My First Church Job

The summer of 1983 was my last summer before Seminary (I was finishing college in December, and starting seminary in January). Since I was headed to a career in ministry, I figured I ought to get a ministry job. Everyone else seemed to be doing it. Youth Director seemed to be the most common option.

So I did a little research (I knew almost nothing about finding a ministry job). I interviewed at a church in Houston, but they didn’t hire me. I needed a job, so I went back to McDonalds. I worked there since 1978, so it was easy to get my job back.

About a week later I got home from work in mid-afternoon. My mom (I was still living at home) told me Ed Robb had called. He had a job for me. Ed was – and is – the pastor of The Woodlands United Methodist Church, my family church. I was excited. Finally, someone recognized my abilities!

So I called Ed. “Ed. I hear you have a job opening. Tell me about it.”

“Yes, Richard, we do have a job opening this summer.We need a janitor. Would you like to try it?”

So I was janitor at The Woodlands UMC that summer.  Maybe not the most glorious ministry job out there, but I learned a lot about ministry that summer. (Sometimes when I tell the story I tell people I was “Minister of Sanitation.”)

Our annual conference is meeting at TWUMC this year. The church has changed tremendously since I worked there. They moved a few years ago, and have continued to build on ever since. While I did the janitorial work on my own in the summer of 1983, the work this summer is way beyond anything one person could do. The team they have doing the work is doing a great job.

As for the meeting, things are going well. Bishop Will Willimon was our guest preacher – check out Guy Williams for a report.

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2 Responses to My First Church Job

  1. I’m good friends with the janitor at our church. Since I’m a youth pastor and he’s the janitor we are both on the same level in the church (the lowest one:)

    I’m glad to hear that you were seeking the Lord to do ministry. Maybe God will keep expanding your area of influence.



  2. gmw says:

    Brilliant, Richard! Such humble beginnings, and yet is not the ministry of sanitation often an apt metaphor for the ministry of the church?

    thanks for the link.

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