I actually had a difficult time choosing just one moment. From my list, I was captivated by our visit to Arlington National Cemetery and what I learned there regarding the Cemetery's history. I also was amazed at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider's changing of the guard - I so appreciated the reverence for that location and what it represents. Another moment that was very cool was when I was able to baptize my seventh grandson in the Atlantic Ocean. Yeah, that was a great moment. I also had a number of times that I connect with my children and grandchildren which were terrific moments and I wouldn't trade them for anything. These were just a few of a number of personal moments that I believe were compelling.
I have to add one from a professional perspective. It was during October of 2015. That time of year is a time reserved for Pastor's Appreciation Month. Over the years this has never been a time of great revelation. I haven't always placed a lot of stock in the amount of appreciation that has been shared - or hasn't been shared. In all of the churches that I have been appointed, I've never felt unappreciated throughout the year. So when this time of year comes around, I usually don't expect anything unusual.
This calendar year of 2015 was different. Honestly, I received more cards and well wishes during this October than I have in 25 years of ministry! It really threw me for a loop. I didn't anticipate this kind of response. In truth, I wasn't really prepared to respond to it myself. I was in the twilight zone - a place I had never been before.
One definition of compelling is something that evokes interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way. For so many people to express their appreciation to Nancy and me for our shared ministry was irresistible. It was a special moment in time, which I shall always treasure in my heart. Mostly because I didn't go into the ministry seeking accolades or measures of appreciation. I would hope that my only motivation was to help others grow closer in their relationship to God and Jesus.
So, yeah, there it is - a compelling moment in 2015 that I never anticipated nor expected. But I cherish it and give God all the glory for it.
There should be a month for congregational appreciation from the clergy. Worthington First and Emmanuel United Methodist Churches would get my appreciation, right from the heart.