News & Views

Life Seemed So Mean In 2015

2015 should have been one of the best years of my life. It should have been a joyous celebration of sixteen years (about half my lifetime so far) of ministry as a Baptist preacher, but it ended up being one of the most disappointing and heartbreaking years of my life. By the end of the year, it had become necessary for me to leave my church, to pull my radio show off the air, and to make the transition away from full-time ministry and back to full-time work.

After sixteen years of ministry that included eleven years of creation evangelism, four and a half years of weekly radio broadcasting, and three years of full-time ministry, I had to figure out how to move on from all of that. I made countless sacrifices with almost every decision I faced in the last sixteen years because I was more concerned about ministry work than college or other career choices, and then it became necessary to walk away from that ministry that I had worked so hard to build. As heartbreaking as that was, though, I am thankful that I can still look back on some great memories from last year. In many ways, 2015 was actually one of my best years of ministry work.

I had quite a few preaching appointments throughout the year and plenty of great opportunities for evangelistic outreach as well. Several churches asked me to share my creation seminar series with them for the very first time. One church actually asked me to share my creation seminars during their Vacation Bible School because they really wanted to put an emphasis on creation evangelism and apologetics! That may not sound remarkable at first, but I had already previously shared my seminars with that church on at least two other occasions. In a day when many churches are absolutely unconcerned about apologetics, Bible study, and evangelism, these churches were actually excited about these meetings!

I’m also thankful that I had a few opportunities to do some more traveling last year. One of my best friends, Seth Therrien, and I went to Texas to attend a really great witnessing workshop with teaching by The Mally family, Dr. Jobe Martin, and Dr. Jason Lisle. We learned so much there and had some great witnessing conversations during that trip! I also enjoyed going to some concerts to see some of my favorite groups like The Collingsworth Family and The Taylors, but one of the biggest highlights of the year was when I took a last-minute road trip to North Carolina. I actually made it there just in time to see The Hall Sisters in their first full concert! It was a long drive, but it was such a blessing to hear and meet them there after enjoying so much of their music online!

I think it has to be pretty much impossible to hear and sing along with any of their music without having a great time! On those days when my life seemed to be falling completely apart, listening to their CDs and YouTube videos could still make me smile. By the way, “Smile” will be the name of their newest CD project when it is finally released next month! You can sign up for news updates and check out the rest of their music at www.thehallsisters.com. If you don’t have their Simply Christmas CD, you should definitely buy that one for sure! I used to be one of those people that would only listen to Christmas music for about one month out of the year, and that CD definitely changed that because I listen to it pretty much every day!

Most people will never know how hard the last year of ministry was for me. I lost some good friends who used to mean the world to me and lost so much respect for so many others that I thought I knew pretty well. At the same time, there were some other friends who knew exactly what I was going through and made it a point to go out of their way to be such a blessing to me. Most people will never know their names or what kind of impact they had on my life, but I will never forget the kindness that they showed to me on some of my darkest days. In my next post, I’ll share some updates about a few exciting things that have been going on this year! Thanks for your prayers and for taking the time to stop by my website and check out this blog!

Because of Calvary,

Joseph McDonald