28 Years of Being the Reverend
Twenty-eight years ago on this day, August 28, 1988 in the presence of family and friends at the Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Georgia, with the Reverend Dr. G. Daniel McCall preaching, I was ordained in the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America as a Minister of Word and Sacrament.
I have been known as the Reverend David W. Dendy for the last 28 years…
During that stint I have had the complete and utter privilege and joy of serving the Lord in a variety of capacities.
1988-1995 – Associate Pastor, Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church, Augusta, Georgia
1995-1998 – Pastor of a New Church Development, Trinity Church, Katy, Texas (Houston)
1998-2004 – Senior Executive Consultant, Resource Services Inc., Assisted 80 churches raise $180 million dollars for the distinct purpose of Christian ministry.
2004-2012 – Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Klamath Falls, Oregon
2012 – 2014 – Vice President for Philanthropy, University of Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa
2015 – Present – Pastor of the Mountain View Presbyterian Church, Las Vegas, Nevada
What a journey it has been!
As “the Reverend” I have had the unique opportunity of being invited to be present during some of life’s most unforgettable moments.
Weddings…pronouncing with the authority which has been bestowed upon me to declare a man and woman are now husband and wife. “You may now kiss the bride” has always been one of my favorite things to say.
Baptisms…pronouncing with the authority which has been bestowed upon me the grace, love, forgiveness and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ is being washed over someone’s life making them “clean” and members of the body of Christ. There is nothing more humbling and at the same time more exhilarating than placing my hand on the head of another child of God and declaring such things.
Funerals – pronouncing with the authority which has been bestowed upon me the unbelievable good news “though we die, yet shall we live again!”
One illustration which has become a “signature” of mine during funerals was likening heaven to a huge football stadium with the stands filled with all the saints that have gone on before us and with God standing at the fifty yard line. And there we stand at the tunnel ready to run onto the field of heaven. And then we hear our name being called over the loud speakers and we run out onto the field with the stadium rocking in applause and laughter and we are running as fast as we can and there is the open arms of God waiting to swoop us up at midfield! Wow!!! How much fun that is to declare to a grieving family.
Praying – Is there anything more intimate than sitting knee to knee hand in hand with someone and praying with them? Or placing my arm around the shoulder of a complete stranger and entering into the presence of God through prayer with that person?
Conversion and Discipleship – To be a witness to the life changing power and transformation of people going from being lost to being found has been the greatest privilege of all. Wow!!
Preaching – The challenge of taking the two dimensional, black and white print of the Bible and allowing it to become the three dimensional, colorful, inspired word of God which invigorates, regenerates, inspires, transforms and fuels people for the week ahead is like nothing else. To be sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit during the preaching of the Word is nerve racking, raw and a complete thrill.
The Chill Bumps – In 28 years of being a pastor one of the clues which shows God is with me during a worship service is getting the chill bumps at some point in time during the service. It happened without fail during every worship service. Those chill bumps covering my body might happen during announcements or during a song or during the reading of scripture or right smack during the middle of preaching. Those chill bumps became for me the weekly fulfillment of the promise of Jesus, “I am with you always…”
The Lord’s Supper – To touch the bread, to hold the bread, to break the bread, to serve the bread, to taste the bread, to pour the juice, to hear the juice, to taste the juice, to watch the people come forward to partake, to speak the words, “On the night in which he was betrayed, Jesus took bread…”, to announce with great authority we eat this bread and drink this cup in remembrance of Jesus and for the remission of our sins, to experience all of that in a brief moment is a highlight.
The People – Oh the people the Lord has placed in my life over the last 28 years. Is there any greater privilege than being invited into people’s lives and become a part of their world and life and see the incredible creative spirit of God in so many different people. Wow! Thank you Lord!!
I could go on and on…
Let me leave you with the words I leave with people at the end of every worship service in which I am honored to lead…
“Go forth into the world in peace
Be of good courage
Hold fast to that which is good
Render to no one evil for evil
Strengthen the fainthearted
Support the weak
Love and serve the Lord with gladness and joy
Honor all people
Go forth knowing the unconditional love of God the Father Almighty
The Amazing Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
The fellowship, communion and the power of the Holy Spirit is with you now
And forever and ever.
And everyone said,
Go get ’em”
To all of you who have been a part of my life, my world, my ministry, there are no words to describe the compete honor it is and continues to be for me to walk this road with you and for you to walk this road with me…
I love you all more than you know…
And that’s my iWitness…
Laugh often and Fear not!
ps – Thank you to my wife Julie for always being in the front row, cheering me on, enduring my “family” stories and giving me that slight nod of the head which always proclaims, “Well done David… well done!”