Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away (otherwise known as Miami in the 1970s), an adorable, dimpled, dark-haired baby boy was born (my wife told me to write that) to a beautiful teenaged redhead and her brand new husband. William Plumer wrote that “God’s providence is powerful…it is so powerful that it even brings good out of evil; making bad men and fallen angels to serve God’s designs, while they intend no such thing.” Such was the case in our young family. God worked through disobedience, divorce and remarriage to bring His chosen ones to Him.
Around the time that I was 8 years old, my Mom married Steve (the man who is truly my Dad). God began to soften her heart and bring conviction through His Holy Spirit. After my Mom decided to resume church attendance at the local United Methodist Church where I had been baptized as an infant, Dad informed her, “Well, if you are going to go to church, I know the one that you should attend.” Although an unbeliever, he directed her to a Bible-believing community church 45 minutes south of our home and by God’s grace my Mom, sister and I began to hear God’s Word preached. God used His Word to bring about faith, resulting in our re-baptisms in a Miami swimming pool. After much prayer, my Dad eventually also professed saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Around the end of my sixth grade year, as we grew in our Christian faith and enjoyed listening to the radio ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley, my dad accepted a job offer in Atlanta, GA in order to attend First Baptist Church and hear Dr. Stanley in person. Through the preaching in this Southern Baptist Church, the Lord solidified our belief that the Bible is indeed the Word of God. At the same time, my dad began to sense a call to the gospel ministry. This resulted in another move, to Columbia, SC, so that he could attend Bible college. Throughout this four-year process, God brought us from Arminian and Dispensational Baptists to Reformed Presbyterians!
While I attended high school and Dad pursued his call to the ministry, I began to sense God’s call in my own life. Believing myself to be too young to be a pastor, but not wanting to ignore God’s call, I unbuckled one of my overall straps, wrote out a few raps and set out to become the next big thing on the Christian music scene. However, God in His infinite wisdom and mercy had a different call for me and so the Holy Spirit led another McGee to seminary – Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary to be exact. After working hard and cramming four years of seminary work into five years, I graduated in the spring of 2001, eager to see where God would lead me. While I waited for His leading, I moved into my parents’ house in Michigan and started working construction.
I was contacted one August day and asked to consider interviewing with a RCUS congregation in Minot, ND. Not entirely sure that there were any people in such a location, I nevertheless agreed to consider it, flying to Minot the week after September 11, 2001. I was immediately drawn to the elders and congregants with whom I met and, on the condition that I could pass a licensure examination, I was called to pastor these saints. The exam was scheduled for December and I went back to Michigan to work and wait. In the meantime, I was introduced to a beautiful, intelligent, talented, sophisticated, assistant interior designer named Jennifer and was instantly smitten (she told me to write that too). I told her about North Dakota and she still seemed interested (because she sort of missed that part), so we began seeing more of each other. After passing my exam in December, I made plans and preparations to leave for the frozen north. Thinking it would be nice to have a wife in such a cold climate, I proposed to Jenny on New Year’s Eve and she accepted, after which I loaded up a Uhaul with all of my stuff and some of hers, and embarked on the adventure of pastoral ministry.
I am so thankful for strong and godly elders to guide me through those first ministry years and begin to teach me how to serve the Lord by shepherding His people. These years were rich with “firsts” (butchering chickens, eating German food, preaching Mission Fests, smelling lutefisk, experiencing cold we had never imagined, preaching in churches with no indoor plumbing, etc.). God allowed us to minister to a cross-section of His people here, from elderly saints who told us stories of farming in the Dakotas to new believers, from fifth and sixth generation RCUS families to military families from varied backgrounds – what a colorful group is the body of Christ!
After almost four years of marriage, Jenny and I were blessed with our first son, Jude, in 2006. He has suffered through our bumbling attempts at parenthood and has somehow survived, growing into a sweet, responsible eight-year-old. In 2007, we left Minot for our next adventure in Watertown, SD. We (mistakenly) thought that moving 400 miles south would mean warmer winters, but alas, Peter, our second son, was born amidst sub-zero temperatures in January 2009. After four years in the “Glacial Lakes” region, God’s leading brought us to Mitchell, SD, the home of the Corn Palace. Our year in Mitchell blessed us with growth and experience, as well as precious friendships.
We left Mitchell in 2012, staying with Jenny’s family in Michigan, until out of nowhere God provided the opportunity to serve as interim pastor of an OPC congregation in Mansfield, OH. It really was warmer there and we were so blessed by the time God gave us to explore a new corner of His creation and minister to a new body of His believers. In a little brick house on 80 wooded, hilly acres, we hiked and picnicked, fished and bird-watched, fellowshipped and homeschooled.
When our time in Mansfield had come to a close, we headed back to Michigan to once again await God’s direction. What a trial and what a blessing waiting on God can be! While exploring possible job options, I was offered a job as a snow shoveler/plow driver/ice melt applier and eventually lawn mower/weed whacker and truck driver! God used those months to make us more dependent on Him, and He amazed us over and over again with His provision and His grace. Somewhere between the shoveling snow and mowing lawns, I continued to preach and interview with various churches eventually receiving a phone call from Trinity RCUS in Sioux Falls, SD. During a 21-day, 8-state road trip, which included Synod 2014, I preached in Sioux Falls as a candidate and later received and accepted the call to serve this congregation. About a month before moving, we were amazed to discover that after four years of prayer for another precious blessing, God’s answer was “yes” and Jenny was expecting a baby! His timing is perfect and, once again, His providence in our lives amazed and humbled us.
We have been in Sioux Falls since August 2014 and are so thankful for God’s leading in this process. We are thankful to be in our “own” home, thankful for a church family to minister among, thankful for the little one that will be joining our family sometime in March, Lord willing, and yes, thankful for the difficult years, the trials, the waiting and the outworking of God’s providence, which we have seen over and over and over again. Only He could take that adorable, dimpled baby boy and bring him to this place and bless him with “all this and heaven too”!