My Story (in the briefest version possible!)
I was born in Springfield, Missouri, USA. I was raised, educated and worked in Bolivar, Missouri. After high-school, I lived, went to college and worked for 2 years in Sedalia, Missouri. Then, for 6 years after that, I lived, worked and did some intermittent study in my birth-town, Springfield. Now, I’m living, working and studying (and playing music) in Auckland, New Zealand. How did I get here? Read on…
I grew up within a loving and stable family (a Mom and Dad that stayed together, and an older brother and older sister) and also inherited the religion sometimes referred to as Armstrongism, which had teachings that certainly made me stand out from other kids at school. (To make a quite long, detailed and debated story into a short, debatable, summary, the founder, Herbert W. Armstrong, died in 1986, and left leadership to Joseph W. Tkach, Sr., who was later approached by his son, Joseph W. Tkach, Jr., and two others who began to critically study the basis of past church teaching; they eventually decided that radical changes should be made.) My reaction to ‘the changes’ was casual. I had not fully understood or owned the former beliefs/teachings for myself, and so I rather easily laid them aside. Further, I didn’t replace them with anything.
Again, summarising, my few years in Sedalia were… well… ‘not religious’, and this lifestyle continued for a few months once I moved to Springfield. I quickly became reunited with a friend (Ben Kilgore) who had been raised in the same church as me, but was now working at and attending a Baptist church. To make another long story short, he didn’t force his beliefs on me, but when I eventually asked questions about belief in Jesus, he answered them honestly and thoughtfully. I soon committed my life to Jesus and was baptised. Thus began my Jesus-journey.
My journey was, at first, largely a social thing, but a challenging philosophy class drove me to take my faith more seriously and seek to know why I believed what I did. In addition to this, I quickly became active in the area of worship music. These two trends continued for several years, and eventually I took up a volunteer position of ‘Worship Pastor’ at a new church plant, the Church at Finley Crossings, as well as helping with various college ministries, and participating in a few international missionary trips.
My work life had seen me attend one semester of college to ‘explore options’, and a unexpected promotion to my companies’ general office had ended that exploration. I enjoyed my job and found myself making good progress toward the ‘American Dream’ of a house, good job and a good family – I just lacked my own family.
Later, in what would prove to be a key conversation, one of my current roommates (and best friends), Brandon Pickering, asked me some deep questions about what I wanted to do with my life. I had always kind of ‘let life come to me’, but Brandon was reminding me that I actually didn’t have to do this. More than that, he encouraged me that I had many abilities that would serve me well in taking several different paths in life. Within a few weeks, I had enrolled for classes in the Religious Studies program at the local university – perhaps still unsure about what I wanted to do.
After a year in this program, I found myself (to summarise yet another long story) in Auckland, New Zealand on a ministry-trip with Dr. Bernard Holmes, helping out at an Open Brethren church. In a most unexpected turn of events, toward the end of our month-long stay, I found myself being offered a position there as Youth Pastor. After much discussion with others, prayer, consideration (and an unexplainable seating arrangement and conversation on the plane ride home!), I took the job.
Not long after starting, my laptop was stolen during a mid-week bible study. Luke Weston, an announcer at Life FM, was able to find a computer company who was willing to give –yes give– me a replacement laptop! In a later turn of events, a friend of mine, Cameron Stuart, and I headed to a dessert party at a flat where another Life FM announcer named Di (Diane) lived. When we met, she said, “Oh, so you’re the laptop guy…” And… of course… to make yet another long story much shorter… she is now my wife!
Well, after 2 years as Youth Pastor at Ngaire Ave, I made the move to my current church, Northcote Baptist, as Associate Pastor for Youth, and I’m enjoying it very much. Di and I have 1 child (Thomas Isaiah) and are enjoying learning how to be married and we look forward to whatever the future holds for us!
Feel free to email me with comments and/or questions at dalewaynecampbell[at]gmail[dot]com.