbytery or a number of other places. And third, pastors assured me that they would never take their problems to their board for fear of being fired if the board learned the full extent of their challenges. And, the vast majority of pastors have no ‘Vocational Plan B’. They simply couldn’t afford to lose their job. They have a mortgage or kids in college. The potential of losing their job was not a risk they were willing to take.
I heard this story over and over again, to the point where it broke my heart. And on August 14, while standing at the corner of Rush and Chicago in downtown Chicago, God changed my call from pastoring a local congregation to pastoring pastors. Sally and I returned to Kansas City, resigned our position at West Hills, and PastorServe was born.
We have responded to hundreds of thousands of pastors seeking help because of friends like you!!! The Lord has entrusted us with an enormous task of Strengthening the Church by Serving Pastors. Through your continued partnership, we continue to minister to thousands of leaders. We could not do the work of this ministry apart from friends like you. Thank you!! Here’s to the next Twenty Years!!!
Grace and Peace in Jesus,
Founder and CEO
Strengthen Your Church
Strengthening your church, for us, begins by serving you, the pastor!