Ron Wrightson has served as a small groups pastor in southeastern Michigan for decades. He’s watched trends come and go, served churches formal and informal, intensely denominational and less concerned about denominational matters, and traditional and contemporary. He’s demonstrated flexibility and faithfulness. When most move toward retirement, Ron still rolls up his sleeves and does the work of ministry. We hear all sorts of advice on longevity in ministry and Ron has lived it. With more than four decades in ministry, Ron offers helpful wisdom from a life and ministry well lived.
Ron, let’s start toward the beginning.You came out of a professional, private-sector job. How did you know God was calling you to vocational ministry?
To start, I had a great job working for a large insurance holding company in New York City. I enjoyed my work, co-workers, boss, etc. I was in a good place. So why leave it?
My family and I attended church every week and were involved in ministry. I just kept feeling there had to be more to faith than I was experiencing. It was in January 1976 I surrendered my life to Christ and came to know Him in a very personal way and not simply to know about Him. I just kept sensing that I was being pulled into ministry but didn’t know where or how.
Years earlier when we lived in California, we became good friends with a pastor at the church we attended. Even though we moved back home to the east coast and his family moved to Michigan to serve a church, we stayed connected. When I shared my feelings about going into ministry, he shared with me the possibility of a position in the Lutheran Church in Michigan as a business manager working in the district headquarters—not exactly what ...