Texas Baptist Voices

Experience God’s ‘defining moment’ in your life

I was looking over the Texas Woman’s Missionary Union’s annual meeting celebration material the other day, and I noticed the words, “Defining Moments.” As I pondered those two words, it caused me to evaluate the ministry God has called me to serve.

richard ray130Richard RayI am the pastor of a small West Texas Baptist church. I understand life is full of defining moments. When the Lord calls you to serve him, that is a defining moment. When God calls you to serve him as pastor of a church, that is a defining moment. However, when God calls you to serve him in a bivocational/small church as pastor, that definitely is a defining moment. Amen?

Now, do not take this negatively, but as a positive statement. Serving the Lord in any capacity is a positive moment in your life, but many bivocational/small church ministers do not always see it that way. These ministers struggle each day to earn a living and take care of their family, all the while serving the church 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It can be and is overwhelming to many of you serving the Lord in this way.

I know what it is to feel alone, even though you have a whole congregation around you and the phone never stops ringing. When you get to this point in your ministry, you have come to a “defining moment” of your life. Either you can maintain the course you are on, or you can decide God is going to take control of your ministry.

Many years ago, I learned I cannot pastor the church, but God can through me. When I made the conscious choice to allow God to be God in all areas of my life, it was then that I was set free to enjoy my calling. I still was as busy as ever—earning a living, taking care of my family and serving the church 24/7. However, I had joy in my life. texas baptist voices right120It was fun and exciting to see God use me to share his message of love, compassion and grace. It did not matter where I served. It only mattered that I had the opportunity to serve my Lord.

The theme verse for the Texas WMU annual meeting is Joshua 24:15b, “But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua had his defining moment when he decided he and his family were going to serve the Lord.

Experience Joshua’s type of defining moment in your own life. Decide today whom you will serve, and if it is the Lord, then the joy of the Lord will return in your life and you will be set free to experience all God has waiting for you.

It is my prayer you will attend this year’s Texas WMU meeting and missions celebration April 4-5, hosted by First Baptist Church in Georgetown. You can find more information at

If you are able to attend, please come by our informational booth and receive a free registration voucher to our upcoming Bivocational/Small Church Conference, to be held at Baptist University of the Americas in San Antonio, July 11-12.

As always, I thank you for your service to our Lord, to your church and to Texas Baptists. Remember, God has called you to serve, but God has not called you to serve alone. Let us be your advocate, your resource and your prayer partner as you fulfill your calling. Until next time, please visit our website,

Richard Ray is president of the Bivocational/Small Church Association, pastor of First Baptist Church in Wink and director of missions for Pecos Valley Baptist Association. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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