Fear Of Whales

Tales of a reluctant minister

What's Up With The Title?

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Well it’s a Jonah reference. Obviously.

But it’s more than that.

C.S. Lewis identified himself as “The Most Reluctant Convert,” which is an idea I could relate to, except that I was never really converted (of if I was, it happened before I could talk) My father was a pastor, and during my early childhood he was a rather zealous one.

I don’t remember not being a Christian.

Still I’ve had my intellectual struggles with the concept of Christianity. “Seriously, you want me to believe Someone is watching me from the sky?… Prove it.”

So I get what he’s saying. But I’m not so much a reluctant convert, as a reluctant minister.

I’ve done the research. Actually I love the research. If you keep reading, you’ll get to see me geek out about things like historical proofs of the resurrection. I’m down with being a Christian and an intellectual – Just so long as we define “Christian” as … y’know: “Guy who believes in Jesus, but does something else for a living.”

It’s the ministry thing I’m reluctant about. I’ve seen where that road leads. And I don’t mean “share your faith with your friends” ministry. I mean “give the sermon this Easter” ministry. “Be a pastor” ministry. “Do what your dad did” ministry.

I’m not cool with that. It makes me really uncomfortable, because after growing up with it. I had no delusions about the pastor being the all merciful holy-man of the community. I saw the politics, the game playing, the emotional exhaustion, the low pay. I wanted no part of it.

But here I am.


Because I’m afraid of whales.

I believe that God called me personally into vocational ministry and I’m not so dumb as to suppose that that was a suggestion on His part. I know better. I’ve been to Sunday School. And I believe that far from an empty threat, God’s call is a promise.

He is God and I am not.

What looks like a bad idea to me may actually be what I was created for, so I will follow it — but not because I want to and not because I’m holy.

Simply because I know better than to do otherwise.

 God’s first call on my life to vocational ministry happened in 2003 when I was a high school student. I followed the call to become small group leader and a Sunday school teacher. And an intern, a camp counselor, then a youth pastor where I  gave the sermon on Easter.

Last year, God called me to leave the beach and follow him to a reach strange people called “mid-westerners” where I’d be the Director of a Campus Ministry at a Major University.

And again I followed without hesitation (and for the same reason).

And even though it wasn’t easy to leave my family and friends and church and beaches and ethnic food …

ven though it wasn’t easy, these last six months have been some of the best in my entire life. God knew what He was doing the entire time.

So, these are the ramblings of a reluctant minister. My stories. My thoughts. An opportunity for you to peer behind the curtain of a critically flawed mobyaphobic 20-something pastor, while he changes the world for Jesus.


Written by RyanGaffney

April 21, 2011 at 7:49 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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