I am at Cannon Beach Conference Center with about 65 pastors from the Corvallis, Albany, Lebanon, Jefferson area for our annual “Prayer Summit” that goes from Monday noon until Wednesday noon. I went to the very first “Pastor’s Prayer Summit” 30 years ago in 1989, and haven’t missed a year since. I started Pastoring at Jefferson in 1976 when I was 28 years old, and in the next 13 years I made every mistake and bad decision that a Pastor can make, and I made them 2 and 3 times each. Because of my poor leadership JBC was not very healthy with lots of conflict and disunity, and after 13 years I was absolutely fried emotionally. I was very discouraged, burnt out, depressed, thinking that I was the absolute worst failure at being a pastor in the history of the church, and I was ready to quit and go back to farming.
It was then that I went to the first “Prayer Summit”, and it turned my life totally around, upside down, inside out, and every which way! It was at that Summit that I made Prayer the highest priority of my life. I made a goal to pray an hour every day, another goal to pray for every person in my church by name every week, a goal to pray with my wife, Patty at least 3 times every week, and to start dozens of corporate prayer times at JBC. As a result of the dramatically increased prayer time everything started to change in our church, but especially in my life. God started giving me wisdom because I asked for it every morning, strength and stamina, I asked for that also, my preaching got increasingly better, unity and love began to grow rapidly.
The last 30 years of ministry have been wonderful, and every year that I come back I am reminded why.