Twenty-five years ago my sights were set on moving "up" from the church I served of several hundred to something bigger. I was in my early 40s, had a good track record, and was deeply committed to vivid expository preaching. I was restless, watching my mailbox for inquiry letters. Then I went to a conference on preaching. In one session Dr. D. A. Carson spoke on the centrality of preaching and in the middle of that, in a kind of aside, he said, "If, God forbid, I were Pope I would move the best preachers in the nation around [our seminaries] for this simple reason: it would provide models for the next generation of preachers. There are some things in preaching that are better caught than taught."
Time froze for me right there. My desires and direction changed. "Lord, if you'd let me do that—influence young preachers," I prayed right there, "I'd be content with a smaller church."
So it came to pass that a few years later I was called to ...