I was a new Youth Pastor in a new city with a few friends. That would change the day I met April. Like many Sunday mornings at our small church I gave the announcements. I did not particularly remember anything remarkable about what needed to be shared that week, however, I do remember my awkward mid-word pause as I glanced up from my notes and saw her sitting there. Perfection. She had perfect red hair, a smile filled with life and amazing green eyes that that felt like warm sunshine.
Even before floating back to my seat, I was trying to figure out how to say hello. She was sitting about half way towards the back of the sanctuary while I was sitting with the youth group in the front. Do I say hello and throw the “Pastor” title out there? I could sound like James Bond. No, The English accent and what order I introduce myself gave me fits. “Hello, I’m Pastor, Youth Pastor”, or “hello, I’m Mike, Pastor Mike, and you are?” Too many ways to blow it. Besides, I really needed a tuxedo to pull it off. I spent much of the sermon going over this very important introduction in my mind. Deep voice, gentle voice, bad youth pastor voice, and many others played through my mind..
I couldn’t help but look back a few times just to confirm she was still there and still beautiful. I checked to see if she was with anyone and prayed she did not have a boyfriend or a ring. Our pastor was not known for long winded preaching. That week’s sermon felt like the story that would never end. I wanted to stand up and dismiss the congregation myself. As I paced in my mind, finally he was getting to the closing prayer. As soon as he said “amen” I would dash to the back of the sanctuary and get acquainted. Then, everything went wrong.
He said amen. I began to move only to be stopped by a member of the youth group. This precious child of God was unaware she was being used by the enemy to keep me from my destiny. I would not be thwarted. I graciously looked her in the eye with my pastor’s heart. She looked back at me. As soon as we made eye contact I moved her aside as if to let someone behind her pass by. I looked up. She turned her head to the right, and I took off to the left. Poor kid never saw it coming. A classic guy move to shed a clinger used on some girl who just wanted to make sure she knew where we were going for lunch. We had Chinese. Honestly not sure she made it.
April was sprinting towards the door. I had to move now. I felt like a running back weaving through the congregation. She got to the door just before I could reach her so I did what any self respecting pastor would. I hit her. I hit her with my favorite bible. Theologically speaking I smote her with a mighty smite. That got her attention. Even though she looked at me like I was crazy, she was looking at me. We spoke for about 30 seconds and she left. Domestic disturbance aside, I thought things went well. In the end it was the word of God that saved the day.
All kidding aside, we will celebrate our fourteenth wedding anniversary in March. We have two fantastic boys, and I have a family I never thought I would have.