WordPress informs me that today is a special milestone for ThePreachersWord. Our 3000th post.
Wow! That’s incredible.
The idea of writing and publishing a daily blog wasn’t even on my radar 6 months before I began. The background for this blog’s birth is a story that’s never been told. I’m telling it now because I’ve learned a valuable lesson that is too important not to share.
In 2011 I was approaching my 9 year anniversary with a congregation with whom I had enjoyed a good work. There had been a substantial numerical increase, and spiritual growth as well. The future ministry opportunities looked promising. Furthermore Norma Jean and I had developed close friendships in both the church and the community. It was a wonderful environment. I was 63 years old. I could see myself “riding into the sunset” with these brethren.
Then on Saturday, May 7, 2011, I learned something that totally changed the trajectory of our lives.
In my monthly meeting with the elders, I was informed they believed it was time for a change. I was assured that there was nothing that I had done wrong, or hadn’t done. They simply believed it would be good for the church to change preachers. My tenure would end on August 28, unless I wanted to leave earlier.
I was devastated. When I told Norma Jean she thought at first I was joking. The next few months were a challenging time for us. What were we going to do? Would we move? If so, where?
As I began exploring other full-time preaching opportunities, I learned many churches were looking for “a younger preacher.” In fact, the church I was leaving publically announced they would be seeking a young preacher. And they did. Younger? “I’m a young 63,” I thought.
By the end of August, nothing had materialized. So, we stayed in the same community, “waiting on the Lord” to see what direction to take. Over the next few months, I kept pretty busy holding meetings, preaching on an appointment basis, and filling in for local preachers.
As 2012 approached, there was nothing on the horizon. No offers. No prospects. I wondered, “Is this it? Am I being ‘turned out to pasture?”
While continuing to keep busy with meetings and appointment preaching, I needed something more to do. I thought about writing a blog. It would be a way to minister in the Word to a larger audience. So, on January 1, 2012, I published my first post.
Now, 10 years, 3 months, and 12 days later, I’m sending out post #3000. Over this time, ThePreachersWord has been read in over 200 countries and territories around the world.
We’ve written on a variety of themes. Both textual and topical. I estimate we’ve published from about 40 states and 10 countries over the years. As a result, some posts resemble a travel log. Plus we’ve shared personal stories involving birthdays, anniversaries, deaths, marriages, and of course the births of our grandchildren.
Our posts are categorized under 186 different topics for easy access and reference. In the 10+ years, we’ve had some series and special columns. The most popular is “It’s Friday. But Sunday’s coming.” It’s still widely used for communion talks.
WordPress says we’ve written 1,736,767 words. That’s equivalent to 34 books.
Over the years we’ve learned that posts from ThePreachersWord have been reprinted in bulletins. Published in newspaper articles. Posted on social media platforms. Printed and distributed to friends, relatives, and co-workers. Used as Wednesday evening talks. Served as seed thoughts for sermons. Become a resource for sermon illustrations. Reblogged on other blog sites. Quoted by fellow bloggers. And used as Bible class material.
Now all of this would have never happened except for an eldership decision in 2011.
For the record, I hold no ill-will toward that church or those elders. In fact, I can say with the apostle Paul “that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel” (Phil. 1:12).
In addition to writing this blog, we’ve worked full-time with two other churches in two different states. Both provided wonderful opportunities for ministry where we’ve made life-long friends. For the past 4 years, we’ve been blessed to travel and combine many trips with preaching opportunities.
I’ve been reminded of an insight expressed by author Napoleon Hill this way: “Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” This is a lesson every preacher and every Christian needs to learn. Of course, it’s up to us to see the seed, seek the benefit and seize the opportunity.
I wish I could name all the people who were there for us during the difficult times. And in the ensuing years those who have supported us. Advised us. Encouraged us. Befriended us. Rejoiced with us. And have used us in the Lord’s Kingdom. You know who you are. Thank you very much.
I’m not really sure when our blogging days will end. But until that time, “unto God be the glory.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman