Stories of resilience…

If you signed up for pastoring, thinking that it would be a walk in the park you may be surprised when you find out that it is more like riding a roller coaster with lots of ups and downs. If you were looking for easy, smooth, high pay, pleasant, privileged, adored, respected, esteemed, obeyed, fair, structured hours, peaceful, and unlimited resources for ministry you most likely were stunned by the reality that pastoring is challenging, difficult, and filled with complexity, drama, paradox, and ambiguity. 

Yet you also discovered that few occupations offer the rewards of ministry such as leading individuals, groups, congregations, and entire communities into the kingdom of God. As a pastor, you are rewarded with a front row seat watching God work; surrounded by authenticity, miracles, stories, victories. Incredibly, God is working through your hands, your voice, your ears, your pen, and your presence to restore His kingdom. Ministry is not for the faint of heart. Only thrill seekers dare apply. 

Yet even for thrill seekers, to survive the ups and downs of ministry, requires resilience. In fact, one of the descriptors for the Core Qualities of Effective Ministry is resilience. The dictionary defines resilience as “able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.”

During our worship sessions in the Rupp arena we will be telling stories of resilience from the distant past, from the recent past, from the present, and we anticipate future stories of resilience in your ministry.

…from the distant past…


Filmmaker extraordinaire, Jason Satterlund returns to the CALLED convention to tell a Bible story in a contemporary setting. If you attended the 2015 CALLED convention you were moved by his cinematic retelling of the story of the call of Isaiah in the lives of three contemporary people. Jason will repeat his magic in the retelling of the story of Elijah as resilience snaps the prophet back from a Jezebel induced funk. 

…from the recent past…

Resilience has always been a prerequisite for ministry as shown by the latest historical research by Michael Campbell. Michael has found some untold extraordinary stories of resilience lived out by some of the early Seventh-day Adventist pastors. In the midst of research, he writes about some of his discoveries:  

“W. H. Littlejohn—An Adventist pastor at church headquarters during the 1870s and 1880s. What makes him unique is that he was blind! He was able to still be a very successful pastor and became probably the first “settled” pastor bringing stability at church headquarters. His story is particularly unique in that he became discouraged and gave up ministry for a while, but later returned, and had an overall significant impact—probably many pastors can relate to becoming discouraged and either wanting to or even giving up ministry for a period of time.

Eri L. Barr—Based on new research this man was the first African American Millerite preacher who later also became Sabbatarian Adventist. I think his story is a significant one that has not really been told and shows how there was much more racial diversity in early Adventism than previously known.

Lou Whitman—Successful Adventist female pastor in New England. Reports document that she was the most successful soul winner in her conference and one of the best examples we have of a successful female pastor/evangelist. Some reports say she did as much work as all the rest of the other men combined.

Sarah Lindsey—First female licensed Adventist pastor, also considered one of the most successful Adventist pastors/evangelists in Pennsylvania and western New York. She has some great human interest stories with her call to ministry, interaction with Ellen White, and other pioneers.

Charles M. Kinney—Widely regarded as the first ordained Seventh-day Adventist minister who made a significant impact in the American South. He is a role model for early Adventist ministry.


Mystery Pastor—The last candidate I’m still researching, but I am looking at a few books on Adventism in the American Southwest and think I’ve found an individual who is Latino and part Native American from the 1900-1930 time period. I think I’ve found someone who is representative of the rich diversity we have in pastoral ministry.”

After Dr. Campbell completes his historical research on pastors such as those named above, he turns his findings over to award winning filmmaker Kyle Portbury who will bring these historical figures back to life to tell their story from the main stage of the Rupp arena. 

…from the Present…


Those who attended the 2015 convention watched intimate interviews with pastors such as Steward Lozensky, Rodlie Ortiz, Richie Halverson, Pranitha Fielder, MyRon Edmonds, Matt Axford, Marvin Wray, Lori Farr, Jaime Pombo, David Franklin, and Abraham Jules, who bared their souls to share their unique call to ministry. This time we will turn our cameras to stories of resilience, as pastors share their stories of rebounding from incredibly difficult setbacks in ministry. By the way, all of the stories have not yet been selected, so if you, or if you know of a pastor who has rebounded from unique setbacks, please contact to share new stories of resilience.