As promised, these first two posts are to let you know a little more about me. These are likely to be a little longer than most…
I was born in Ellensburg, Washington to Stan and Bev Johnson. Soon after our family moved briefly to Seattle and then to our home in Federal Way where I was raised with a younger sister and brother. Our parents still live in this home.
My goal in life was to be a college football coach. Just prior to the start of football practice to start my college career, I had a profound experience that led me to Bible college in Kirkland, Washington. After this I served as an associate pastor in Auburn, Washington, Ephrata, Washington, back to Auburn, and then to Corvallis, Oregon. This was followed by lead pastor roles in Hermiston, Oregon and Bend, Oregon, where we served until February 2014. Along the way I earned two graduate degrees at a distance while serving local churches, a Doctorate and Master of Christian Ministry.
First, I’m a little sheepish when it comes to the title of “Dr” in both my website and WordPress blog. I’ve never gone by that title, except from smiling friends in jest, signing legal documents for my church, letters of recommendation and when I’ve taught overseas. The real reason behind using that title on the Internet is due to the commonality of my name and how many Mike Johnson’s have their own websites!
There were three Mike Johnson’s, one in each grade at Decatur High School in Federal Way, Washington during my junior year in 1977-78. Humorously I was asked to reconsider my attendance twice during that year, as I received the cumulative absences from the other two on my personal record. It hasn’t gotten any better over time as there have often been at least seven of us sharing the same doctor, dentist, chiropractor, etc, etc, over the years.
Yes, I have my date of birth memorized by heart…
Where we previously lived in Bend, Oregon, a few times I received calls in the late hours of the night asking, “Are you the Mike Johnson who is the pastor?” I think they met a few of my namesakes…
Secondly, I’m proud of my Doctoral degree because I earned it. Understand that it is a Christian ministry degree and not a medical degree. Sure, I’ve been and continue to be involved in healing in people’s lives, but it’s not the same as your primary care physician. I have a Doctor of Ministry, a D.Min.
Have you ever thought about the titles you have in this life? Let’s try a few:
- Police Officer
- Customer Service Representative
- Heavy equipment operator
- Company Man
My present title is, “Salesman.” I sell the service of removing and mitigating liquid waste from the Bakken Oilfield in Northwest North Dakota.
I thoroughly enjoyed my decades-long title of “Pastor.” It mattered. Not only is there a bond of relationship with a congregation, but also a massive amount of hard work and effort tied to the degrees one earns to show themselves as being approved for the work.
What’s interesting is that I’ve given my life’s work to this one primary title of “pastor.” But the truth is there are four titles that matter much more to me than that last one – Husband, Father, Son and Friend. Some call the ministry a labor of love. Yet these latter four labors are oh so much more important to me…
What is the most important title in your life and why?