“Just do it.” No, it wasn’t a slogan from a Nike commercial that encouraged me to enter pastoral ministry. Rather, it was the words of a former president of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, the late Dr. A.L. Barry. When I told him my thoughts about becoming a pastor, he answered, “Just do it.”
At the time, I was a law enforcement officer and a member of the board of directors for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s Florida-Georgia District. Prior to my 6-year stint with the Delray Beach Police Department, I served two years as a missionary English teacher in Hokkaido, Japan, with the Lutheran Church’s Volunteer Youth Ministry Program. (There, I met the love of my life, Junko. We got married and returned to my hometown, Delray Beach, Florida, where we have resided and raised our three daughters.)
In 2001, shortly after the 911 terrorist attacks, I returned to full-time ministry as the director of discipleship at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Delray Beach—the place of my baptism, my first communion, my confirmation, and where I had volunteered in youth ministry over the years. In 2012, Trinity was also the church where I was ordained as a pastor after graduating from Concordia Seminary’s Distance Education Leading to Ordination (DELTO) Program.
The congregation of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Plantation, Florida, extended a divine call to me to become their pastor in 2018. I accepted and was installed on April 15 of that same year. I had taken Dr. Barry’s advice. I just did it.