Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


Truth be told, I don’t really enjoy doing weddings or funerals. The time, energy, effort, and money involved never make up for the time, energy, and cost to my family. I just don’t have Saturdays or weekends or evenings to burn to do them. It’s not my passion.

However, when it’s someone I know, then I love doing them. I didn’t love doing my father-in-law’s funeral when I was 25. But I did love being able to serve our family and his memory in that role. I’ve done a few weddings or funerals as a favor in the past. I’ve regretted it in the end- often saying no to my family for little in return and believing that any number of other pastors or ministers could have done just what I did and found more joy in it. In the end, they’re hard for me and I feel like the guy in the suit who prays and talks and stuff.

The ones that I never regret doing are the ones where I know the people involved.

In the case of a wedding, the ones I will drive/ fly/ and volunteer my time for are the ones that I know I’m not there to perform a wedding, instead I’m there to begin a marriage. I LOVE DOING THOSE. I love serving a couple who I know and love in this day of their life. So fun.

This last Saturday I had the privilege and honor of doing that for some former students of mine: Max and Monica.

In case you missed it, and perhaps know them. Here’s the part of the ceremony where I shared some memories and my thoughts with them. Weddings and funerals are the only things I script when teaching. I usually just teach from an outline. But for a wedding, I really want to pray and think over every word as much as possible- so much is on the line. (It also allows me to give them the text to read in the future as my gift to them, because most couples hardly hear or remember a word I said due to the pressure and anticipation of the rest of their day, first night, and the honeymoon that all lie just ahead)

So here’s my script in the part of the ceremony I titled in my notes: MY FRIENDSHIP HISTORY WITH MAX AND MONICA:

Max and Monica our friendship goes way back into your days as high school students in Powerhouse where I had the privilege of playing the role of youth pastor and friend. It goes back into water ski trips and summer camps and Mexico trips and countless Wednesday night conversations. You have been in my house and spent time with my kids and at my dinner table and even helped us do projects in our new house a few years ago when we moved to El Cajon. We hadn’t been in it two weeks and you were already there helping us paint and move and get set up both in our house and at the church. Your friendship is very dear to Shannon and I.

Monica, it was on one of those water ski trips where you decided to make following Jesus your life devotion. You made a commitment that day that you have proven truly devoted to. I have seen it in the way you smile, the way you mentored young girls in Powerhouse, the way you speak and the way you live. It is all so clearly evident that you are a woman on a mission to love others into God’s Kingdom.

Max, while bonding with you in a high school men’s retreat in the snow in Tahoe, you chose to give your life over to Jesus. You too have proven good on that step of faith. While at college at Davis you wrestled with what does it look like to love and serve God around a group of men in AGO- a brotherhood that is also near and dear to my heart as you know. You examined your life and faith and chose to fall farther and farther in love with your Creator. I see it and hear it in your blog posts. I remember the time you came back as a college student and told your testimony to a group of guys standing around a fire on the shores of Shasta and the impact it had on them. I remember baptizing you on my last snow ski trip in the parking lot in the frigid air with a 5 gallon bucket of water where you said, “I want everyone to know I’m serious about following Jesus with all my life.” You’ve even chosen to do so as your fulltime vocation- serving students in Benicia. I’m honored to call you my friend and now- a colleague.

Shannon and I have loved watching the two of you become the young adults you are who passionately love and serve God. It is truly an honor to be in the bloodline of the work of God in you. I cannot think of anywhere else I’d rather be than witnessing this kind of union downstream of student ministries. You are the evidence of the greatest joy I have in ministry. Seeing students grow up to love and serve God for themselves.

I am beyond honored to be here. I’m truly humbled at what I see in you both.

Max and Monica. Three cheers for you and I pray blessings on your ministry, marriage, family, and years ahead. THANK YOU for inviting me to join you in this amazing day in your life. What a great memory this day will be for me, as I know it is for you.


  1. Right on!! Thank you for being a part of our special day that seems so long ago but it really wasn’t. It really meant a lot to us being that our friendship went way back with both you and Shannon. Our signed commitment paper from that conference we went to is hanging in our bedroom and is a constant reminder to us of our day. Thank you for signing it with us! Love ya. Andrea

  2. You’re welcome. Can’t wait to see you in October and meet the new addition to your family downstream of that great day. 🙂

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