When I was a very young man, I became a full time Youth Pastor. I had a passion to minister to young Junior High and High School students in Tremont. I started a youth ministry called “The Rush”. This was unlike any other youth group at the time. We had high energy games, a band, skits, and some fun stunts that we would pull off every other Wednesday night. The youth group started with a group of about 10-15 kids. I worked hard to get them excited about this new vision that I had for the youth ministry. I established what I called “The Core Team”. This was a group of kids who I encouraged and worked with to build our ministry. After several retreats, planning, and prayer, we launched “The Rush”. The youth group became the place that young people wanted to come. Our group went from 15 to 150-160 students every other Wednesday night. The students in the Core Team were proud of their youth group and worked hard to get their peers to come and try it out. This was a team effort that really paid off!
Shortly after becoming the youth pastor, the only other pastor which was the senior pastor, left for another ministry opportunity. This left me working hard not only for the students, but everyone in the church. I was only 21 when I took on this role, but learned a lot really fast. I found myself doing hospital visits, conducting funerals, and officiating weddings. This was an amazing leadership opportunity at a young age that really helped me become who I am today. After serving for 4 years, I left that church for another ministry opportunity with a large church in Normal Illinois. I became their Pastor overseeing Technical ministries. Basically, I led a group of 35 to operate the sound, lighting, and video systems for the church of over 4,000 people.
Over the years, I moved out of ministry as a Pastor, but have performed many, many weddings over the years. Just last year I did 9 weddings for family and friends. This is not something I advertise or seek, just something I consider a blessing to do for others. It is very exciting and rewarding to stand in front of a couple on the happiest day of their lives, and marry them.